Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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35o 25.36' East 30o 19.21' North
A1, A2, B1iv, B2, B3
900 - 1,250m
Year of IBA assessment
Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Site description High-relief, rocky, sandstone mountains (700-1,450 m) overlooking Wadi Araba, on the western edge of the Sharrah Mountains, with high cliffs, caves and numerous gorges and dry wadis which flow down to Wadi Araba during storms. Rain falls mainly in winter (100-300 mm; average 180 mm p.a.), when there can be snow; there are two springs. Vegetation-types include Artemisia steppe on rocky plateaus, typical Saharo-Arabian desert wadi-spread with Acacia and Calotropis, lush growth at springs and remnants of formerly more extensive Mediterranean Quercus-Juniperus woodland on mountain slopes; more than 200 plant species have been recorded. Petra is a world-famous antiquities site, and tourism is the major land-use in the National Park; however nomadic pastoralists also graze livestock in the wider area.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. An unusually diverse assemblage of at least 50 breeding or probably breeding species of highly mixed biogeographical origins, including Circaetus gallicus (possibly), Aquila chrysaetos (possibly), Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Falco pelegrinoides, Alectoris chukar, Anthus similis (pre-1983), Oenanthe lugens, Scotocerca inquieta, Nectarinia osea, Lanius nubicus, Petronia petronia, Emberiza caesia (possibly) and Emberiza striolata. There is an important raptor migration in spring, especially by Pernis apivorus (650, May), Milvus migrans (200, April) and Buteo buteo (2,000+, April); Sylvia curruca (90, April) and Sylvia atricapilla (100, April) are also very common spring migrants.