Western Negev

Year of compilation: 1994

Site description (baseline)
A mainly desert area extending as far as Be'er Sheva, Ofakim and Nir Oz in the north and to Mash'abim Sands (1,300 ha), Shunra Sands (2,400 ha), Agur Sands (30°53'N 34°26'E, 24,800 ha) and the Nahal Be'erotayim area (c.5,000 ha, close to Nizzana and the Egyptian border) in the south. The region includes low rocky hills, dry riverbeds, steppe, dunes and scrub, and there is some agriculture, mainly in the Ze'elim and Agur Sands area.

Key biodiversity
Other breeders include Burhinus oedicnemus, Cursorius cursor, four species of sandgrouse and Eremophila bilopha. In winter the area supports notable numbers of Circus aeruginosus (50), Aquila clanga (21), Grus grus, Vanellus vanellus and Pterocles alchata (8,000).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Meriones sacramenti (endemic) and Gazella gazella (V). Reptiles: Testudo kleinmanni (V). Flora: Allium papillare, Garhadiolus angulosus.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Some parts of the area are Nature Reserves and a further c.29,000 ha has been proposed. A small part of the Ze'elim and Agur Sands area (600 ha) is protected by the Nature Reserves Authority. Nahal Be'erotayim lies on a traditional major thoroughfare between Israel and Egypt, and there is considerable military activity, with resulting pressure on the desert crust. There is a possibility of the expansion of agriculture.

Data-sheet compiled by S. Blitzblau, reviewed by R. Frumkin.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Western Negev. Downloaded from on 03/06/2023.