Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Saudi Arabia, Ash Sharqiyah
50o 0.00' East 25o 31.80' North
A4iii, B1i, B2
Year of IBA assessment
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.