Ramtha lagoons

Year of compilation: 1994

Site description
A series of man-made lagoons resulting from regular dumping of liquid sewage waste onto a sand-dune/sabkhah area since the early 1980s; some lagoons are deep enough for diving waterbirds, and contain fish. Existing salt-tolerant scrub is being colonized by Prosopis and Tamarix trees, and there are large Phragmites reedbeds. There is potential for wildlife education/research.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. Vanellus indicus is resident (c.10 pairs) and Charadrius dubius breeds. Winter visitors include Nycticorax nycticorax (40), Egretta gularis (150), Phoenicopterus ruber (400) and Vanellus leucurus (rare). Passage migrants include Egretta gularis (c.150, August-November). At least 118 species recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Management is not conservation-orientated and severe changes in water level and destruction of developing habitats occur regularly. Oil sludge and other toxins are often dumped, and outbreaks of botulism regularly kill dozens of birds in summer. The ruler of Sharjah has instructed the Sharjah Municipality to manage the site more sympathetically. The current building of a new sewage works in Sharjah will obviate the need for sewage dumping at this site, so the site seems to have only a limited future anyway.

Data-sheet compiled by Colin Richardson.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ramtha lagoons. Downloaded from on 30/11/2022.