email a friend
printable version
Location Jordan, Zarqa
Central coordinates 36o 41.38' East  31o 45.42' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i, B1i, B2
Area 32,200 ha
Altitude 510 - 540m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Site description Low-relief, chert 'hammada' desert at 500-600 m intersected by broad, sandy wadi spreads draining into Qa al Azraq and only flowing after occasional winter or spring floods. Shaumari Wildlife Reserve (31°48'N 36°49'E, 2,200 ha) is strongly fenced to exclude domestic livestock and trespassers, and the vegetation is in markedly better condition than in the adjacent Azraq Desert Grazing Reserve (32,000 ha) and other surrounding, grazed areas. The Grazing Reserve was also fenced but this is now in disrepair. Wadis are dominated by sparse scrub of Tamarix, Retama, Amygdalus, Artemisia, Achillea and Atriplex, which however forms relatively luxuriant bushland within the Wildlife Reserve; there are flat gravel and silt areas in between wadis. Wadi al Butm (31°50'N 36°35'E, 1,000 ha; also called Wadi Usaymir), in the Grazing Reserve, is notable for the mature Pistacia atlantica trees which line it, and has occasional flood-pools in winter. The HQ of the Wildlife Reserve has many eucalyptus and casuarina trees. Main human activities are nomadic pastoralism, tourism (frescos at Qasr Amra) and picnicing.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A representative desert bird community, with potentially up to nine breeding lark species including Ramphocoris clotbey and Eremophila bilopha. Other known or probable breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Alectoris chukar, Cursorius cursor, Pterocles orientalis, P. alchata, Tyto alba, Oenanthe deserti, O. moesta, Scotocerca inquieta, Lanius excubitor, Rhodopechys githaginea and R. obsoleta. Winter visitors include Eudromias morinellus, Columba oenas (500, December), Asio otus (a roost at the HQ) and Miliaria calandra (300, January); the wintering flock of Grus grus (see box) also frequents Azraq oasis (see site 009). The area is visited by a wide variety of migrants, including Circus pygargus (8, September), Streptopelia turtur (150, May), Oenanthe cypriaca (one record) and Emberiza caesia. Reintroduction of Struthio camelus is ongoing.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Caracal caracal (rare); reintroduction of extinct fauna such as Oryx leucoryx (currently c.130 individuals), Gazella subgutturosa and Equus hemionus onager is ongoing. Reptiles: Varanus griseus (rare) probably occurs.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1993  1-5 individuals  medium  B2  Vulnerable 
Common Crane Grus grus winter  1993  1,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Cursorius cursor breeding  1975-1977  10 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Not Recognised 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  1975-1977  max 1 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  1975-1977  90 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey resident  1975-1977  1 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura resident  1975-1977  < 50 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  1975-1977  20 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha resident  1975-1977  280 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  1975-1977  55 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis resident  1999-2001  < 50 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta resident  1975-1977  1 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti resident  1975-1977  125 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1975-1977  25 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 low not assessed medium

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (agricultural use) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Not assessed  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Azraq Desert Forest and Rangeland Reserve 30,000 protected area contained by site 30,000  
Shaumari Wildlife Reserve 2,200 protected area contained by site 2,200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   100%
Forest   minor
Shrubland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 6%
rangeland/pastureland 94%
tourism/recreation 10%

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews.

References Clarke (1980, 1982).

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: Shaumari. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016

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