Country/territory: Jordan

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, B1iv, B2, B3 (2000)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 26,700 ha

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 high not assessed low
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Site description (baseline)
High-relief, rocky, sandstone mountains (700-1,450 m) overlooking Wadi Araba, on the western edge of the Sharrah Mountains, with high cliffs, caves and numerous gorges and dry wadis which flow down to Wadi Araba during storms. Rain falls mainly in winter (100-300 mm; average 180 mm p.a.), when there can be snow; there are two springs. Vegetation-types include Artemisia steppe on rocky plateaus, typical Saharo-Arabian desert wadi-spread with Acacia and Calotropis, lush growth at springs and remnants of formerly more extensive Mediterranean Quercus-Juniperus woodland on mountain slopes; more than 200 plant species have been recorded. Petra is a world-famous antiquities site, and tourism is the major land-use in the National Park; however nomadic pastoralists also graze livestock in the wider area.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. An unusually diverse assemblage of at least 50 breeding or probably breeding species of highly mixed biogeographical origins, including Circaetus gallicus (possibly), Aquila chrysaetos (possibly), Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Falco pelegrinoides, Alectoris chukar, Anthus similis (pre-1983), Oenanthe lugens, Scotocerca inquieta, Nectarinia osea, Lanius nubicus, Petronia petronia, Emberiza caesia (possibly) and Emberiza striolata. There is an important raptor migration in spring, especially by Pernis apivorus (650, May), Milvus migrans (200, April) and Buteo buteo (2,000+, April); Sylvia curruca (90, April) and Sylvia atricapilla (100, April) are also very common spring migrants.

Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: Iris petrana (endemic), Verbascum transjordanicum (endemic), Cupressus sempervirens (experiencing cutting pressure).

Data-sheet compiled by Ian J. Andrews.

Raptors MOU - IBA listed under Table 3 of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia

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