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Location Egypt, North Sinai
Central coordinates 33o 0.00' East  31o 9.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 59,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Conservation Eqypt (Affiliate)

Site description Lake Bardawil is a shallow (50–300 cm deep), hyper-saline lagoon occupying much of the Mediterranean coast of Sinai. It is separated from the sea by a sandbar that varies in width between 100 m and 1 km. The lake shore is mainly bare sand, with scattered saltmarsh and mudflats. The sandy lake-bottom is covered by scattered patches of algae Ruppia.Originally, Bardawil was connected to the sea via one small natural inlet at its eastern extremity (Bughaz Zaranik), usually becoming inundated with seawater only during winter when storms often breached the unstable sandbar. During summer, most of the lake was isolated from the sea and water evaporated, leaving behind large areas of sabkha. Several man-made inlets have been dredged along the sandbar since 1905 in an effort to allow the permanent inundation of the lagoon and maintenance of salinity levels suitable for the development of fisheries. Today, there are two man-made inlets (Bughaz I, II), which are continually being blocked through sedimentation. Bardawil is the source of an important local fishery, producing over 2,500 tonnes annually (1987 figure), mostly of the high-value saltwater fish Sparus auratus and Mugil sp., and employing some 3,000 fishermen. Fishing is suspended between January and May, in order to allow fish stocks to recuperate.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  13,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  5,000-30,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Corncrake Crex crex passage  present  A1  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus breeding  1,900 breeding pairs  A4i  Not Recognised 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1,200 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bardawil Lake Natural Area 60,000 protected area contains site 59,500  
Lake Bardawil Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 59,500 is identical to site 59,500  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Other biodiversity Reptiles: The Mediterranean shore of the lake is of potential importance for the nesting of two sea-turtles, Caretta caretta (EN) and Chelonia mydas (EN). Islets and dunes adjacent to the lake represent some of the last remaining habitats where extremely small populations of the tortoise Testudo kleinmanni (EN) might still exist. Mammals: Vulpes zerda (DD) still inhabits adjacent dunes in low density.

References Baha el Din (1994), Baha el Din and Salama (1991), Dunnet et al. (1986), Meininger and Atta (1994), Varty et al. (1990).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Bardawil. Downloaded from on 17/09/2014

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