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Location Oman, Al Wusta,Ash Sharqiyah
Central coordinates 58o 26.00' East  20o 38.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3
Area 290,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 1994





Site description A raised, rocky limestone peninsula west of Masirah island (site 017), with c.160 km of coastline fringed by extensive inland sabkha, at least c.12,000 ha of intertidal flats and shallow seas. There are five tidal inlets; Khawr Barr al Hikman, at c.4,000 ha, is the largest khawr in Oman and the most important for birds. Up to 7 km width of mudflats is exposed at low tide; the major area (south of Khawr Barr al Hikman) is called Bayad Dimnah. Inland near the coast there are also areas of sand/gravel plain and of sand-dunes. The richest and most extensive seagrass beds in Oman grow in the bay of Ghubbat Hashish. There is much coral offshore, and the mudflats are fringed with reefs at very low tide. The area is rather isolated and sparsely populated. Fishing is the major human activity, predominantly in winter, and especially prawn fishing in Ghubbat al Hashish. Many people migrate to tend date groves north and inland in summer, when prevailing very strong, cold winds make fishing very difficult.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1989-1992  4,574-9,300 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Egretta gularis resident  1993  90 breeding pairs  medium  B1i  Not Recognised 
Egretta gularis winter  1989-1992  874-1,858 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea winter  1989-1992  345-600 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1989-1992  113-340 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1989-1992  3,507-8,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis non-breeding  1990-1992  8,043-15,000 individuals  medium  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Haematopus ostralegus winter  1989-1992  4,547-10,700 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Crab-plover Dromas ardeola winter  1989-1992  1,419-3,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1989-1992  1,290-3,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  1989-1992  1,064-2,600 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus winter  1989-1992  2,289-5,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii winter  1989-1992  498-800 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  1989-1992  9,393-13,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  1989-1992  30,973-50,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus winter  1989-1991  427-950 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris winter  1990  3 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Critically Endangered 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  1989-1992  948-1,750 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia winter  1989-1992  1,001-3,200 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus winter  1989-1992  327-608 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  1989-1992  1,311-1,724 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris winter  1989-1992  450-1,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Sanderling Calidris alba winter  1989-1992  4,495-11,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Little Stint Calidris minuta winter  1989-1992  10,321-15,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  1989-1992  22,003-60,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea winter  1989-1992  8,086-15,300 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus winter  1989-1992  2,283-5,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii resident  1993  75-100 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii winter  1989-1992  8,989-28,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus winter  1991  14,700 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus winter  1989-1992  653-1,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei winter  1989-1992  23,609-50,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  1989-1992  461-1,400 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis winter  1990-1992  1,013-3,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii winter  1989-1992  1,682-4,100 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  1989-1992  16,689-45,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  1993  10 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B2  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo winter  1991  8-3,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Saunders's Tern Sternula saundersi breeding  1993  20 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus breeding  1993  1,500-2,500 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1989-1992  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
rangeland/pastureland minor

Other biodiversity Mammals: Gazella gazella (V) and probably G. subgutturosa (rare). Reptiles: the area is an important feeding ground for at least four species of sea-turtle: Caretta caretta (V), Chelonia mydas (E), Eretmochelys imbricata (E), Lepidochelys olivacea (E) and probably Dermochelys coriacea (E). Offshore there is a vast monospecific reef of cabbage coral Montipora foliosa, possibly unique in the world.

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Simon Albrecht; summary bird data supplied by Oman Bird Records Committee (per Jens Eriksen).

References Green et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barr al Hikman. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014

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