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Location Saudi Arabia, Jizan
Central coordinates 42o 58.00' East  17o 3.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2, B3
Area 2,500 ha
Altitude 120 - 250m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Saudi Wildlife Commission (Affiliate)

Site description Malaki Dam lies at 120-250 m on the edge of the Asir foothills, c.15 km east of Abu Arish. The reservoir, used for flood control and irrigation, is fed by the four major wadis of the extreme south-west of Saudi Arabia, with a catchment area extending well into Yemen. High rates of sedimentation have occurred in the reservoir, reducing its depth and expanding the water surface to c.10 km2 at high-water levels. To the north the reservoir is bordered by basaltic lava plains, and several rocky outcrops with hot springs are found on the south side and between the main wadis such as Ain Wakrah. There are a variety of marshy areas near the reservoir and in the lower runs of the four wadis, and huge banks of silt have isolated some permanent and semi-permanent pools from the main reservoir. Many of these banks are covered with Tamarix woodland edged by a lush growth of weeds and sedge. Similar vegetation borders the main wadis, while the wadi beds are cultivated with sorghum whenever the water level allows it. Some of the rocky outcrops are vegetated by palms Phoenix reclinata and Hyphaene, succulent Adenium obesum and the rare tree Acacia alba. Isolated Dobera trees, Acacia scrub and Salvadora bushes are the main vegetation on more open, sandy areas. Much of the surrounding hill area is grazed by livestock.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The dam and its immediate area have one of the highest diversities of breeding birds in Arabia and hold a community representative of the lower Tihamah foothills, including many of the African elements: Terathopius ecaudatus, Turnix sylvatica, Burhinus capensis, Streptopelia semitorquata, Oxylophus jacobinus, Centropus superciliosus, Caprimulgus nubicus, Cypsiurus parvus, Coracias abyssinica, Mirafra cantillans, Anthreptes metallicus, Tchagra senegala and Emberiza tahapisi. Winter visitors include Ciconia nigra (21), Platalea leucorodia (84) and Limosa limosa (233), and large numbers of Ciconia ciconia, Grus grus (187), Plegadis falcinellus and Bubulcus ibis use the site as a roost, feeding mainly on the surrounding agricultural areas and/or rubbish dumps. At least 287 species have been recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Genetta felina (rare), Canis lupus (V). Reptiles: Coluber manseri (endemic). Fish: the wadi system holds endemic fish which are threatened with local extinction by the large numbers of introduced Tilapia in the reservoir.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1990-1992  45-83 individuals  good  A1, B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia winter  1990-1992  281-342 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus passage  1993  1,000-3,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus winter  1990-1992  869-986 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  1990-1992  76-84 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis winter  1990-1992  1,771-2,922 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  1992  4 individuals  good  B2  Vulnerable 
Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar resident  1993  present  B2  Least Concern 
Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rufibarba resident  1993  300 individuals  poor  B3  Least Concern 
Olive-rumped Serin Serinus rothschildi resident  1993  common  B3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 low not assessed negligible

No known threats no known threats happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

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


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   minor
Savanna   major
Artificial - aquatic   minor
Shrubland   minor
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Grassland   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
agriculture minor
hunting major
forestry minor
Notes: wood-cutting and charcoal production
water management minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by P. Symens.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Malaki dam. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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