The IBA covers three major mountain ranges (Soðanlý, Kaçkar and Karçal). Pinus and Abies dominate the upper slopes, with Quercus scrub and open forest at lower altitudes. Above the treeline, extensive alpine grasslands and slopes covered with Rhododendron and Juniperus scrub prevail; summit areas are characterized by cliffs, screes and lakes. The thin coastal strip is densely populated, and the IBA as a whole is an increasingly popular tourist destination. This area includes two sites that were treated as separate IBAs in the previous international IBA inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989): `Kaçkar Daðlarý' (former IBA TR013) and `North-east Turkey' (former IBA TR016).
Important for breeding raptors and species of upland habitats (the only Turkish IBA to qualify as a Eurasian high montane (alpine) biome site); contains the entire Turkish range of Tetrao mlokosiewiczi. Includes a major migratory bottleneck, where large numbers of raptors regularly pass in autumn. A count of 380,220 birds was made in 1976, including 138,000 Pernis apivorus, 5,775 Milvus migrans and 205,000 Buteo buteo. Actual numbers may be higher as important new passage points have been discovered in recent years. Spring passage involves smaller numbers (max. 205,131 during an eight-week count in 1994), including 25,183 Pernis apivorus, 9,069 Milvus migrans and 136,327 Buteo buteo.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Eastern Black Sea Mountains [incl Karcal Mountains]. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2020.