A wadi in the eastern sector of Jabal al Qara in the Dhofar highlands, feeding into Khawr Rawri on the coast. Habitats include a plateau of low annual grasslands (seasonal), well-wooded highlands on either side of the wadi (rising to 1,500 m) and coastal escarpment watered mainly by monsoon rainfall in summer. The wadi is unusually attractive scenically: its sides are thickly wooded and there are one to three permanent lakes in its floor (depending on rainfall/water-levels), narrow (30 m) and long (c.3 km overall). At the southern end of the site, the wadi terminates abruptly at high cliffs (occasionally waterfalls). There are very large Ficus trees along the banks of the wadi. There are numerous small, permanent settlements in the area. The mainstay of the local economy is cattle husbandry, and rangeland is heavily grazed; there is very little cultivation.
See box for key species. A rich assemblage of breeding species of wetland, woodland and cliffs, including many Afrotropical species; other notable breeding species include Tachybaptus ruficollis (50–100 pairs), Hieraaetus fasciatus, Treron waalia, Chrysococcyx caprius, Otus scops pamelae, Halcyon leucocephala, Mirafra cantillans and Terpsiphone viridis. In winter there are good numbers of Ciconia ciconia, wildfowl (for example up to 160 Tachybaptus ruficollis) and eagles (up to 2 Aquila clanga and 10 Aquila nipalensis). Philomachus pugnax is common on passage (max. 400, October). At least 134 species have been recorded.
Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: the vegetation of the Dhofar highlands is amongst the richest in Oman; the tree Anogeissus dhofarica (endemic to Dhofar) is common, and a variety of other plants endemic or near-endemic to Oman may also occur more scarcely, as well as Afrotropical plants rare in Arabia such as baobab Adansonia digitata. Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Genetta felina (rare) and Capra nubiana (I).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wadi Darbat. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/09/2020.