The main Damascus–Beirut road runs through Wadi al-Qarn (Karn) which runs south-east from the frontier post at Jdeideh (1,275 m). The area of interest in this wadi is the steep hillside above the road on the northern side of the wadi, along the last 1–2 km at the north-west end just before the valley opens out to the area of the frontier post, and includes the small Zarzer reservoir at the lower end (1,175 m) of the wadi 6 km from Jdeideh. The upper reaches are vertical cliffs, below which are rocky slopes with grass, scrub and stunted trees. The area is used for recreation in summer, and people fish at the reservoir. Burqush is an upland site on the slopes of Jabal al-Shaykh (Mount Hermon), 10 km north-west of Qatana, with similar habitat. The area is very close to the steep mountains of Maloula, where there are Christian monasteries.
See box for key species. Other proven or probable breeding species include Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Bubo bubo, Lullula arborea, Eremophila alpestris, Phoenicurus ochruros, Monticola solitarius, Sylvia conspicillata, S. hortensis, Parus lugubris, Sitta neumayer and Emberiza caesia. In winter the reservoir often holds small numbers of waders and occasionally ducks.
Non-bird biodiversity: No information.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Lying in the frontier zone, the site is not much visited on foot, though there is much shooting and fishing at the reservoir. Traffic is heavy along this, the only road across the Jibal al-Sharqi (Anti-Lebanon) range, but there is no detrimental effect on the birds.
Data-sheet compiled by M. I. Evans.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wadi al-Qarn - Burqush. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 02/02/2023.