email a friend
printable version
Location Israel
Central coordinates 34o 40.00' East  31o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iv, B1i, B1iv, B2
Area 90,000 ha
Altitude 50 - 100m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Site description A mainly desert area extending as far as Be'er Sheva, Ofakim and Nir Oz in the north and to Mash'abim Sands (1,300 ha), Shunra Sands (2,400 ha), Agur Sands (30°53'N 34°26'E, 24,800 ha) and the Nahal Be'erotayim area (c.5,000 ha, close to Nizzana and the Egyptian border) in the south. The region includes low rocky hills, dry riverbeds, steppe, dunes and scrub, and there is some agriculture, mainly in the Ze'elim and Agur Sands area.

Key Biodiversity Other breeders include Burhinus oedicnemus, Cursorius cursor, four species of sandgrouse and Eremophila bilopha. In winter the area supports notable numbers of Circus aeruginosus (50), Aquila clanga (21), Grus grus, Vanellus vanellus and Pterocles alchata (8,000).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Meriones sacramenti (endemic) and Gazella gazella (V). Reptiles: Testudo kleinmanni (V). Flora: Allium papillare, Garhadiolus angulosus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra passage  1991  1,000-1,500 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia passage  1991  35,000-50,000 individuals  good  B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus breeding  1991  1 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  1992  21 individuals  good  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1991  30 individuals  good  A1,B2  Vulnerable 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  1991  50 breeding pairs  A1, B2  Not Recognised 
Common Crane Grus grus winter  1991  2,800 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  1991  21 individuals  good  A1, B2  Critically Endangered 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus winter  1991  1,000 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Dotterel Eudromias morinellus winter  1991  250 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola passage  1991  200 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1991  60,000-75,500 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ha Besor Nature Reserve 998 protected area contained by site 998  
Holot Masha'bbim Nature Reserve 1,300 protected area contained by site 1,300  
Holot Nizzanim Nature Reserve 770 protected area contained by site 770  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Desert   major
Grassland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily cultivation
hunting minor
Notes: Hunting
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: Urban/industrial/utility
nature conservation and research 1%
rangeland/pastureland minor
military major

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

References Allon and Shirihai (1991), Baset (1986), Horin (1983), Levy and Yom-Tov (1991).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Western Negev. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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