Abu Ali

Country/territory: Saudi Arabia

IBA criteria met: A4i, B1i, B3 (1994)
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Area: 12,500 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 medium not assessed low
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Site description (baseline)
Two long, elevated inshore Gulf islands (Abu Ali and Batinah) north-east of Jubail, linked to each other and to the mainland by causeways. They consist largely of sabkhah and sandsheets, the latter becoming very well-vegetated with grasses and herbs after winter rains. The exposed northern shores are mainly sand beach with fringing reefs in places, while on the sheltered south side there are intertidal flats of sand and sand-mud, bordered by large saltmarshes. A shallow, brackish pond is present near the eastern tip and there are several smaller islands in the enclosed southern bay. There are oil installations and small traditional fishing camps, and the site is used for weekend recreation.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. Vast numbers of Sterna saundersi/S. albifrons congregate to moult after the breeding season, as do large numbers of other tern species (see box). Breeding birds include Charadrius alexandrinus, Alaemon alaudipes, Calandrella rufescens and possibly Pandion haliaetus. Other wintering species include Larus genei (1,267). Numerous migrating passerines use the site as a stop-over in spring, and good numbers are present in winter.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Data-sheet compiled by P. Symens and A. Suhaibani.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Abu Ali. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.