email a friend
printable version
Location Saudi Arabia, Makkah
Central coordinates 41o 50.00' East  22o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A1, B1i, B2, B3
Area 219,000 ha
Altitude 900 - 1,100m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Saudi Wildlife Commission (Affiliate)

Site description A fairly level, sandy plain at 900-1,100 m with a few rock outcrops, 175 km north-east of Taif and south of al-Muwayh. Rainfall in 1992 was 96 mm, mainly in August, and temporary pools can form. Following fencing, the site is moderately to well vegetated, in parts with Acacia tortilis, Indigofera and Salsola as dominant shrubs/trees; dense grass (e.g. Panicum) often covers sandier areas, and some dry shallow wadis have large Maerua trees.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. There is a diverse and, at times, abundant community of breeding larks, including Eremalauda dunni. Torgos tracheliotus breeds, and the largest non-breeding concentrations in Arabia have been recorded (see box). The reserve will probably be the first release site for the reintroduction of Struthio camelus. About 115 species have been recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Felis margarita (K) and Vulpes rueppelli (K); the reserve is a key reintroduction site for Oryx leucoryx (E) and Gazella subgutturosa (rare).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1993  present  B2  Vulnerable 
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos resident  1991-1995  15 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2  Endangered 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola passage  1993  300 individuals  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus winter  1993  uncommon  B3  Least Concern 
Menetries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea winter  1993  abundant  B3  Least Concern 
White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis passage  1993  uncommon  B3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii passage  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Oenanthe xanthoprymna winter  1993  uncommon  B3  Not Recognised 
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla passage  1993  25 individuals  poor  B3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 low not assessed medium

No known threats no known threats 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)  
Mahazat-as-Sayd Protected Area 219,000 is identical to site 219,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   major
Shrubland   minor
Savanna   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr Stephen F. Newton.

References Newton and Newton (1993), Newton and Shobrak (1993), Weigeldt and Schulz (1992).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mahazat as-Sayd. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife