Al-Aliyah island

Year of compilation: 1994

Site description
A small, low, rocky outcrop within 5 km of the northern outskirts of Doha, and 3 km offshore. Surface is loose, weathered limestone rock with uneven cover of salt-tolerant bushes (Zygophyllum, Limonium). A sand-spit extends south for about 2 km at low tide, and there are broad intertidal flats to the south and east, and coral reefs nearby. The island is occasionally visited by fishermen and authorized falcon-trappers.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. Surveys in 1992 and 1993 found Phalacrocorax nigrogularis (350 pairs), Egretta gularis (17 pairs), and second-hand reports of Sterna bengalensis (75 pairs), S. repressa (see box) and S. anaethetus (50 pairs). None of these populations exceed the 1% population levels, but the figures for terns are probably underestimates.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No conservation measures have been taken, although the nearby presence of a security area restricts the number of visitors and thus provides some unintentional protection from disturbance. Visitors are also monitored to some extent by the Coast Guard at Doha, 13 km to the south. No signs of shooting or disturbance were found during a visit in December 1993. However Phalacrocorax nigrogularis did not breed in the winters of 1991/92 and 1992/93, and the current status of the tern Sterna breeding colonies is not known and excessive disturbance and over-exploitation of seabird eggs may be occurring. Formal protection for the site was suggested in 1986, and new proposals are now under consideration. The site has potential for education and research, and is part of the most significant remaining natural marine habitat close to Doha.

Data-sheet compiled by Bob Nation.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Al-Aliyah island. Downloaded from on 26/06/2022.