The only significant area of non-marine wetland in the country, man-made by effluent (sewage plus a variety of pollutants) coming from Al-Jahra town and flowing across sandy sabkhah to the sea, forming stagnant, open, shallow pools and extensive beds of Phragmites. There are scattered halophytes on the sabkhah, and some old plantations of Tamarix in poor condition. The site has great value as a potential field study centre for all educational levels up to university research, and if properly zoned could also provide for recreation. Part of the site is a designated camping area.
See box for key species. A wet and green area attracting a very wide variety of migrants and winterers, and providing an important refuge from hunting: 220 species have been recorded. An important raptor migration bottleneck, with a maximum daily passage total of 410 (17 species), and estimated spring/autumn totals of 2,000–3,000, including Buteo buteo (85, September), Aquila clanga (10, March and October), Aquila nipalensis (343, March and October) and Circus aeruginosus (5, September and October).
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Within the reserve, 70 ha are robustly fenced and signs state that this is for protection of birds. An official management plan exists but has not yet been fully re-implemented. Two full-time guards have been employed since February 1993 which should reduce trespassing. Military patrols expel shooters for security reasons and thus provide some unintentional protection. Destruction of vegetation by campers was common before mid-1990; shrubs were used for firewood and vehicles damaged the desert crust. This may recur as confidence grows that the site is safe from unexploded ordnance.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Al-Jahra Pool Nature Reserve. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 20/01/2021.