Libya has a large coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and its lagoons play an important role in the biodiversity of the region. Key seabird species include the Audouin's Gull (NT) and a small localised population of the endemic subspecies of Lesser Crested Tern (LC) Sterna bengalensis emigrata, with Libya holding more than 99% of the Mediterranean breeding population, localised on 2 offshore islands: Geziret Garah and Geziret Al Elba. The country has collected reasonable data on seabird colonies, ecology studies currently mainly cover Gara, Elba and Jeliana lagoon and mostly focus on the Lesser Crested Tern.
Key threats to Libyan seabirds include
o Pollution, especially oil and chemicals from shipping
o Habitat loss
o Overfishing and bycatch
o To regularly monitor the two known Lesser Crested Tern breeding colonies at Geziret Ghara and Geziret Al Elba;
o To ring all young at the colonies in order to get a better idea of the movements of these individuals in Libya and the Mediterranean;
o To monitor the breeding avifauna of Benghazi Lake and to clarify its importance and role for Sterna bengalensis;
o To visit Geziret Barda'a and Geziret Al Elba in mid July, the period of which the Lesser Crested Tern nests shall still be occupied;
o To plan a survey of the two potential breeding sites Geziret Misratah and Geziret El Hitat El Hoummer in the Gulf of Bumba (see appendix I) in mid July.
o Continue monitoring including foraging studies
o Update MPA national legislation and develop a capacity building programme into MPA designation and management
Government's support/relevant policy
Libya is a Contracting Party to most of the international biodiversity-related conventions, including Ramsar, CITES, Biological Diversity (CBD) and Barcelona Convention. Libya has recently become a party to the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and has acceded to AEWA (the Afro-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement of the Convention on Migratory Species) with effect from 1 June 2005. Established and proposed MPAs exist for El Kouf National Park, Ain Gazala MPA, Farwa MPA, El Burdi MPA, and Ain -Ziyana MPA. Please see policy tab for list of agreements that this country is party to.
Petrels and shearwaters
Gulls and terns
Ducks, geese and swans
IUCN Red List Status
The numbers in brackets refer to the country's rank when compared to other countries and territories globally.
o Azafzaf H., Etayeb K., Hamza A. (2006). Report on the census of Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis in the Eastern coast of Libya. UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).
o D. A. Haddoud and A. A. Rawag (1993). Marine Protected Areas along Libyan coast. Marine Biology Research Centre, P.O. Box 30830, Tajura, Libya.
o Meininger, L., Wolf, P.A., Haddoud, D.A., Essghaier, M.F. (1994b) Rediscovery of lesser
crested terns breeding in Libya Brit. 87: pp.160-170.
o Haddoud, D. and Zgozi. W. (1998) Notes on the sea birds of Farwah islands in north
BirdLife International (2019) Country profile: Libya. Available from http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/country/libya. Checked: 2019-02-18