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Location Syria, Quneitra
Central coordinates 35o 45.00' East  33o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iv, B1iv
Area 60,000 ha
Altitude 550 - 1,500m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)

Site description An upland region east of the Hula Valley and Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), ascending to 1,500 m and roughly bounded by Hamat-Gader, Ramat Magshimim, Alonei Habashan, Kuneitra, El Rom and Kazrin. The area is typified by rolling grassland with scattered trees and bushes of Quercus, Styrax, Pistacia, Rubus and Ziziphus, and there are some small pools and reservoirs. Much of the area is cultivated or grazed by cattle, and there is considerable military activity.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The region holds good numbers of breeding raptors, with the plateau area around Nahal Gamla, Zavitan and Yehudiya being especially important. Ducks often winter in good numbers, mainly Anas penelope, Aythya ferina and A. fuligula. Stream valleys flowing from the southern Golan into Lake Kinneret were the last refuge of Ketupa zeylonensis in this area, now apparently extinct.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Spalax ehrenbergi (2n=54), Canis lupus (V), Gazella gazella (V). Reptiles: Elaphe quatuorlineata (endemic). Flora: Phlomis syriaca, Colchicum brachyllum.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris resident  1991  2-5 breeding pairs  good  A4i  Vulnerable 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia passage  1991  20,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus winter  1991  2,000-3,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  1991  5-10 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Critically Endangered 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1991  20,000 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2014 medium not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
rangeland/pastureland major
military major
nature conservation and research 27%

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

References Bahat (1986), Geller (1983), Schluter (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Golan Heights. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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