A disparate, complex coastal lagoon on the Salalah coastal plain, immediately west of the town of Taqah. There is substantial but variable freshwater inflow, said to be at least partly from a freshwater spring at the north end, where the shore is rocky. The barrier beach is low and sandy. The water surface is mostly open but with a dense fringe of Phragmites (abundant), Juncus, Typha and sedges. There are some minor pools to the west. There are patches of sabkha and scrub around the site. The marginal vegetation is heavily browsed by camels, and some cutting of Typha occurs. Tree-planting has occurred to the north-west.
See box for key species. Ixobrychus minutus may breed in some years (1+ pairs). Other notable species in winter or on passage include Nycticorax nycticorax (max. 63, March) and Ardea cinerea (56, January; 60, March). Large roosts of non-breeding seabirds occur on the barrier beach in summer. At least 193 species occur, including a wide variety of waterbirds and breeding Afrotropical species such as Mirafra cantillans. Coracias garrulus (100, May) can be a notable passage migrant in the vicinity of the creek.
Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: at least three species on the Salalah coastal plain are endemic or near-endemic to Oman, and some may be present at this site.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khawr Hassan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/08/2019.