The Abraq area

Country/territory: Egypt

IBA criteria met: A3 (1999)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 100,000 ha

Nature Conservation Eqypt

Site description (2001 baseline)
The Abraq area encompasses a complex network of steep sandstone hills and winding sandy wadis, the best known of which are Wadi Naam, Wadi Abraq and Wadi Abu Saafa, which drain eastwards into Wadi Hodein, and thence into the Red Sea. There are a number of perennial springs in the region, of which Bir Abraq and Bir Abu Saafa are the most famous. The area is part of the extremely arid Nubian (southern) section of the Eastern Desert, and is unique in that it represents an enclave of sandstone located east of the Red Sea–Nile valley hydrological divide of the Eastern Desert Mountains. At least 107 plant species are known. The area has moderate vegetation cover, which is largely confined to wadi beds and dominated by Acacia, Zilla and Aerva.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The Abraq area supports a breeding avifauna that includes a large proportion of Egypt’s Sahara–Sindian biome-restricted species. The area also probably still holds breeding populations of several declining or rare birds of prey in Egypt, including Gypaetus barbatus, Neophron percnopterus and Hieraaetus fasciatus. The springs in the area are important watering stations for large populations of sandgrouse Pterocles. Both Pterocles lichtensteinii and Pterocles coronatus use the water resources of the area extensively.

Non-bird biodiversity: Reptiles: No fewer than 20 reptile species occur, including good populations of the declining Uromastyx ocellata. Mammals: Gazella dorcas (VU) and Capra nubiana (EN) are known from the area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: The Abraq area. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.