An isolated steep-sided jabal on the western side of the Asir mountains (above 500 m). The temperate summit area (c.2,000 m) is heavily built up and cultivated, with Juniperus in parts too steep for terracing, as well as various broadleaved shrubs and bushes, Ficus and a few Dracaena trees, as well as introduced Eucalyptus and Opuntia. At lower altitudes Adenium obesum and Commiphora occur. The western slopes have considerable rainfall but there is very little permanent water on the summit area and supplies for crops are brought up by bowser.
The mountain and its foothills hold c.70 breeding species. See box for key species; other breeding species include Terathopius ecaudatus, Melierax metabates, Falco pelegrinoides, Streptopelia lugens, Treron waalia, Cypsiurus parvus, Halcyon leucocephala, Merops albicollis, Coracias abyssinica, Tockus nasutus, Anthus similis, Oenanthe bottae, Monticola rufocinereus, Phylloscopus umbrovirens, Muscicapa gambagae, Anthreptes metallicus, Nectarinia habessinica, N. osea, Zosterops abyssinicus, Tchagra senegala, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster and Emberiza tahapisi.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: the only Saudi Arabian site for several small species. Reptiles: the only Saudi Arabian site for several species, including Varanus yemenensis (endemic). Flora: the site is of very high botanical interest; features include a grove of the tree Mimusops laurifolia (rare), the largest trees in Saudi Arabia.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The grove of Mimusops laurifolia has been scheduled as a site of special interest by the NCWCD, but the mountain is otherwise unprotected. Urban development is continuing on the summit area. There is little or no grazing on the mountain, and the dry, scrub-covered eastern side seems not to be threatened.
Data-sheets compiled by P. Symens and M. C. Jennings.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Jabal Fayfa. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/10/2021.