IBA criteria met: A1, A2, B1iv, B2, B3 (2000)
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Area: 26,700 ha
|IBA conservation status|
|Year of assessment (most recent)||Threat (pressure)||Condition (state)||Action (response)|
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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.
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.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Petra. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/8199 on 06/06/2023.