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Location Saudi Arabia, Ar Riyad
Central coordinates 46o 49.50' East  24o 23.20' North
IBA criteria A1, B1i, B2
Area 2,500 ha
Altitude 480 - 600m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Saudi Wildlife Commission (Affiliate)

Site description An artificial, permanently flowing river of treated effluent run-off, running for 50 km along Wadi Hanifah, 25 km south of Riyadh. The river flows mostly between rocky cliffs, incorporating many pools fringed with reeds and Tamarix. In several places wide lagoons are formed between sand-dunes, and there are some adjacent small and medium-sized pivot-irrigation farms.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. Other breeding species include Ixobrychus minutus, Ardeola ralloides, Ardea purpurea and Acrocephalus scirpaceus. Other wintering species include Ciconia nigra, Aquila clanga (20) and Circus aeruginosus (17). Over 220 species have been recorded.

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
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca resident  1993  frequent  A1, B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1990-1991  36-69 individuals  medium  A1, B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea winter  1990-1991  278-366 individuals  medium  B1i  Least Concern 
Egretta garzetta winter  1990-1991  319-340 individuals  medium  B1i  Not Recognised 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  1990-1991  18-24 individuals  medium  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1993  uncommon  B2  Vulnerable 
Himantopus himantopus winter  1990-1991  185-276 individuals  medium  B1i  Not Recognised 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Some of site covered (10-49%)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Al Hair Wetland Protected Area 500 protected area contained by site 500  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 20%
agriculture major
water management major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by P. Symens.

References Stagg (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Al-Ha'ir. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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