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Location Jordan, Balqa,Karak
Central coordinates 35o 48.00' East  31o 27.65' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 20,500 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Site description Mountainous, rocky, sparsely vegetated desert (up to 800 m), with cliffs, gorges and deep wadis cutting through plateaus. Perennial, spring-fed streams flow down wadis to the shores of the hypersaline Dead Sea at 400 m below sea-level, and are lined with a narrow strip of Nerium scrub. Otherwise the slopes are very sparsely vegetated, with a steppe-type vegetation on plateaus. Groundwater seepage occurs rarely on rocky ground near the Dead Sea shore, especially at the hot springs of Zara, which support a luxuriant thicket of Acacia, Tamarix, Phoenix and Nerium, and a small marsh. The less-steep slopes of the higher elevations are mainly used as rangeland by pastoralists (for sheep/goats). The hot springs at Zarqa Ma'in (outside the site) are heavily used for tourism/recreation. The military have a temporary camp in the south of the reserve. Wadi Wala, upstream of Wadi Hidan and outside the reserve, is now a major water-extraction source for Amman.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A rich breeding bird assemblage of unusually mixed biogeographical origins. At least nine raptors breed, including Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus fasciatus and Falco pelegrinoides, and other proven or probable breeding species include Alectoris chukar, Charadrius alexandrinus, Vanellus spinosus, Apus affinis, Halcyon smyrnensis, Coracias garrulus, Melanocorypha calandra, Cercomela melanura, Oenanthe lugens, Corvus rhipidurus, Petronia petronia, Rhodopechys obsoleta, R. githaginea and Emberiza striolata. There is a strong raptor migration in April, especially of Accipiter brevipes (see below), Buteo buteo (175), and Falco tinnunculus (50). Emberiza caesia occurs on passage (15, April) and Lullula arborea is a winter visitor in small numbers (max. 12). Ciconia ciconia is said to favour the shores of the Dead Sea for resting while on autumn passage.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Capra nubiana (I) and Gazella gazella (V); Caracal caracal (rare) and Panthera pardus (rare) are reputed to occur. Flora: Himantoglossum affine (rare).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi resident  1993  common  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1990  rare  A3, B2  Near Threatened 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  1993  10 breeding pairs  medium  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes passage  1992  8,000 individuals  poor  B2  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus winter  1985  1 individuals  poor  B2  Near Threatened 
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus breeding  1993  1-5 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus passage  1990-1991  3 individuals  poor  B2  Endangered 
Hume's Owl Strix butleri resident  1993  present  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps resident  1993  present  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii resident  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha resident  1993  present  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Blackstart Cercomela melanura resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus passage  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
House Bunting Emberiza striolata resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1993  8,200 individuals  poor  B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2013 low not assessed medium

Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible 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)  
Mujib Nature Reserve 21,200 is identical to site 20,500  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland
military minor
Notes: Other: Army
nature conservation and research 100%
Notes: Wildlife conservation/research
tourism/recreation minor
Notes: Tourism/Recreation
hunting minor
rangeland/pastureland major
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland
fisheries/aquaculture minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews.

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

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