Field Guide to the Soaring Birds in Lebanon

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Lebanon has been characterized as a ‘bottleneck’ site, as it lies on one of the most important flyways for migratory soaring birds (MSBs) in the world. Significant numbers of MSBs, over a million, many of which are globally threatened, fly through this corridor migrating back and forth each spring and autumn, from Europe and Asia, where they breed, to winter in Africa.
Migrating soaring birds such as the White Storks (Ciconia ciconia) fly through the Lebanese sky each spring summing up to 500,000 birds yearly, and more than 50,000 Lesser Spotted Eagles (Aquila pomarina) each autumn. Birds such as the Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys sanguinea), which in turn are of restricted regional or global distribution, also occur in Lebanon.

Despite the good “bird occurrences” in Lebanon, lamentably lack of management in urban and rural development is leading to the loss of roosting and feeding habitats. Moreover, the long – lived, popular, unrestrained Lebanese hunting habit, have had and is still causing a great toll on MSBs, due to the large number of hunters and un-controlled hunting practices.
Therefore, bird conservation in Lebanon should be raised to become one of the foremost conservation priorities.
After three years of research and studies funded by MAVA Foundation, from March 2005 through February 2008, conducted all over the Lebanese territory, and based on
BirdLife’s global IBA criteria, and with efforts of SPNL and Arocha Lebanon, 15 Lebanese locations were declared by BirdLife International as IBAs.
IBAs are key sites for conservation, small enough to be conserved as a whole and characterized by one or more of the following attributes: they should have significant numbers of one or more globally threatened species; they should be one of a set of sites that together hold a number of species of restricted occurrence; they should have exceptionally large numbers of species that are either migratory or congregate in large numbers.


Executive Summary

The book is divided into 8 main chapters, as follows:
Section One: Learn the Basic Bird Body Parts
Section Two: Bird Watching Tools
Section Three: Migration Dates for Soaring Birds in Lebanon
Section Four: Conservation Status of MSBs in Lebanon
Section Five: Table of MSBs Features
Section Six: Soaring Bird ID Table
Section Seven: Soaring Bird Guide Information
Section Eight: List of Soaring Birds Naming
Section Seven is the main section which provides detailed scientific information on the different migratory soaring bird species in Lebanon.
It highlights the family, the distinctive features of size, shape, color, beak, wings, tail, legs, and its relevant behavior, calls, habitat, and the country where it could be found breeding. The remaining chapters are complementary sections that support and complement the overall picture.
The structure of this field guide is introduced in a different simpler way than usual. It guides you through the bird features collected in the field which collectively leads to the correct identification of the migratory soaring bird species.
The book “Migratory Soaring Birds in Lebanon Field Guide” is an important scientific resource collating all available scientific data for identifying migratory soaring bird species in Lebanon; presented in an innovative simpler approach!



This book “Migratory Soaring Birds in Lebanon Field Guide” is an achievement for birds and biodiversity in Lebanon. It collates all relevant data on migratory soaring birds, helping bird watchers to differentiate between the various species.
For this achievement, many thanks are extended to Mr. Edgard Chehab, Ms. Jihan Seoud, Mrs. Joelle Salameh, and Mrs. Yendi Ghossein from the Energy and Environment Programme – UNDP for their support and cooperation. Special appreciation is directed to Dr. Saleem Hamadeh – MSB project manager in Lebanon and his
team for the support they provided to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon-SPNL and their cooperation towards the production of this book.
Further thanks goes to Ms. Lara Samaha – Head of the Ecosystem Department at the Ministry of Environment for her follow-up, cooperation and support. Sincere gratitude is directed to the Global Environment Facility that provided the opportunity and funds for the Development and production of this important resource for
Lebanon, through the Project – Mainstreaming Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds into Key Production Sectors along the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway.
It is also important to acknowledge the technical support provided from Richard Porter, Ornithologist, BirdLife’s Middle East Advisor for the scientific information, and the artist Robin Reckitt for the bird illustrations used in the cover page of this field guide, in addition to Andre Bchara and Adonis Khatib for their photos.
Special appreciation and thanks for artist contributions towards the production of the “Migratory Soaring Birds in Lebanon Field Guide” book, namely: A. Bearch, G. Gill, M. Langman, and B. Small.

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