Mahazat as-Sayd

Country/territory: Saudi Arabia

IBA Criteria met: A1, B1i, B2, B3 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 219,000 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 low not assessed medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

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).

Data-sheet compiled by Dr Stephen F. Newton.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mahazat as-Sayd. Downloaded from on 27/03/2023.