Country/territory: Libya

IBA Criteria met: A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 500 ha

Protection status:

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2006 high favourable negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The reserve is situated 15 km north-east of the city of Benghazi. The site includes the Ayn Zayanah lagoon and a stretch of coastal shoreline. The lagoon is 1.5 km long by up to 3–4 km wide and is connected by a channel at the northern end to the sea. The lagoon is fed by 10 underground springs arising from deep aquifers. The spring water has a salinity of 10‰ whilst that of the rest of the lagoon ranges from 18–22‰ in summer to 15–34‰ in winter. Water temperatures range from 14 to 28°C. The lagoon is surrounded by shallow marshland which is covered by water at high tide, especially to the east of the lake. Vegetation includes Salicornia spp., with Tamarix spp. on the dunes.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The site is important for migratory waterbirds, particularly Phoenicopterus ruber and Charadrius alexandrinus. Sterna bengalensis has also been recorded and the site may prove to be used regularly by this species. At least 60 pairs of Himantopus himantopus breed. It is suspected that the number of waterbirds using the site during winter months is higher than in July, when the only known count took place.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Benghazi. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020.