A major lagoon (900 × 600 m) on the Sahil al Jazir coastal plain, land-locked and predominantly freshwater, and surrounded by flat, sandy terrain including dunes. Aquatic vegetation includes Potamogeton and Ruppia; salt-tolerant dwarf shrubs and woody-based herbs are abundant around the site, becoming sparse away from the water. Human population density is low. Nomadic pastoralism is widely practised, and fishing is important in the coastal people's economy.
See box for key species. The site is rich in duck and roosting seabirds and shorebirds in winter and during migration. Up to c.600 duck occur in winter (the highest number in central Oman), including Aythya nyroca (see box), as well as good numbers of gulls and terns: Larus cachinnans/L. argentatus (140, January), Sterna nilotica (50, November), S. caspia (80, January), S. bergii (300, May) and S. sandvicensis (350, January). At least 121 species have been recorded, though the site is rather underwatched due to its remoteness.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Gazella gazella (V) is regularly seen. Flora: the terrestrial vegetation shows a high degree of endemism.
Data-sheet compiled by Simon Albrecht; summary bird data supplied by Oman Bird Records Committee (per Jens Eriksen).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khor Dirif. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/08/2022.