Lebanon has a wide variety of habitats including the Mediterranean coastline and coastal plains leading up to the Mount Lebanon mountain range which runs north-south through the country. Further east, lies the Beqaa Valley with areas of wetland in the center around Aammiq and Anjar. There is semi-desert in the north around Ras-Baalbek, and to the west of the Beqaa Valley are the anti-Lebanon mountains.
The eastern Mediterranean Flyway passes straight through Lebanon, which for its small size, has a very diverse avifauna. European and Middle Eastern species are well represented and the country’s location may explain why so many vagrant species have been recorded.
The migration seasons are truly spectacular. On a good day, thousands of raptors, storks and other soaring birds can be observed along the flyways and at bottlenecks. There is also considerable passage of passerines along the coast and through the Beqaa Valley. The Aammiq Wetlands (IBA and Ramsar site) and the artificial Lake Qaraoun (IBA) are havens for breeding, resting and feeding waterbirds. In recent years, seabirds have started to attract the attention of Lebanese birdwatchers. These are best observed at the Palm Islands off the coast of Tripoli but may be seen at other sites along the coast.
Lebanon is the ideal territory for a large number of regional specialties including Chukar Partridge, local birds being intermediate between the subspecies cypriotes and synaica. Syrian Serins can be found at various locations across the country and this globally-vulnerable species commonly breeds in Lebanon. Lebanon is one of the few Middle Eastern countries that has a breeding population of Eurasian Blue Tits. Other key breeding species include Short-toed Snake Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard, pairs of which can be found in nearly every village. Stone Curlews, Cream-coloured Coursers and Penduline Tits breed in the northern Beqaa Valley, the latter also breeding at Anjar. The semi-desert areas in the north Beqaa Valley also produce interesting species that are more typical of a drier climate, with Desert Lark and Temminck’s Lark being observed in recent years. Horned Larks are very common in the mountains (the bicornis subspecies, now included in pencillata, was at one time considered a separate species).