Al-Wajh Bank

Site description (1994 baseline):

Site location and context
A group of northern Red Sea islands lying off the coast between al-Wajh and Umm Lajj, with a mixture of rocky or sandy, and vegetated (mangrove Avicennia and salt-tolerant bushes Salicornia) or barren habitats. There are some low cliffs of less than 5 m, and seagrass beds offshore.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The islands are important for their breeding population of Falco concolor (see box) and probably for their breeding seabirds (which are very little-known, however) including Sula leucogaster (100+ pairs, August/September 1982), Sterna caspia (3+ pairs, February) and S. bengalensis; Pandion haliaetus (106 birds) and Sterna anaethetus have been seen in October and may breed. The site is of low value for wintering waterbirds.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Dugong dugon (V). Reptiles: sea-turtles (globally threatened) nest.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No threats are known, but there have been no proper surveys of breeding seabirds, and collection of seabird eggs probably occurs. The site is proposed as a Resource Use Reserve in the NCWCD System Plan for Protected Areas. Summer surveys for breeding seabirds are urgently needed.

Data-sheet compiled by P. Gaucher and X. Eichaker, with comments by P. Symens.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Al-Wajh Bank. Downloaded from on 23/09/2023.