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Location Egypt, North Sinai
Central coordinates 33o 33.00' East  30o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 75 - 735m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Conservation Eqypt (Affiliate)



Site description This site includes much of Gebel Maghara and the adjoining plains east to Risan Aneiza. Gebel Maghara itself is one of several domes which characterize north-central Sinai. It is the largest Jurassic exposure in Egypt, being dissected by several wadis, the largest of which flows eastwards into a large sand and gravel-plain. The North Sinai dune-fields, composed of large dunes of aeolian sand, encroach upon the northern part of Maghara and the adjoining plains. The area receives between 50 and 100 mm of rain annually, allowing fairly good vegetation cover of considerable diversity to grow on open plains, as well as in wadis. Dwarf shrubs (Fagonia, Anabasis) and grasses (Stipagrostis, Panicum) dominate the vegetation on the gravel-plain. Artemisia is common and widespread on fine sandy substrates. Substantial stands of Acacia trees are found in the larger wadis. The vegetation on the hills of Maghara includes many Mediterranean relicts, such as Juniperus phoenicea, which grows on the north-facing slopes and is found nowhere in Egypt outside the hills of north-central Sinai.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1998  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Spotted Sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Crowned Sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pharaoh Eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hume's Owl Strix butleri resident  1998  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blackstart Cercomela melanura resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -
urban/industrial/transport -

Other biodiversity Flora: The area holds many endangered, rare and endemic plants. Reptiles: Good populations of the endemic Trapelus savignii and the declining Uromastyx aegyptia are still found in the sand and gravel habitats of this region. Testudo kleinmanni (EN) might still exist in the northern parts of the area. Mammals: small populations of Capra nubiana (EN) still remain on Gebel Maghara, while Gazella dorcas (VU) has most probably been locally extirpated. Gerbillus floweri (CR) is probably found in the area.

References Ayyad et al. (1993), Baha el Din (1990), Hadidi et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gebel Maghara. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife