Wildlife of Jordan
Nature reserves in Jordan (The Guardian) Jordan’s nature reserves and their chic eco-lodges are well worth a visit
The Azraq wetland, an area of pools surrounded by tall grasses, bullrushes and reeds, is one of Jordan’s six nature parks, established by the country’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. A million migratory birds used to stop here every year – filling the sky until they blocked out the sun. But no more. Since the 1980s the site has been in a state of environmental disaster as the Azraq water basin which feeds it has also been pumped to supply the population.
Much of the country’s diversity is due to the formation of the Great Rift Valley. The titanic forces that created the Rift Valley produced the high western mountains. The altitude ranges from around 400m below sea level by the shores of the Dead Sea up to 1854m at the edge of the Southern Heights. Apart from the rift valley, Jordan is mainly desert composed of either basalt or Hammada; a striking ecologically-rich ecosystem that is unique to Jordan and Syria. Furthermore, Jordan has some highly specialized habitats, the most noteworthy being the Dead Sea, in which surrounding communities are considered to be of global importance.
So far, 78 species of mammals have been recorded in Jordan (Amr. Z. 2000), belonging to 7 orders and 26 families. These mammals are a major part of the biological pyramids that exist in Jordan. Some of these mammals are carnivores, meat-eaters, such as Striped Hyena, Wolf, Golden Jackal, and the different species of foxes and wildcats. Others are herbivores, plant eaters, such as the Nubian Ibex, Arabian Oryx, and the different gazelle species. Interestingly, the largest groups of mammals are the rodents and the bats which make up almost two-thirds of the mammals in Jordan.
The 425 bird species recorded in Jordan belong to 58 families (Ian Andrews, 2000). Of which more than 300 are migrant, 95 are resident with definite breeding records, 111 are winter visitors, 202 are passage migrants, 81 are vagrants, and 63 are different summer visitors. Jordan hosts breeding populations for some globally threatened species including Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) and Syrian Serin (Serinus syriacus). In addition to these, there are several globally threatened species that are recorded in Jordan at different times of the year. This includes Imperial Eagle, Palled Harried, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Sociable Lapwing. Fifteen bird species are threatened, while 21 are on the CITES appendices.
Books about the wildlife of Jordan
Birds of the Middle East (Helm Field Guides) The standard field guide