A 700-m-long coastal lagoon set between low hills, c.45 km west of Salalah, and blocked from the sea by a pebbly bar which is traversed by a tarmac road. The water is fresh or only slightly brackish, and inflow of fresh water is variable though not substantial. A severe flood in 1989 caused effluent pollution. The water surface is largely open, and the banks are sandy and dominated by grasses, with only small areas of marginal fringing vegetation (Phragmites). Shoals of small fish occur at the seaward end. A culvert has been built under the road to allow passage of strong tides and wadi-floods. The bankside vegetation is heavily grazed by livestock. The site is near a fishing village and housing extends right up to it.
See box for key species. Used extensively by a wide variety of feeding waterbirds, and large roosts of gulls and terns occur on the barrier beach. Another notable species in winter is Ardea cinerea (41, February). Large numbers of seabirds feed offshore during spring/summer: Puffinus persicus (see box), Phaethon aethereus (50, July) and Sula dactylatra (200, May). At least 170 species have been recorded.
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.
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 Mughsayl. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/05/2022.