|Location||Egypt, North Sinai|
|Central coordinates||34o 22.00' East 30o 39.00' North|
|Altitude||100 - 509m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Table 2 for key species. This unique area holds a diverse avian community, including many of Egypt’s Sahara–Sindian biome-restricted species. Ain El Gedeirat and Ain Qadis are two very important drinking-water sources for three sandgrouse species; Pterocles senegallus, Pterocles coronatus and Pterocles orientalis. Pterocles alchata is also known from the area, but in smaller numbers. Several hundred of these birds come from a vast area of desert, including the western Negev, to drink at the springs, although the latter two species generally visit the area only during autumn and winter. This is also the only known site in Egypt where Aquila chrysaetos regularly breeds.In addition, the area falls within one of the most important flyways for soaring birds, particularly birds of prey. Although the migration here is on a rather broad front, large numbers are regularly seen over Wadi El Gedeirat during the spring and autumn migrations. Many birds are attracted to the water and vegetation and descend to drink and roost.
Site description A region of rolling limestone hills dissected by numerous wadis. The most important of the latter is Wadi El Gedeirat, a narrow, winding wadi bounded by steep hills. To the north is Gebel El Ain (509 m). A small, perennial creek flows from the spring of Ain El Gedeirat, creating an elongate oasis with dense swamp vegetation dominated by Phragmites and Tamarix. Old olive-groves and cultivated fields cover most of the wadi bed. Some water from Ain El Gedeirat is piped further downstream to irrigated fields and orchards near the village of Quseima. The surrounding desert is formed of hills interspersed with medium-sized gravel-plains with good vegetation cover. The flora of the region has a strong Irano–Turanian influence. Thymelaea is a prominent plant in this landscape. The ruins of the ancient fortress of Qadesh Barnea are found in the centre of the wadi. Ain Qadis is a further, smaller spring located c.7 km south-east of Ain El Gedeirat. This spring flows only a short distance into the desert and lacks the vegetation cover that Ain El Gedeirat supports.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Sooty Falcon Falco concolor||breeding||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||A3||Near Threatened|
|Spotted Sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Crowned Sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Pharaoh Eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Hume's Owl Strix butleri||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Blackstart Cercomela melanura||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Flora: Many Irano–Turanian floral elements, of limited distribution in Egypt, are found here. Crustacea: the perennial creek in Wadi El Gedeirat is the only known locality in which the freshwater crab Potamon potamios palaestinensis is found in Egypt. Reptiles: The rare Walterinnesia aegyptia is known from the area. Mammals: A small population of Capra nubiana (EN) still remains in adjacent hills.
Management considerations The site has been proposed for protection as a Protected Area. Hunting takes place on a regular basis. Target species are largely sandgrouse Pterocles and Alectoris chukar, but other species are also taken. The population of the latter species has sharply declined in recent years (it is also regarded as an agricultural pest in the region). Nests of Aquila chrysaetos have been raided regularly, and the few local pairs might have ceased nesting. Falcon-catching is prevalent throughout the region, as is the case in most parts of North Sinai in autumn. Many non-target birds of prey fall victim to this practice. Overgrazing has degraded much of the desert habitats in the vicinity.
References Baha el Din and Salama (1991).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Quseima. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013
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