Benavi and Sararu

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA criteria met: A3 (2014)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 1,809 ha

Nature Iraq
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2013 not assessed high negligible
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Site description (1994 baseline)
The site lies at 1,500-1,700 m and includes the valley containing Benavi village and the adjacent mountain ridge. The slopes are rocky and grassy, with a rich herb flora and isolated Quercus scrub and trees. The local economy depends mainly on sheep grazing.

Key biodiversity
A representative assemblage of breeding species characteristic of the northern uplands; see box for key species. Other breeding species include Coracias garrulus, Lullula arborea, Motacilla cinerea, Parus lugubris, Sitta neumayer, Lanius minor, L. nubicus and Serinus pusillus, probably Caprimulgus europaeus and possibly Neophron percnopterus. Over 40 species are known or presumed to breed.

Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: there are Anemone assemblages, including A. blanda. The general area is very important for harbouring wild relatives of important cereal crop species.

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys, 68 species were observed. In addition to those in the table above the site held breeding populations of three Irano-Turanian, and one Eurasian Steppe and Desert biome-restricted species. Other Important Fauna: There were local reports of a Brown Bear Ursus arctos attacking a resident who lost his arm, but this could not be verified. Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus and the endemic Zagrosian Lizard Timon princeps kurdistanicus were observed in this area, but surveys for non-bird fauna occurred only in 2008 and 2009 as part of the rapid assessment. The area is likely rich in important species, but additional surveys are needed. A stream is present at the site but no fish observations were conducted. Additional Plant & Habitat Information: This site contains a good population of pistachio, Pistacia eurycarpa, which is economically and culturally important. There is also a vineyard of Vitis vinifera, which is important as a genetic resource and there are some grasses present that are important genetic resources, including Aegilops columnaris, Aegilops crassa, and Pennisetum orientale.

Data-sheet compiled by Pavel Ctyroky.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Benavi and Sararu. Downloaded from on 03/10/2023.