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Location Libya, Benghazi
Central coordinates 20o 9.00' East  32o 13.00' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 500 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The reserve is situated 15 km north-east of the city of Benghazi. The site includes the Ayn Zayanah lagoon and a stretch of coastal shoreline. The lagoon is 1.5 km long by up to 3–4 km wide and is connected by a channel at the northern end to the sea. The lagoon is fed by 10 underground springs arising from deep aquifers. The spring water has a salinity of 10‰ whilst that of the rest of the lagoon ranges from 18–22‰ in summer to 15–34‰ in winter. Water temperatures range from 14 to 28°C. The lagoon is surrounded by shallow marshland which is covered by water at high tide, especially to the east of the lake. Vegetation includes Salicornia spp., with Tamarix spp. on the dunes.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The site is important for migratory waterbirds, particularly Phoenicopterus ruber and Charadrius alexandrinus. Sterna bengalensis has also been recorded and the site may prove to be used regularly by this species. At least 60 pairs of Himantopus himantopus breed. It is suspected that the number of waterbirds using the site during winter months is higher than in July, when the only known count took place.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1993  1,000-1,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1993  700-1,500 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ain Zayanah Protected Area 50 protected area contained by site 50  
Benghazi Nature Reserve 50 protected area contained by site 50  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Beaufort and Czajkowski (1986), Kerambrun (1986), Meininger et al. (1994a, 1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Benghazi. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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