Al Wathba


Year of compilation: 2017

Site description
An artificial inland wetland formed from accidental release of treated water that attracted waterfowl. The site has developed into a year-round bird refuge.

Key biodiversity
An important area for breeding Greater Flamingo, Kentish Plover and Black-winged Stilt, with high numbers all year round; other breeders include Avocet, Coot, Grey-headed Swamphen, Little Grebe and Grey Francolin. It is the only inland wetland in the Arabian Peninsula that has witnessed successive successful breeding of Greater Flamingo (from 2011 to 2017). In winter, there are high numbers of Greater Flamingo, large groups of ducks, mainly Shoveler and Teal; Greater Spotted Eagle, Ferruginous Duck and Avocet are also present. The site has one of the region's biggest winter roosts of Marsh Harrier and it is not uncommon to see nearing 50 birds at the roost.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Occasional predation of waterbirds by feral dogs and foxes.

Protected areas
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is a nationally protected area and a Ramsar Site.

Habitat and land use
Small pools of varying depths and salinity regimes are interspersed with low sand dunes and sabkha. Edges near water pools have stands of Phragmites australis.

Acknowledgements
Data-sheet compiled by Shahid Bashir Khan, Dr Salim Javed, Shakeel Ahmed (EAD).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Al Wathba. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/08/2022.