|Central coordinates||20o 9.00' East 32o 13.00' North|
|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.
|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 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||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
References Beaufort and Czajkowski (1986), Kerambrun (1986), Meininger et al. (1994a, 1996).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Benghazi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/07/2015
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