Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Jiddat al Harasis
Oman, Al Wusta
56o 30.00' East 19o 45.00' North
A1, A3, B2
20 - 300m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description A limestone plateau with sandy depressions, sand/gravel plains, karst, sand-dunes, hills and escarpments, ranging from 20 to 200 m elevation. There are occasional trees and bushes of Acacia ehrenbergiana, Acacia tortilis and Prosopis cineraria, but the vegetation consists mainly of sparse, low shrubs and ephemeral grasses. The area is relatively well-vegetated, given the low average annual rainfall, due to regular condensation of fog moisture blowing in off the sea. Al Huqf is a low, discontinuous escarpment marking the boundary between the Jiddat al Harasis and the depression of sabkha and low hills which continues eastward to the coast; water seepages occur along it. Al Huqf is an important refuge for animals, permitting the penetration far northward of some species otherwise limited to Dhofar. The main land-use is nomadic pastoralism. There are major oilfields south-west of the area.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A diverse assemblage of desert breeding birds, including Aquila chrysaetos, Chlamydotis undulata, Burhinus capensis, Pterocles coronatus, P. exustus, Tyto alba, Athene noctua, Eremopterix nigriceps, Eremalauda dunni, Ammomanes cincturus and Alaemon alaudipes.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Caracal caracal (rare), Capra nubiana (I), Gazella gazella (V), G. subgutturosa (rare) and Oryx leucoryx (re-introduced). Reptiles: the endemic lizard Uromastyx thomasi occurs. Flora: several plants endemic to Oman are virtually restricted to this site.