Suakin archipelago

Country/territory: Sudan

IBA Criteria met: A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 150,000 ha

Site description
The Suakin archipelago is the largest group of islets on the Red Sea coast of Sudan, extending south-eastwards from the former port of Suakin almost to the Ethiopian border. There are c.30 islets in the archipelago, all without fresh water and all uninhabited. Most of them are less than 1 km long, but two, Talla Talla Saghir and Talla Talla Kebir, are 5 km in length. Some of the larger, rocky islets, formed from raised coral reefs, reach a height of 10 m. All the islets are largely barren, with low vegetation growing only on the sandy fringes. Low, halophytic bushes grow on fossil reefs on some of the smaller islets which are usually fringed by coral reefs.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The islets support breeding colonies of five species of tern: Sterna bergii, S. bengalensis, S. repressa, S. anaethetus and Anous stolidus, numbering c.3,500 pairs in total. Small numbers of Sula leucogaster, Larus hemprichii and Dromas ardeola also breed. Sterna bergii and S. bengalensis breed principally on the islets of Seil Ada, Barra Musa Saghir, Qad Eitwid, Eitwid, Two and Talla Talla Kebir.

Non-bird biodiversity: Four species of turtle have been reported to breed, including Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) on Seil Ada. The mammal Dugong dugon (VU) occurs.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Suakin archipelago. Downloaded from on 05/12/2021.