Golan Heights

Site description (1994 baseline):

Site location and context
An upland region east of the Hula Valley and Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), ascending to 1,500 m and roughly bounded by Hamat-Gader, Ramat Magshimim, Alonei Habashan, Kuneitra, El Rom and Kazrin. The area is typified by rolling grassland with scattered trees and bushes of Quercus, Styrax, Pistacia, Rubus and Ziziphus, and there are some small pools and reservoirs. Much of the area is cultivated or grazed by cattle, and there is considerable military activity.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The region holds good numbers of breeding raptors, with the plateau area around Nahal Gamla, Zavitan and Yehudiya being especially important. Ducks often winter in good numbers, mainly Anas penelope, Aythya ferina and A. fuligula. Stream valleys flowing from the southern Golan into Lake Kinneret were the last refuge of Ketupa zeylonensis in this area, now apparently extinct.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Spalax ehrenbergi (2n=54), Canis lupus (V), Gazella gazella (V). Reptiles: Elaphe quatuorlineata (endemic). Flora: Phlomis syriaca, Colchicum brachyllum.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
All the important sites for birds are treated as Nature Reserves by Israel. The Israeli military administration cooperates with Israeli nature-conservation agencies to prevent damage to bird populations, especially of raptors.

Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Golan Heights. Downloaded from on 02/12/2023.