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Location Jordan, Mafraq
Central coordinates 37o 50.59' East  32o 38.45' North
IBA criteria A3, B2, B3
Area 74,800 ha
Altitude 500 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Site description Desert landscape of flint/chert plains (hammada) in the east, flattish to gently rolling country covered in black basalt boulders (harrat) in the west, interspersed with siltflats and many shallow wadis. Plant cover is generally sparse, mainly limited to the shallow wadis and dominated by woody perennial herbs such as Artemisia, Anabasis and Achillea. There are no trees or large bushes. Within the reserve there is a near-permanent, spring-fed freshwater pool (200 ha) at Ghadir Burqu which is a major source of water for the livestock of bedouin living in a wide surrounding area. The main land-use is nomadic pastoralism and cultivation is very limited. An ancient Nabataean/Roman castle, Qasr Burqu, lies at the edge of the harrat.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A relatively rich and intact desert bird community. Other proven or probable breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Alectoris chukar, Cursorius cursor, Charadrius leschenaultii, Ramphocoris clotbey, Eremophila bilopha and Oenanthe lugens (a dark morph, endemic to the basalt desert of northern Arabia). Ghadir Burqu is an important water source for large numbers of raptors during autumn migration, e.g. Circus pygargus (daily max. 85, September), and a wide variety of waders and passerines are also attracted on migration and in winter. Up to 100 Grus grus overwinter around Ghadir Burqu.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Canis lupus (V), and possibly Caracal caracal (rare) and Gazella subgutturosa (rare).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus winter  1993  rare  B2  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug winter  1993  uncommon  B2  Endangered 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1993  present  B2  Vulnerable 
Chlamydotis undulata winter  1993  present  B2  Not Recognised 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  1993  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Cursorius cursor breeding  1993  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti breeding  1993  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla breeding  1993  uncommon  B3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   100%
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
Notes: Rangeland
water management minor
Notes: Water supply
hunting minor
military minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Burqu'. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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