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Location Israel
Central coordinates 35o 16.00' East  31o 16.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iv, B1i, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 57,500 ha
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Site description Desert to the west of the Dead Sea, from 400 m below to 500 m above sea-level, extending c.45 km from En Gedi in the north to Mount Sedom in the south. Steep canyons run down to the Dead Sea and cliffs overlook the Rift Valley. There are several oases (e.g. En Gedi), some rocky, steppe and scrubby areas, and a little agriculture (mainly date-palm and Citrus plantations, and melons).

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The area supports a wide range of species throughout the year. A major raptor and stork migration route passes along the 300-500-m-high cliffs of the Rift Valley, west of the Dead Sea. Large numbers of storks, Pernis apivorus and Accipiter brevipes pass through on migration. Other breeding species at En Gedi include Falco pelegrinoides, Halcyon smyrnensis, Merops orientalis, Ammomanes deserti, Hirundo obsoleta, Cercomela melanura, Oenanthe leucopyga, Nectarinia osea, Corvus ruficollis and C. rhipidurus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Pipistrellus ariel (very rare), Vulpes cana (K), Canis lupus (V), Caracal caracal (rare), Panthera pardus (rare), Capra nubiana (I) and Gazella gazella (V). Reptiles: Atractaspis engaddensis (endemic). Flora: Lisaea strigosa.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi resident  1991  present  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus breeding  1991  4 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1991  3-5 breeding pairs  good  A3, B3  Near Threatened 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  1991  29 individuals  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina passage  1991  5,000-10,000 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus non-breeding  1991  1 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus resident  1991  8-18 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  1991  7-14 breeding pairs  good  B2  Endangered 
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos non-breeding  1991  1-2 individuals  good  B2  Endangered 
Common Crane Grus grus passage  1991  350 individuals  unknown  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Hume's Owl Strix butleri resident  1991  8 breeding pairs  good  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps resident  1991  present  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii resident  1991  200 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha resident  1991  10 breeding pairs  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Blackstart Cercomela melanura resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1991  14,000-19,000 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
En Gedi (Ein Gedi) Nature Reserve 1,430 protected area contained by site 1,430  
Kanee springs Nature Reserve 100 protected area contained by site 100  
Midbar Yehuda Nature Reserve 53,386 protected area contained by site 53,386  
Nahal Abbuv Nature Reserve 960 protected area contained by site 960  
Tel Qeriyyot Nature Reserve 1,017 protected area contained by site 1,017  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   major
Wetlands (inland)   minor
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Rocky areas   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
agriculture minor
tourism/recreation minor
nature conservation and research major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.

References Bahat (1986), Bahat and Leshem (1991), Frumkin (1986), Frumkin and Man (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Judean desert. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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