Jabal al Akhdar

Country/territory: Libya

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 100,000 ha

Site description
The site includes Kouf National Park which lies 150 km north-east of Benghazi, next to the town of Al Bayda (Beida). The park includes a 20 km stretch of coast and extends southwards into the Jabal al Akhdar massif. The main Benghazi–Tubruq (Tobruk) road traverses the park. The coastal section of the park consists of sandy beaches interspersed with rock outcrops and coastal cliffs. Behind the beach is a disjunct band of sand-dunes which are fringed on the landward side by shallow, seasonal brackish lagoons. The coastal strip and dunes are covered with the grasses Ammophila arenaria and Agropyron junceum together with scattered shrubs. The woody plants Limoniastrum monopetalum and Tamarix nilotica are also common on the dunes. Species found on the seasonal mudflats include the halophytes Suaeda fruticosa and Cakile maritima. The edges of permanent water are lined with Phragmites australis. Also included is a large section of Jabal al Akhdar, a limestone massif reaching 850 m. Wadis up to 200 m deep cut steep-sided gorges into the limestone. The vegetation is mainly dense maquis shrubland, in which Juniperus phoenicia is common. The maquis grades in places into garrigue with abundant herbaceous communities. Associated with the juniper are Cupressus sempervirens, Pistacia lentiscus and P. atlantica; along with Myrtus communis, Olea europaea and Rhamnus spp. The vegetation of the rocky slopes includes Cichorium spinosum, Alkanna tinctoria, Urginea maritima and grasses. Cupressus sempervirens grows in the gorges along with Quercus coccifera trees up to 10 m high in the more sheltered areas. The shrubs Smilax aspera, Viburnum tinus and Pistacia lentiscus are also common amongst the rocks. There is no permanent water except for small springs by the sebkha lagoon of Ayn al Shaqiqh while the wadis carry water only for short periods following heavy rains, mainly during November to February; annual rainfall is in the range 300–700 mm.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. At least 27 pairs of Falco naumanni were recorded breeding in 1998. It is likely that more species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome will be found to occur. In addition, one species of the Sahara–Sindian biome (A02) has been recorded (see Table 2). Breeding species include Aquila chrysaetos, Alectoris barbara, Pterocles spp. and Chlamydotis undulata. The brackish lagoons are important for herons, ducks and waders as well as Ciconia nigra and C. ciconia.

Non-bird biodiversity: The seal Monachus monachus (CR) has been reported in the past, but its current status is unknown. Other marine mammals recorded offshore include Tursiops truncatus (DD). The sea-turtle Caretta caretta (EN) nests on beaches in the park. Among the flora, notable North African endemics include Arbutus pavarii (V), Arum cyrenaicum, Thapsia garganica sylphium, Ornithogalum barba-carprae, Origanum cyrenaicum, Athamanta della-cellae, Crocus boulosii (V) and Cyclamen rohlfsianum (V). Approximately 90% of Libya’s flora has been recorded from the park.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Jabal al Akhdar. Downloaded from on 07/08/2022.