National Wildlife Research Center and environs, Taif

Site description (1994 baseline):

Site location and context
Fairly flat, sandy/gravelly desert fringe at 1,450 m on the edge of the north-east Asir foothills, c.40 km south-east of Taif. There are a few gneiss inselbergs and dry wadis. The site is a fenced captive breeding centre, and the previously overgrazed vegetation is rapidly recovering to grassland and scrub bushland. Wadis just outside the boundary fence have many Acacia iraqensis trees and one has been dammed with some water usually present. Large semi-natural enclosures contain ungulates or are ungrazed.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. Large numbers of Chlidonias leucopterus have occurred at the dam on migration (seasonal total 26,000; see box).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Virtually the only threat is that the Center's 'green island' character renders it vulnerable to locust plagues, which only occur irregularly and infrequently. The surrounding area is seriously overgrazed, with attendant spread of the exotic weed Argemone mexicana, and a new camel farm has caused considerable damage to the Acacia iraqensis woodland used by Dendrocopos dorae.

Data-sheet compiled by Dr Stephen F. Newton.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: National Wildlife Research Center and environs, Taif. Downloaded from on 04/12/2023.