Abu Al Abyad Island

Country/territory: United Arab Emirates

IBA Criteria met: A4, B2a, B3a (2017)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 60,000 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2017 low favourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
A large, low-lying island (20 km by 30 km, up to 10 m elevation) of calcareous sands and sabkhah, with very little natural vegetation; there are small areas of salt-tolerant scrub and irrigated cultivation. The coast is fringed with extensive intertidal sandflats and mature mangrove Avicennia woodland.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The main interest lies in a breeding colony of Dromas ardeola (200-300 pairs, probably c.280); this population seems to winter at Khor al Beidah (site 005). Peak counts of passage waders exceed 6,000 at any one time, and other species include Pluvialis squatarola (200, March) and Arenaria interpres (370+, September).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: dolphins Tursiops truncatus and Sousa chinensis (K) are numerous, and Dugong dugon (V) probably occurs; there are large numbers of introduced ungulates (including Gazella gazella (V), G. dorcas (V) and G. thompsoni). Reptiles: Chelonia mydas (E) is numerous inshore, with occasional Eretmochelys imbricata (E), though no sea-turtles have yet been proved to breed.

Data-sheet compiled by R. P. Morris.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Abu Al Abyad Island. Downloaded from on 28/09/2022.