Lake Qaraaoun is a man-made reservoir,created by the damming of the Litani river.
Surrounding the lake itself are woodland,orchards, and low-growing scrub. The water levels fluctuate severely in the course of the year and there is little or no submerged or emergent vegetation. Qaraaoun lake is the largest body of freshwater in Lebanon and located at the southern end of the Bekaa valley (a continuation of the Great Rift valley,a well-documented flyway for raptors and other soaring birds: Frumkin et al 1995,Yeshem & Yom-Tov 2008)
Observations suggest that over 20 000 soaring birds,including raptors, storks, pelicans and others pass over the lake annually (CC pers obs). Several species of conservation concern (2008 IUCN Red List) have been recorded here in recent years such as Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, Great Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca and Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius on migration. It is also the most important site in Lebanon for wintering waterfowl (CC pers obs, Ramadan-Jaradi et al 2008).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Currently there is no formal protection or conservation management for any part of the IBA. The site falls under several different municipalities and multiple private ownership.However, local people have been trained through the IBA programme, and ongoing efforts with the key municipalities have been initiated. Indiscriminate hunting is a major threat as is water pollution coming into the lake from upstream. Disturbance to birds from the extensive recreational activities and the high level of grazing by sheep and goats on the lake shore are a cause for concern and it is possible that the latter is one of the factors leading to the lack of marginal vegetation.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Qaraoun. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/01/2023.