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Location Syria, Rif Dimashq
Central coordinates 36o 7.00' East  33o 43.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B2, B3
Area 10,000 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 2,462m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)

Site description An upland area at the southern end of the Jibal al-Sharqi (Anti-Lebanon) range, 50 km by road from Damascus, and centred on Abu Zad, a small village with small orchards and very small fields lying at 1,500 m above the resort village of Bludan. The nearby village of Halbun is at 1,700 m. To the west, vertical cliffs fall to Zabadani far below, and mountains to the north-east rise steeply to 2,462 m within c.10 km. The land above the village is open, with sparse grassland, scattered scrub and bare rock, and is snow-covered in winter.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A diverse assemblage of breeding species characteristic of upland Mediterranean habitats which are rare and local in the Middle East. Other confirmed or probable breeding species include Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Alectoris chukar, Hirundo rupestris, Melanocorypha bimaculata, Lullula arborea, Eremophila alpestris, Monticola saxatilis, Sylvia hortensis, Lanius collurio, Pyrrhocorax graculus (seen in winter 1938/39), Rhodopechys githaginea and Emberiza melanocephala. Winter visitors include Prunella collaris.

Non-bird biodiversity: No information.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  1982  frequent  B2  Endangered 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  1993  common  B3  Least Concern 
Menetries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea breeding  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis breeding  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla breeding  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus breeding  1993  uncommon  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Rhodopechys sanguineus resident  1993  present  B3  Not Recognised 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport minor
rangeland/pastureland major
hunting minor
tourism/recreation minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by M. I. Evans.

References Baumgart and Kasparek (1992), Macfarlane (1978).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Abu Zad. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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