Important Bird Areas-IBAs: Ras Baalbek
Location: The Ras Baalbek IBA is found at the extreme north end of the Bekaa Valley, in north-east Lebanon, extending up into the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range, in between the towns of Ras Baalbek and El Qaa.
Total area: 7,814ha
IBA Criteria met: A3
Explanation: 10 biome-restricted species, mostly from the Saharo-Sindian Desert Biome breed here – Cream-coloured Courser, Bar-tailed Lark, Desert Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Mourning Wheatear, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Trumpeter Finch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrow and Spectacled Warbler. Of these species, 7 are rare or unknown as breeders elsewhere in Lebanon. Several other species breed here commonly which are also scarce or rare breeders elsewhere in the country such as Little Owl and Greater Short-toed Lark.
Number of species observed: 50
Habitat: Flat or gently undulating stony desert and semi-desert, rising up to a wide wadi extending eastwards into the Anti-Lebanon Range. A small proportion of the land is used for arable agriculture although the exact extent varies from year to year.
Other wildlife interest: Jackals breed and reptiles scarce in other parts of Lebanon are found here.
Threats: Excessive hunting, conversion to agriculture. Over-grazing is a potential problem but requires assessment
Current conservation measures & future plans: Local people trained on site monitoring.