|Central coordinates||34o 48.00' East 30o 50.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iv, B1i, B1iv, B2, B3|
|Altitude||300 - 600m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information An unusually large number of raptors and owls breeds on the cliffs of Wadi Zin: Neophron percnopterus, Gyps fulvus, Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, F. concolor, F. biarmicus, F. pelegrinoides, Tyto alba, Bubo ascalaphus, Athene noctua, Strix butleri, and Asio otus. At least 230 bird species have been recorded in the area, including at least 54 confirmed or presumed to breed, and at least 170 migrants. The area lies on a major migratory flyway and there is a passage of over 3,000 raptors in spring.
Site description A region of desert near Sede Boqer, 50 km south of Be'er Sheva, 300-600 m above sea-level. It is a mountainous area of sedimentary rock capped with fossil loess and contains some perennial streams and waterholes. The plateau, north of Wadi Zin, is partly settled by Kibbutz Sede-Boqer (mainly agriculture and livestock) and the Sede-Boqer educational campus. The climate is arid. Rainfall occurs in winter, averaging 85 mm, with large annual variation in amount, timing and spatial distribution. The major pulse of plant growth occurs about mid-January to mid-April. A few oases with springs and large rock pools hold water all year. Most of the vegetation on the highest plateau (over 470 m) is of Irano-Turanian origin, dominated mainly by Artemisia. The lowest part of the Zin valley (300 m) is vegetated mainly with Saharo-Arabian forms, characterized by Anabasis, with sparse and patchy vegetation, being mainly limited to seasonal stream beds. Military activity is considerable and there is a little cultivation.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi||resident||1991||50 breeding pairs||poor||B3||Least Concern|
|Black Stork Ciconia nigra||passage||1991||200 individuals||poor||B1i||Least Concern|
|White Stork Ciconia ciconia||passage||1991||8,200-33,400 individuals||good||A4i, B1i, B2||Least Concern|
|Sooty Falcon Falco concolor||breeding||1991||20 breeding pairs||good||B2||Near Threatened|
|Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus||resident||1991||3-7 breeding pairs||good||B2||Least Concern|
|Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus||breeding||1991||24 breeding pairs||good||B2||Endangered|
|Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus||resident||1991||3 breeding pairs||good||B2||Least Concern|
|Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus||winter||1991||60-100 individuals||good||B2||Least Concern|
|Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata||resident||1991||3 breeding pairs||medium||B2||Vulnerable|
|Common Crane Grus grus||passage||1991||250-400 individuals||unknown||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Pallid Scops-owl Otus brucei||breeding||1991||1-5 breeding pairs||good||B3||Least Concern|
|Hume's Owl Strix butleri||resident||1991||5 breeding pairs||medium||B3||Least Concern|
|Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps||resident||1991||7 breeding pairs||medium||B3||Least Concern|
|Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha||winter||1991||4 individuals||poor||B3||Least Concern|
|Pale Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus||resident||1991||10 breeding pairs||medium||B2||Least Concern|
|A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes||passage||1991||36,000 individuals||good||A4iv, B1iv|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Har Ha Negev||Nature Reserve||102,349||unknown||0|
|Helmoniyyot Rekhes Boqer||Nature Reserve||50||protected area contained by site||50|
|Mazuq HaZinnim||Nature Reserve||61,956||protected area overlaps with site||12,970|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Freshwater springs & oases||minor|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||Arable land; Plantations||2%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||54%|
Other biodiversity Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Caracal caracal (rare), Panthera pardus (rare), Capra nubiana (I), Gazella gazella (V) and G. dorcas (V). Reptiles: Varanus griseus (rare) and Uromastyx aegyptius (rare). Flora: Hammada negevensis (endemic) and Origanum dayi.
Management considerations The area with the most breeding raptors is included within the Nature Reserve or within the part of Ein Avdat National Park which lies within this site. The rest of the area (11,500 ha) is also protected by the Nature Reserves Authority (NRA) as an unofficial nature reserve, and the NRA also helps to protect the National Park. The area is open to visitors all year and travellers can reach nest-sites and disturb breeding raptors without knowing. Despite the efforts of the NRA to reduce the disturbance, insufficient manpower is available to cover the area properly. Military helicopters sometimes train in the area, flying low along cliffs and inside canyons, disturbing nesting or roosting raptors. A plan to improve an existing track along Wadi Zin may bring hundreds of private cars closer to the cliffs and risk disturbing breeding raptors. Human land-use may adversely affect the loess plain around Sede Boqer. The introduction of alien or non-local tree species could become more extensive than at present. More supervision is needed, and more educational work with the Israeli Air Force.
References Frumkin (1986), Frumkin (1993), Frumkin and Man (1984), Shirihai and Bahat (1993), Yosef (1991).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cliffs of Zin and the Negev highlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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