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Location Oman, Dhofar
Central coordinates 55o 58.00' East  17o 30.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3
Area 10,200 ha
Altitude 0 - 500m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description A group of four main islands of mostly very rugged topography off the Dhofar coast, up to 500 m high, although there are some flat areas. There is a massive limestone cliff on the north-east point of Al Hallaniyah island. Most of the land is bare or supports only a very sparse, low shrub layer; the islands of Jazirat al Qibliyah and Jazirat al Hasikiyah are lightly covered in bird guano. The islands are in the centre of a zone of strong upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water during the south-west monsoon of May–September (especially June–August), when seas are very rough and very strong winds, driving spray and mist prevail. The only habitation is a village at the western end of Al Hallaniyah (c.150 people), with an airstrip. Local people have boats and visit all the islands, weather permitting.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A very important breeding site for seabirds, and the surrounding seas also provide very important feeding grounds for pelagic species visiting from the southern oceans. Other breeding species include Pandion haliaetus (8+ pairs), and Bulweria fallax may breed (see below). Non-breeding seabirds attracted to the upwelling include Puffinus carneipes (common), P. pacificus (infrequent), Oceanites oceanicus (abundant) and Sula leucogaster (rare). The site is not visited very often due to its isolation, remoteness and the difficulty of access during the hazardous south-west monsoon, and knowledge is thus incomplete.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: large numbers of cetaceans occur offshore, including a probable breeding population of Megaptera novaeangliae (V). Reptiles: a few sea-turtles Chelonia mydas (E) nest on the beaches. Flora: three plant species with very restricted ranges (apparently endemic to Oman) occur, as does a rare lichen Simonyiella.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  1993  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Not Recognised 
Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax non-breeding  1993  200 individuals  poor  A1, A4ii, B1ii, B2  Near Threatened 
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus breeding  1993  300 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii  Least Concern 
Sula dactylatra breeding  1993  8,250-13,250 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii  Not Recognised 
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis breeding  1993  3,000-5,000 breeding pairs  poor  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii resident  1993  5,000-10,000 breeding pairs  poor  A4i, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii breeding  1993  3,100 breeding pairs  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus breeding  1993  2,000 breeding pairs  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Arabian Wheatear Oenanthe lugentoides resident  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1993  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor
other minor
Notes: Islanders and visiting fishermen take eggs and adults of Sula dactylatra and Sterna bergii and eggs of Phalacrocorax nigrogularis and Larus hemprichii for food.

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

References Bailey (1966), Gallagher (1985).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Halaaniyaat Islands. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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