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Location Sudan, Red Sea
Central coordinates 38o 0.00' East  18o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 150,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The Suakin archipelago is the largest group of islets on the Red Sea coast of Sudan, extending south-eastwards from the former port of Suakin almost to the Ethiopian border. There are c.30 islets in the archipelago, all without fresh water and all uninhabited. Most of them are less than 1 km long, but two, Talla Talla Saghir and Talla Talla Kebir, are 5 km in length. Some of the larger, rocky islets, formed from raised coral reefs, reach a height of 10 m. All the islets are largely barren, with low vegetation growing only on the sandy fringes. Low, halophytic bushes grow on fossil reefs on some of the smaller islets which are usually fringed by coral reefs.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The islets support breeding colonies of five species of tern: Sterna bergii, S. bengalensis, S. repressa, S. anaethetus and Anous stolidus, numbering c.3,500 pairs in total. Small numbers of Sula leucogaster, Larus hemprichii and Dromas ardeola also breed. Sterna bergii and S. bengalensis breed principally on the islets of Seil Ada, Barra Musa Saghir, Qad Eitwid, Eitwid, Two and Talla Talla Kebir.

Non-bird biodiversity: Four species of turtle have been reported to breed, including Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) on Seil Ada. The mammal Dugong dugon (VU) occurs.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis breeding  750 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii breeding  370 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -
other -
Notes: Collection of coral, shells, and eggs of seabirds and turtles.
not utilised -

References IUCN (1986a), Moore and Balzarotti (1983).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Suakin archipelago. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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