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Location Jordan, Ma'an
Central coordinates 35o 25.36' East  30o 19.21' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 26,700 ha
Altitude 900 - 1,250m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

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.

Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: Iris petrana (endemic), Verbascum transjordanicum (endemic), Cupressus sempervirens (experiencing cutting pressure).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1983  1-5 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Near Threatened 
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus resident  1983  1-5 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  1983  1-5 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Endangered 
Hume's Owl Strix butleri resident  1983  1-5 breeding pairs  poor  B3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii resident  1983  50 breeding pairs  poor  B3  Least Concern 
Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus non-breeding  1993  frequent  A1, A2, B2  Vulnerable 
Pale Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus resident  1983  70 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1993  3,000 individuals  poor  B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Some of site covered (10-49%)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Petra National Park 12,200 protected area contained by site 12,200  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation 40%
Notes: Tourism
agriculture minor
rangeland/pastureland major
hunting minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews.

References Wittenberg (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Petra. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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