Zabargad island

Country/territory: Egypt

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4ii (1999)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 450 ha

Nature Conservation Eqypt

Site description (2001 baseline)
Zabargad (or St John) is small triangular island rising abruptly from deep water in the Red Sea to about 235 m, some 60 km south-east of Ras Banas. It is geologically unique, amongst the Red Sea islands, in being composed of uplifted mantle and lower crustal metamorphic rocks. Vegetation is scant and mainly limited to halophytic flora.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Eight bird species have been found breeding: Sula leucogaster, Platalea leucorodia, Falco concolor, Larus leucophthalmus, Sterna caspia, Sterna bengalensis, Sterna anaethetus and Sterna repressa. In October 1994, about 150 pairs of Falco concolor were found breeding on the island, representing a significant proportion of the world population.

Non-bird biodiversity: Marine life: The island is surrounded by some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the Egyptian Red Sea. Reptiles: Remains of ‘hundreds’ of marine turtles were found in December 1997, which probably come to the island to nest, most likely involving Chelonia mydas (EN).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Zabargad island. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.