|Central coordinates||26o 35.00' East 31o 5.00' North|
|Altitude||50 - 200m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description A vast, flat, sand-and-gravel plain, with scattered clay pans, which forms part of El Diffa Miocene Plateau. Several low limestone ridges run east–west across the plain and gradually raise the flat landscape to an elevation of 200 m. Fairly dense desert scrub is dominated in the northern part by Thymelaea and in the south by Anabasis and Hamada, with scattered Lycium bushes. Annual rainfall is fairly high, averaging about 140 mm near the coast. Rainfall and density of vegetation decrease steeply southwards, and severe desert conditions prevail more than 70 km from the coastline. The area represents a fairly undisturbed example of a unique and restricted habitat in Egypt: the Mediterranean coastal steppe, a habitat that is being lost and degraded very rapidly.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Crowned Sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Dupont's Lark Chersophilus duponti||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Near Threatened|
|Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Reptiles: small numbers of Testudo kleinmanni (EN) may still exist in the region. Mammals: Allactaga tetradactyla (EN), Jaculus orientalis (LR/nt) and Eliomys melanurus (LR/nt) are present in the more densely vegetated coastal region. Gazella dorcas (VU) used to be common in this region, but has declined sharply as a result of excessive hunting.
References Baha el Din (1996b, 1997, 1998).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: El Qasr desert. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/03/2014
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