Birding sites in Libya

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Benghazi
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.
The site is important for migratory waterbirds, particularly Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber and Kentish Plover - 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 Black-winged Stilt - 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.
BirdLife International
Field guide for this region
Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East.Lars Jonsson
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Field guide for this region
Geziret al Elba - Ayn al Ghazalah Bay
Ayn al Ghazalah Bay is situated in the south of the Gulf of Bumbah (Bomba), between the towns of Darnah and Tubruq. In the mouth of the bay lies the island of Geziret al Elba, 2 km from the coast. The island is 2.5 km by 1 km, reaching only 1.5 m at the northern, rocky end, from where it slopes gradually into a saltmarsh at sea-level at the southern end. The saltmarsh consists primarily of Salicornia fruticosa and Halimione portulacoides. The coastline of Ayn al Ghazalah Bay also contains some areas of saltmarsh and coastal lagoons backed by desert.
resident;- Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara), Streaked Scrub-warbler (Scotocerca inquieta), Red-rumped Wheatear (Oenanthe moesta).Breeding Lesser Crested-tern (Sterna bengalensis), non-breeding Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata).
Birdlife International.
Geziret Garah
Geziret Garah is a small, sandstone island lying 12 km offshore in the Gulf of Sirt (Surt, Sirte), some 20 km west-south-west of the town of Azzuwaytinah (Zuwaytinah). It measures some 150 x 300 m. On the northern, western and eastern sides there are low cliffs resulting from wave erosion. The southern side is more sheltered and slopes gradually to the sea, with some small sandy beaches. The island is sparsely vegetated with low, scattered bushes.
The colony of Lesser Crested-tern (Sterna bengalensis) on the island represents 95% of the breeding population of the species in the Mediterranean. The only other species that breeds on the island is Yellow-legged-gull Larus cachinnans.
Ghat oases
The site consists of a series of spring-fed lakes, pools and swamplands, together with surrounding habitats, centred around the town of Ghat, close to the Algerian border in the south-west of the country. The town is situated under the western slopes of Jabal Akakus, an eastern outlier of the Tassili mountains stretching from Algeria into southern Libya. There are three permanent, spring-fed lakes at Tin Djeraben, one at Habschat, and three at Feuet and numerous pools and areas of natural swampland at Al Birket (Al Barcat), 12 km south of Ghat. There is also a large sebkha which holds water after rainstorms. The pools and swamps of Al Birket support many emergent plants such as Juncus spp., Phragmites australis, Scirpus holoschoenus and Typha capensis, as well as submerged and floating species including Ceratophyllum demersum, Potamogeton spp. and Utricularia spp. Several species of Chara are abundant in the pools. Away from the areas of surface water there is transition to thorn scrub and open rocky and sandy desert. Much of the natural vegetation in these areas of transition have been cleared for agriculture.
Birds;-resident Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara), Spotted Sandgrouse (Pterocles senegallus), Pale Crag-martin (Hirundo obsoleta), Greater Hoopoe-lark (Alaemon alaudipes), Bar-tailed Lark (Ammomanes cinctura), Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti), White-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga), Desert Sparrow (Passer simplex).
passage Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans).breeding Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor),
Jabal al Akhdar
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.
At least 27 pairs of Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni were recorded breeding in 1998. It is likely that more species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome will be found to occur. Breeding species include Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Barbary Partridge 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.
