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Location Libya, Ash Shati,Awbari,Sabha
Central coordinates 14o 50.00' East  27o 32.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 390 - 435m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description This site is situated in the interior of Libya, almost due south of Tripoli and north and west of the oasis town of Sabha. It consists of gently rolling sand-dunes of the Ramlat Zallaf (Azzallaf) system at the eastern end of the great Awbari (Aubari) Erg. Wetlands form in depressions where the water-table is close to the surface, including sebkha saltmarshes and permanent standing pools. Around damp areas and on pool-edges grow Phragmites australis and Juncus spp. with Ammophila spp. grasses in drier parts. The flora is entirely Saharan in character and dominant species include Calligonum comosum, Nitraria retusa, Anabasis articulata, Acacia spp., Euphorbia spp. and Fagonia spp., along with date-palm Phoenix dactylifera, Zizyphus lotus and Tamarix africana.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. There are two breeding records of Aythya nyroca from a pool near Askhikah, to the east of the town of Birak (Brak), and up to 100 have been recorded wintering in the area in the past. There have been no avifaunal surveys of the reserve since its notification and its importance therefore requires confirmation. However, there are detailed records from its vicinity from habitats represented within the reserve. The valleys of the area are also important for resting migratory birds, including passerines and waterfowl.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1999  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Spotted Sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Passer simplex resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Zellaf Nature Reserve 100,000 is identical to site 100,000  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -

References Abou Jaafer (1984), Bundy (1976), Child (1978), Cowan (1982, 1983, 1985), Erard and Larigauderie (1972), Ledant et al. (1985).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Zallaf. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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