SA007
Gulf coral islands


Country/territory: Saudi Arabia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,000 ha

Protection status:

Saudi Wildlife Authority
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 high not assessed low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here


Site description
Five uninhabited coral islands (Harqus 27°56'N 49°41'E, Karan 27°44'N 49°50'E, Kurayn 27°39'N 49°50'E, Jana 27°22'N 49°54'E, Jurayd 27°11'N 49°52'E) in the northern Arabian Gulf, 35-90 km offshore. Island areas range from 2 to 120 ha (total c.190 ha), with a maximum elevation of 3-4 m, and they are surrounded by extensive, shallow coral reefs. There are wide, sand beach platforms, and the central parts of the larger islands are well-vegetated with Salsola and Suaeda, and Mesembryanthemum after good rains. The islands support local fisheries, and are valuable for recreational diving.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The site is considered to be the most important breeding site for Sterna bengalensis in the world. See box for key species (numbers of terns are 1991-1993 three-year-averages). Other breeding species include Galerida cristata, Melanocorypha bimaculata (irregular) and Calandrella brachydactyla (irregular). The islands are used as a stopover site by considerable numbers of passage migrants (mainly passerines), especially in spring.

Non-bird biodiversity: Reptiles: important breeding populations of sea-turtles Eretmochelys imbricata (E) and Chelonia mydas (E). Invertebrates: the surrounding coral reefs are thought to be the best-developed and most diverse in the Gulf.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gulf coral islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/08/2020.