Beirut River Valley

Country/territory: Lebanon

IBA Criteria met: A4iv (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 8,096 ha

Protection status:

Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2007 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This site is a deep river valley carved by the Beirut river, extending 20 km eastwards from the outskirts of Beirut on the western slopes of the Mount Lebanon range.

Key biodiversity
The Beirut River Valley IBA, and particularly its upper reaches, is undoubtedly one of the most important locations for raptor migration in Lebanon. Over 70 000 soaring birds of 33 different species were counted over Bhamdoun (33° 48’ 33.72” N, 35° 39’ 35.22” E; 1080 m asl) during the 2006 autumn count alone. This included 51 000 European Honey-buzzards and over 5000 each of Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and Lesser Spotted Eagle. Ten records of Crested Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus will be the first for the country if accepted by the Lebanese Rare Birds Committee. It is also important for soaring birds in the spring, with White Stork and White Pelican being the major species recorded (c8000 and 3500 respectively recorded in spring 2006). Other migrants, principally European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, European Bee-eater Merops apiaster and Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica also pass through in large numbers. Nine species with unfavourable conservation status have been recorded here on migration: Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Lesser Kestrel,Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus, Saker Falcon Falco cherrug, Red Kite Milvus milvus,Egyptian Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Beirut River Valley. Downloaded from on 28/10/2020.