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Location Saudi Arabia, Makkah
Central coordinates 40o 15.36' East  21o 11.28' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 37,000 ha
Altitude 500 - 2,600m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Saudi Wildlife Commission (Affiliate)

Site description A 40-km-long by 10-km-wide stretch of the west-facing granitic escarpment of the northern Asir mountains, rising from 500 m in Wadi Nu'man to the peaks of Jabal Daka and Jabal Barad at 2,600 m (from 21°22'N 40°15'E south to 21°06'N 40°18'E). The climate is reasonably moist at higher levels but dry in the wadi. Much of the site is rocky and rather barren, but a narrow wooded zone along the escarpment lip is the only locality in Arabia where Mediterranean Juniperus phoenicia and Afrotropical J. excelsa overlap to any extent; shrubs are dominated by Euryops and Lavandula. Valleys east of the scarp have Acacia iraqensis woodland and patches of endangered tree Euphorbia and Aloe. Foothills, wadis and the lower slopes to the west have various Acacia species. There is considerable agricultural terracing and grazing; traditional activities include honey production and rose-growing, and the area is a major recreational resort.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. Other breeding species include Aquila verreauxii. A passage of raptors occurs in autumn, with maximum daily totals in October of 4,000 Buteo buteo and 500 Aquila nipalensis.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Papio hamadryas (endemic), Canis lupus (V), Genetta felina (rare), Caracal caracal (rare).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Philby's Partridge Alectoris philbyi resident  1993  frequent  A2, A3, B3  Least Concern 
Arabian Partridge Alectoris melanocephala resident  1993  uncommon  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus resident  1993  uncommon  B2  Near Threatened 
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus resident  1993  12 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  1993  uncommon  A3, B2  Not Recognised 
Arabian Woodpecker Dendropicos dorae resident  1993  common  A1, A3, B2  Vulnerable 
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii resident  1993  common  A3  Least Concern 
Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis resident  1993  frequent  A1, A2, A3, B2  Vulnerable 
Arabian Wheatear Oenanthe lugentoides resident  1993  common  A3  Least Concern 
Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rufibarba resident  1993  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Olive-rumped Serin Serinus rothschildi resident  1993  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yemen Serin Serinus menachensis resident  1993  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis resident  1993  common  A2, A3, B3  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1993  4,500 individuals  poor  B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2013 low not assessed negligible

Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Not assessed  negligible 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
agriculture major
other minor
Notes: bee-keeping and rose-growing
rangeland/pastureland major
hunting minor
urban/industrial/transport minor

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

References Anon. (1991), Symens (1989), Welch and Welch (1991).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Taif escarpment. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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