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Location Iraq, Al-Basrah
Central coordinates 48o 32.00' East  29o 55.00' North
IBA criteria B1i, B2, B3
Area 126,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Site description Enormous areas of swampy grassflats (c.90,000 ha) and intertidal mudflats (c.36,000 ha) backed by a belt of date palms and then by silt desert, immediately west of the point where the Shatt Al Arab enters the Gulf, and of the town of Fao. Tidal amplitude is large (3 m or more). There is a major oil terminal.

Key Biodiversity Except for scattered records from the 1920s and before, the site has been surveyed only once, in January 1968, and then only very incompletely. Counts then included 2,050 ducks, but the area appeared more important for wintering gulls and terns; 2,015 waders were also counted. Larus genei and Coracias benghalensis were breeding in the 1920s, and Passer hispaniolensis occurs in winter. The entire area was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980).

Non-bird biodiversity: No information available to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus winter  1925  common  B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Crab-plover Dromas ardeola non-breeding  1985  present  B3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  1979  500 individuals  poor  B1i  Near Threatened 
Sterna nilotica winter  1979  200 individuals  poor  B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus breeding  1985  present  B3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed negligible

Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Not assessed  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline   major
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Desert   minor
Sea   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
unknown -

Acknowledgements Information compiled by D. J. Brooks, reviewed by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh and Dr Hanna Y. Siman.

References Cumming (1899, 1918), Georg and Vielliard (1970), Moore and Boswell (1956-1957), Ticehurst et al. (1921-1922, 1926).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khawr Abdallah. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife