Al-Hasa lagoons

Country/territory: Saudi Arabia

IBA criteria met: A4iii, B1i, B2 (1994)
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Area: 7,500 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2013 not assessed medium negligible
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Site description (1994 baseline)
A long, narrow, man-made river, the only large-scale freshwater habitat in the Eastern Province, running east-south-east from Hofuf and Abqaiq towards al-'Uqair. It is formed by run-off from al-Hasa oasis and sewage effluent from Hofuf, Abqaiq and numerous small towns, and frequently disappears under sand-dunes, to surface again a few kilometres further on. There are numerous pools of up to c.250 ha, often surrounded by large reedbeds. The rest of the area consists of sandy gravel plain and sand-dunes interspersed with sabkhahs and aeolian sand-fields.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. There is little information on the site at present. Other breeding species include Ixobrychus minutus (possible, in low numbers), Tadorna ferruginea (possible), Cursorius cursor, Acrocephalus melanopogon (only Saudi Arabian breeding site) and Locustella luscinioides (probable). Large numbers of wintering and migrating waterbirds have been observed during several aerial surveys: Ardea cinerea (50-60), Egretta garzetta (100), 10,000-15,000 ducks including Tadorna ferruginea (50), Grus grus (22), and small flocks of Philomachus pugnax and Limosa limosa.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Data-sheet compiled by P. Symens.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Al-Hasa lagoons. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.