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Location Egypt, Suez
Central coordinates 32o 33.00' East  29o 58.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iv
Area 5,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 800m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Conservation Eqypt (Affiliate)



Site description The city of Suez is located at the head of the Gulf of Suez, the northernmost point of the Red Sea. It overlooks the southern entrance to the Suez Canal and the Bay of Suez to the east and south-east. To the south-west a wide plain separates the city from Gebel Ataqa (871 m) and the Isthmic Desert plains lie to the north-east. A freshwater canal and a narrow band of cultivated land extend along the western bank of the Suez Canal and reach the northern suburbs of the city. The Bay of Suez once had some of the largest and richest intertidal mudflats in the Egyptian Red Sea; today only small fragments remain. Suez has a busy port and a growing number of industries consisting, primarily, of petrochemical and fertilizer factories. The human population of Suez numbers around 250,000.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Because of its unique position on the only land-bridge between Eurasia and Africa, the Isthmus of Suez is one of the most important bottlenecks in the world for migrating soaring birds, particularly birds of prey. Maxima of 134,000 and 125,000 birds of prey were counted in autumn 1981 and spring 1982 respectively. The commonest birds of prey recorded on passage at Suez are Aquila nipalensis, Buteo buteo, Aquila pomarina and Circaetus gallicus. Ciconia ciconia, Ciconia nigra, Pelecanus onocrotalus and Grus grus also occur regularly in large numbers on migration. Although most soaring birds pass over Suez at fairly high altitudes without stopping, large numbers occasionally roost in the vicinity of the city or land to drink and feed en route, particularly during the hotter parts of the migration seasons. This can expose large numbers of some species to serious dangers. Suez also falls on an important migration flyway for many waterbirds, and is still of importance for some wintering waders, which utilize the shrinking mudflats of the Bay of Suez.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  1981-1990  26-50 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga passage  1981-1990  86 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca passage  1981-1990  556 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  1981-1990  11-20 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus non-breeding  1983-1998  30 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1981-1990  125,000-134,000 individuals  good  A4iv   

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -

References Bijlsma (1983), Wimpfheimer et al. (1983).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Suez. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014

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