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Location Israel
Central coordinates 35o 37.00' East  33o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, A4iv, B1i, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 24,000 ha
Altitude 180 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Site description Part of the northern Jordan Valley and formerly an extensive marshland area, but now drained except for the Hula Nature Reserve near Yesod Hama'ala. The reserve's water level is maintained at c.6 m above that of the surrounding valley, and the main habitats are open water, Cyperus papyrus thickets, swamp-meadow with Cyperus, Typha, Juncus and Scirpus, and Phragmites beds. There are fish-ponds and reservoirs in the area adjacent to the reserve and to the north.

Key Biodiversity The Hula valley, and particularly the Hula Nature Reserve, is the most important wetland area in Israel for breeding waterbirds. See boxes for key species; other breeding species include Halcyon smyrnensis and Ceryle rudis. The reserve provides a roost site for large migrant flocks of Pelecanus onocrotalus, and there are high passage numbers of Ciconia ciconia, Anas clypeata, several raptor species and Grus grus (see box). Wintering species include notable numbers of Circus aeruginosus (60) and Aquila clanga (23). The site was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980).

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
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris resident  1991  3-10 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  1991  10-25 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  1991  uncommon  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes passage  1991  15,000-20,000 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  1992  23 individuals  good  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca passage  1991  10-15 individuals  good  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1991  3-5 individuals  good  B2  Vulnerable 
Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina passage  1991  10,000-35,000 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus passage  1991  15,000-35,000 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  1991  3-10 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B2  Critically Endangered 
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus breeding  1991  5-15 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  1991  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1991  40,000-90,000 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

1994 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Hahula Nature Reserve 401 protected area contained by site 401  
Hula Nature Reserve Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 300 protected area contained by site 300  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Wetlands (inland)   major
Artificial - aquatic   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
nature conservation and research 3%
fisheries/aquaculture major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.

References Carp (1980), Gorney (1980, 1983), Levy and Yom-Tov (1991).

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

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