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Location Jordan, Aqaba,Ma'an
Central coordinates 35o 31.54' East  29o 34.14' North
IBA criteria A3, B2, B3
Area 200,000 ha
Altitude 800 - 1,754m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Site description An isolated tract of huge, precipitous, sandstone and granite mountains, ranging up to 1,754 m (Jabal Rum, the highest point in Jordan), separated from each other by flat, sandy 'corridor'-wadis (at 800 m), and surrounded by a desert of extensive siltflats and mobile dunes. The predominant desert vegetation is a scanty shrub-steppe of Haloxylon, Anabasis, Retama, Artemisia and Acacia tortilis bushes. Amygdalus arabicus bushes are common in sandy wadis and in gorges leading into the mountains. Vegetation on the high and inaccessible peaks of the mountains is poorer than in wadis, including scattered Acacia tortilis and Juniperus trees, which also occur along seepage lines in Wadi Rum at the base of Jabal Rum, together with patchy, remnant vegetation of Pistacia, Ficus, Olea and Phoenix palms. The main land-uses are nomadic pastoralism (sheep, goats and camels), a Ministry of Agriculture irrigation project on the siltflats (centred on Disi and Abu Suwana) and 'wilderness tourism'.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. An unusually varied assemblage of desert and mountain birds. As well as species listed below, possible or known breeders include Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos (outside the Reserve), Aquila verreauxii, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Falco pelegrinoides, Alectoris chukar, Bubo ascalaphus, Pycnonotus xanthopygos, Oenanthe lugens, O. leucopyga, Nectarinia osea, Corvus rhipidurus and Emberiza striolata. Quite large numbers of migrating Buteo buteo have been seen irregularly (max. 100, April). Two key species, now apparently extinct, are the globally threatened Chlamydotis undulata (formerly a rare winter visitor) and the regionally threatened Gypaetus barbatus (formerly a rare resident).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Felis margarita (rare), Capra nubiana (I) 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  1999  20-35 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  1999  3 breeding pairs  medium  A3, B2  Near Threatened 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus resident  1965-1983  1 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Near Threatened 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus non-breeding  1993  frequent  B2  Endangered 
Pharaoh Eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus resident  1999  1 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Hume's Owl Strix butleri resident  1999  5 breeding pairs  medium  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  1999  25-55 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta resident  1999  85-175 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  1999  2 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura resident  1999  100-200 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  1999  470-800 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  1999  190-320 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps resident  1993  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii resident  1999  10-20 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens resident  1999  120-210 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  1999  250-440 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha resident  1999  15-25 breeding pairs  good  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta resident  1999-2001  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti resident  1999  5-15 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Blackstart Cercomela melanura resident  1999  1-5 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1999  200-340 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus resident  1999  90-170 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
House Bunting Emberiza striolata resident  1999  35-65 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed low

Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

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   97%
Shrubland   2%
Rocky areas   minor
Artificial - terrestrial   1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
Notes: Tourism
rangeland/pastureland major
agriculture 1%

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews, with comments by Dr Marco Masseti.

References Mountfort (1965).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Hisma Basin - Rum. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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