Sir Bu Na'air Island

Year of compilation: 2017

Site description
The island of Sir Bo Na'air is 65 km offshore of the west coast of the UAE. The nearest location on the mainland is Jebel Ali. It is a 1340 ha, teardrop-shaped arid rocky island in the Arabian Gulf. Shallow reefs offshore hold a diversity of corals and associated marine species.

Key biodiversity
38 species have been recorded on the island (eBird). With the exception of Sooty Gulls, Bridled Terns, Socotra Cormorants and Willow Warblers, other species have been recorded in low numbers.

Other biodiversity: Species diversity on the terrestrial portion of the protected area is low. The marine component has become an area of particular interest for conservation within the UAE due to the species diversity. It is currently subjected to sporadic biodiversity surveys. Turtle nesting records have been documented for the past 6 years.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The location faces intense pressure to be developed for tourism activities. Military installation and infrastructure development, and extraction of rocky material, have totally transformed portions of the island. This includes the building of a runway. The island is within a busy shipping lane and is subjected to the intense pressures of discarded waste and petrochemical products washing ashore. These concerns pose a significant threat to all fauna of the protected area. Unregulated fishing also poses a threat through extraction and the loss of fishing equipment; although this is yet to be accurately quantified. The threat posed to fish stocks within the protected area from adjacent fishing is not yet quantified. Unrestricted beach driving by various management entities remain a concern to sandy beach biodiversity and nesting turtles.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
There is little direct conservation action taking place within the protected area although the protected status has restricted building development. A coral propagation project is currently being investigated. Turtle surveys have been conducted, but are currently being reviewed. Bird surveys are sporadic.

Protected areas
There is a need for clarification on the size of the marine component of the PA.

Habitat and land use
The arid rocky landscape was mostly uninhabited until the early 1980s whereafter military development was initiated. The central low mountainous area is described in A Directory of Wetlands in the Middle East as: a salt dome, includes some igneous rocks criss-crossed by small ravines, wadis and rocky outcrops which run down to the sea along most of the shoreline. There are also areas of thorny scrub, sandy beach and rocky shoreline. The marine component of the protected area is still partly subjected to unregulated harvest by fishermen.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sir Bu Na'air Island. Downloaded from on 14/07/2020.