A shallow, relatively well-sheltered bay, part of the larger Kuwait Bay system, with extensive intertidal mudflats (c.2,250 ha); reportedly the most productive shore in Kuwait, and an economically valuable shrimp nursery. Traditional fishing by fixed traps ('hadra') and recreational fishing occur; the hadra (on the intertidal flats) appear to be in poor repair, and may have been abandoned because of Iraqi mine-laying in the area.
See box for key species. The site is important for coastal waterfowl during winter and on passage, especially Ardea cinerea (90, January) and Recurvirostra avosetta (95, January). It is fairly well watched by local standards, and at least 70 bird species have been recorded.
Non-bird biodiversity: Invertebrates: the crab Cleistostoma kuwaitense (endemic).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Land-claim destroyed 500 ha of mudflat in the early 1980s, and a resumption of this policy would be disastrous for the site. There is some local oil pollution from power stations on Doha peninsula and from Mina Shuwaikh port. About 3 km of shore in the south-west corner of bay, adjacent to this site, is a Nature Reserve (see site 003). A proposal was made in 1987 to protect the entire area from shooting (potentially a local problem), whilst allowing traditional and recreational fishing to continue.
Data-sheet compiled by Prof. C. W. T. Pilcher.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sulaibikhat Bay. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2022.