Raydah escarpment

Country/territory: Saudi Arabia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3, B2, B3 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,600 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 low not assessed medium
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Site description
Lying c.15 km west of Abha, the site is a very steep west-facing slope with crags, falling from 2,700 to 1,600 m in less than 3 km. The soil is very thin. There are permanent streams and the climate is generally cool and wet, the area being frequently cloud-covered. The escarpment supports a more-or-less intact forest, predominantly Juniperus excelsa, with Olea europea on upper and north-facing slopes and more deciduous trees (Nuxia, Ficus, Acacia) lower down and in valleys and gullies. The bottom third and south-facing slopes are often dominated by Buddleja and by tree aloes Aloe sabaea and other succulents. Bee-keeping is a common human activity and there is moderate to heavy use of the area for recreation.

Key biodiversity
Possibly the most important compact site in Saudi Arabia for south-west Arabian endemic, and other, woodland species. See box for key species. Other breeding species include Accipiter badius (1-2 pairs), Aquila verreauxii, Columba arquatrix (probable), Streptopelia lugens, Treron waalia, Otus scops pamelae, Monticola rufocinereus, Phylloscopus umbrovirens, Terpsiphone viridis, Zosterops abyssinicus and Pica pica asirensis. There may be a considerable raptor passage through the area, and many Sylvia (especially S. atricapilla) stop off on migration. Many warblers winter, especially Phylloscopus collybita.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Papio hamadryas (endemic), Caracal caracal (rare) and Canis lupus (V).

Data-sheet compiled by Dr Stephen F. Newton.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Raydah escarpment. Downloaded from on 07/02/2023.