email a friend
printable version
Location Iraq, Dahuk
Central coordinates 43o 24.35' East  37o 15.85' North
IBA criteria A1, B2, B3
Area 1,809 ha
Altitude 1,250 - 1,950m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Site description The site lies at 1,500-1,700 m and includes the valley containing Benavi village and the adjacent mountain ridge. The slopes are rocky and grassy, with a rich herb flora and isolated Quercus scrub and trees. The local economy depends mainly on sheep grazing.

Key Biodiversity A representative assemblage of breeding species characteristic of the northern uplands; see box for key species. Other breeding species include Coracias garrulus, Lullula arborea, Motacilla cinerea, Parus lugubris, Sitta neumayer, Lanius minor, L. nubicus and Serinus pusillus, probably Caprimulgus europaeus and possibly Neophron percnopterus. Over 40 species are known or presumed to breed.

Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: there are Anemone assemblages, including A. blanda. The general area is very important for harbouring wild relatives of important cereal crop species.

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys, 68 species were observed. In addition to those in the table above the site held breeding populations of three Irano-Turanian, and one Eurasian Steppe and Desert biome-restricted species. Other Important Fauna: There were local reports of a Brown Bear Ursus arctos attacking a resident who lost his arm, but this could not be verified. Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus and the endemic Zagrosian Lizard Timon princeps kurdistanicus were observed in this area, but surveys for non-bird fauna occurred only in 2008 and 2009 as part of the rapid assessment. The area is likely rich in important species, but additional surveys are needed. A stream is present at the site but no fish observations were conducted. Additional Plant & Habitat Information: This site contains a good population of pistachio, Pistacia eurycarpa, which is economically and culturally important. There is also a vineyard of Vitis vinifera, which is important as a genetic resource and there are some grasses present that are important genetic resources, including Aegilops columnaris, Aegilops crassa, and Pennisetum orientale.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  1979  unknown  B2  Endangered 
White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis breeding  1979  5 breeding pairs  poor  B3  Least Concern 
Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea breeding  1979  unknown  A1, B3  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Not assessed  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   major
Shrubland   major
Forest   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
forestry minor
hunting major
military major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Pavel Ctyroky.

References Chapman and McGeoch (1956), Ctyroký (1987), McGeoch (1963). 2014 updates. Evans, M.I. (ed.) (1994). Important Bird Areas in the Middle East. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 2. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife International

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Benavi and Sararu . Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife