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Location Egypt, Red Sea
Central coordinates 36o 12.00' East  23o 37.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii
Area 450 ha
Altitude 0 - 235m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Conservation Eqypt (Affiliate)

Site description 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).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeding  150 breeding pairs  A4ii  Near Threatened 
White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus breeding  min 50 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Elba National Park 3,035,076 protected area contains site 450  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Coleman (1993), Frazier and Salas (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Zabargad island. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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