email a friend
printable version
Location Saudi Arabia, Ash Sharqiyah
Central coordinates 50o 0.00' East  25o 31.80' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 7,500 ha
Altitude 120 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Saudi Wildlife Commission (Affiliate)

Site description A long, narrow, man-made river, the only large-scale freshwater habitat in the Eastern Province, running east-south-east from Hofuf and Abqaiq towards al-'Uqair. It is formed by run-off from al-Hasa oasis and sewage effluent from Hofuf, Abqaiq and numerous small towns, and frequently disappears under sand-dunes, to surface again a few kilometres further on. There are numerous pools of up to c.250 ha, often surrounded by large reedbeds. The rest of the area consists of sandy gravel plain and sand-dunes interspersed with sabkhahs and aeolian sand-fields.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. There is little information on the site at present. Other breeding species include Ixobrychus minutus (possible, in low numbers), Tadorna ferruginea (possible), Cursorius cursor, Acrocephalus melanopogon (only Saudi Arabian breeding site) and Locustella luscinioides (probable). Large numbers of wintering and migrating waterbirds have been observed during several aerial surveys: Ardea cinerea (50-60), Egretta garzetta (100), 10,000-15,000 ducks including Tadorna ferruginea (50), Grus grus (22), and small flocks of Philomachus pugnax and Limosa limosa.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus resident  1993  rare  B2  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  1983  10 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris winter  1993  present  B2  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus winter  1983  1,900 individuals  poor  B1i  Not Recognised 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1993  20,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed negligible

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

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


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   major
Artificial - aquatic   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting major
tourism/recreation major
water management major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by P. Symens.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Al-Hasa lagoons. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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