IBA Criteria met: A1, B1i, B2, B3 (2017)
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Area: 1,607 ha
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment
Threat score (pressure)
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A shallow tidal inlet on the Gulf of Oman leads to a series of saline (33-44 ppt) channels fringed with mangrove woodlands of Avicennia marina. The benthic substrate of the channels comprises sandy bottoms, seagrass beds and rocky reefs with sparse coral colonies. Sub-tidal and intertidal mudflats lie adjacent to the surrounding terrestrial habitat of saltmarsh (with associated halophytic plant communities), low sand dunes and sandy beach.
Arabian Collared Kingfishers within the UAE only breed at Khor Kalba. Although a sub-species, it is the only representative population of the birds in the UAE. IUCN list the global population trend as decreasing. Socotra cormorants use the beaches and offshore of Khor Kalba for passage, foraging and resting.
During the past 10 years 138 species have been recorded at the location. In addition to Arabian Collared Kingfisher, Khor Kalba is the only location in the UAE where Sykes Warbler (Iduna rana) is resident. Another species of interest is Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) listed as Near Threatened by IUCN. The location is resident to, or provides passage to numerous species listed on the Convention of Migratory Species Appendix 2, including Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-winged Stilt, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Greater Flamingo and Kentish Plover.
Other biodiversity: The location is especially biodiverse, a likely manifestation of the diversity of habitats that characterise the site. Mammal species include Sand Gazelle, Red Fox and numerous small mammals. Eighteen species of reptile have been recorded at the site, including an abundance of Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas - IUCN Endangered). Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata - IUCN Critically Endangered) and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea - IUCN Vulnerable) turtles have also been recorded at Khor Kalba. It is the only recorded location for Blanford's Fringe-toed Gecko (Acanthodactylus blanfordii) on the UAE east coast. Biodiversity surveys are currently quantifying the particular richness of invertebrates (18 species of crabs currently identified) and fish species.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Alqurm Wa Lehfeiyah (Khor Kalba). Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2019.