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Location Oman, Ash Sharqiyah
Central coordinates 58o 47.00' East  20o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3
Area 109,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 280m
Year of IBA assessment 1994





Site description Masirah is a large island c.20 km off the east coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. The land is gently undulating with a central spine of hills (up to c.280 m) and peripheral coastal plains. The site includes the small islands of Jazirat Shaqaf (J. A'Shaghah), Jazirat ash Shi'inzi (J. Thu Khayr) and Jazirat Kalban (Qa'ad Kalban), as well as all other associated islets. The central and northern parts of the west coast have the most extensive mudflats. The east coast is mostly exposed ocean beach. Trees are few, and the plant cover is almost entirely composed of dwarf shrubs such as Limonium, Suaeda and Arthrocnemum. About 5,000 people live on the island, mostly in the north. Fishing is the mainstay of the local economy.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri non-breeding  1970-1992  105-1,000 individuals  medium  B1ii, B2  Not Recognised 
Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax non-breeding  1970-1992  11 individuals  medium  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Near Threatened 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia passage  1970-1992  50 individuals  medium  B2  Least Concern 
Egretta gularis winter  1989-1992  316-424 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus resident  1970-1992  9-22 individuals  medium  B2  Endangered 
Haematopus ostralegus winter  1989-1992  1,204-3,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Crab-plover Dromas ardeola resident  1992  85 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Crab-plover Dromas ardeola winter  1989-1992  546-2,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1989-1992  169-327 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  1970-1992  1,600 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  1989-1992  338-505 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus winter  1989-1992  3,408-6,443 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii passage  1970-1992  5,250 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  1970-1992  2,000 individuals  medium  B1i  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  1989-1992  1,935-2,442 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus passage  1970-1992  2,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus winter  1989-1992  200-278 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  1989-1992  487-620 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  1989-1992  498-629 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii resident  1992  5,200 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus winter  1989-1992  2,454-3,708 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei winter  1989-1992  825-1,730 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia passage  1970-1992  100 individuals  medium  B1i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  1989-1992  84-170 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii breeding  1992  300 breeding pairs  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii winter  1989-1992  830-1,720 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis passage  1970-1992  4,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  1992  160 breeding pairs  medium  A4i, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Saunders's Tern Sternula saundersi passage  1970-1992  600 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Saunders's Tern Sternula saundersi resident  1992  200 breeding pairs  medium  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa breeding  1992  1,200 breeding pairs  medium  B3  Least Concern 
White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa passage  1970-1992  70,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus breeding  1992  15,500 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1992  20,000-49,999 breeding pairs  medium  A4iii   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1970-1992  50,000-99,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Habitats

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

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Mammals: Gazella gazella (V), Lepus capensis jefferyi (endemic to Masirah). Reptiles: the island is a sea-turtle breeding ground of global importance; four species breed: Caretta caretta (V), Chelonia mydas (E), Eretmochelys imbricata (E) and Lepidochelys olivacea (E). Two restricted-range lizards endemic to Oman are present.

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

References Curry et al. (1980), Pomeroy (1980), Rogers (1988).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Masirah island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/08/2014

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