resident;- Pharaoh Eagle-owl (Bubo ascalaphus)
Karabolli
Karabolli (Garabulli, Qarabulli) is situated in north-west Libya on the Mediterranean coastal plain. It is located some 50 km east of Tripoli and 2 km north of the town of Al Garabulli (Al Qarabulli). The park is approximately rectangular in shape and is bounded by the Wadi Ramal in the west, Wadi Turghat in the east and extends up to 7 km inland from the coast. A third watercourse, the Wadi Al Mashid, runs through the site. These perennial streams are spring-fed and are generally slow-flowing except after rain. Wadi al Mashid is particularly slow and meandering and is surrounded by muddy areas and wet flushes. Wadi Ramal feeds into a small (1 ha) saline lagoon just behind the beach. The site consists of rolling continental sand-dunes, with sandy beaches and rocky shores backed by low, eroded sandstone cliffs. There are extensive seagrass Poseidonia oceania beds in the marine zone. The dunes are sparsely vegetated with marram grass Ammophila arenaria and Tamarix spp. and there is a natural scrub vegetation and areas of open pasture in some of the interdune basins while, beyond the dunes, there are open grass plains with low thorn scrub. Communities of Typha and Juncus spp., along with Phragmites australis reedbeds, interspersed with the shrubby Tamarix spp., occur beside springs and ponds in the wadis. In Wadi Turghat reedbeds extend for 2 km from the river mouth. However, most of the vegetation within the reserve is introduced, with sand-stabilizing plantations of Acacia and Eucalyptus spp. the most widespread habitat. In addition, tamarisk Tamarix spp., poplar Populus spp., pine Pinus spp., Acacia tortilis, fig Ficus indica and date-palm Phoenix dactylifera have also been planted.
Birds;- resident Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara), Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata), and Fulvous Chatterer (Turdoides fulva).
Birdlife International.
Nefhusa
The Nefhusa (Nafusah) Protected Area is situated in Jabal Nefhusa, north and east of the town of Gharyan (Garian), some 70 km south-south-west of Tarabalus. It includes a section of the Jabal Nefhusa escarpment, from the peaks at 500 m down to the coastal plain, including the foothills and a section of the plain. Three wadi systems are included. Areas of natural vegetation remain and there is a complex of small springs with old Pistacia trees, date-palms and thick scrub below the crags at Abu Gharyan. A dam on the Wadi Ghan in the eastern portion of the reserve, built to provide water for irrigation of the adjacent plains, has created a reservoir some 12.5 km long when full. The level of the reservoir fluctuates greatly. Rainfall on the peaks allows a lusher vegetation, with Tamarix spp., old Pistacia spp. trees and self-regenerating date-palm Phoenix dactylifera. On the lower slopes and foothills there are pockets of natural vegetation, consisting of spiny cushion plants and Juniperus spp. and Pistacia spp. woodland, surrounded by extensive plantations of introduced Acacia spp., Pinus spp. and Eucalyptus spp. Average annual rainfall is about 400 mm.
Birds;- Resident Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara), Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti), Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), Fulvous Chatterer (Turdoides fulva), Moussier’s Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri), Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), Red-rumped Wheatear (Oenanthe moesta), Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus). Breeding Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica).
Birdlife International.
Zallaf
This site is situated in the interior of Libya, almost due south of Tripoli and north and west of the oasis town of Sabha. It consists of gently rolling sand-dunes of the Ramlat Zallaf (Azzallaf) system at the eastern end of the great Awbari (Aubari) Erg. Wetlands form in depressions where the water-table is close to the surface, including sebkha saltmarshes and permanent standing pools. Around damp areas and on pool-edges grow Phragmites australis and Juncus spp. with Ammophila spp. grasses in drier parts. The flora is entirely Saharan in character and dominant species include Calligonum comosum, Nitraria retusa, Anabasis articulata, Acacia spp., Euphorbia spp. and Fagonia spp., along with date-palm Phoenix dactylifera, Zizyphus lotus and Tamarix africana.
Bird Species;- Resident Spotted Sandgrouse (Pterocles senegallus), Pale Crag-martin (Hirundo obsoleta), Greater Hoopoe-lark (Alaemon alaudipes), White-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga), Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens), Desert Sparrow (Passer simplex). Non-breeding Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), Tristram's Warbler (Sylvia deserticola)
Breeding ;- Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor), Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
Birdlife International.

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