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Location United Arab Emirates, Dubay
Central coordinates 55o 20.00' East  25o 12.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i
Area 350 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The head of a 10-km-long tidal creek which penetrates 7 km inland from the Gulf through Dubai city, containing tidal mudflats (maximum low-water extent c.150 ha) and a lagoon with maximum depth of 2 m and tidal range of 1.0-1.5 m. Flat sabkhah surrounds the intertidal area; there is some salt-tolerant scrub above the high-tide line, and some Tamarix in disturbed areas. The intertidal zone supports an abundant invertebrate fauna, but in late 1993 most of the 50-cm-deep top layer of mud was scoured off and a network of channels created, after which most of the area was densely planted with mangrove saplings. There is nutrient enrichment from irrigation run-off and treated sewage effluent. Seawards of the mudflats the creek has been dredged for shipping, and much is bounded by commercial development. The land is under the authority of the Coastguard, but is owned by the Government of Dubai/His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The most important mudflat area in the UAE, supporting a more varied assemblage of waterbird species at much higher densities than any other sites in the coastal zone, especially in winter and during passage periods. Especially important for Limicola falcinellus; no other significant concentrations have been found elsewhere in the country. The site is well-known for its population of Phoenicopterus ruber, which is present all year but is largest in winter (January av. max. 1,400, 1989–1992; peak 2,300 in February 1990); another notable winter visitor is Pluvialis fulva (max. 40). Large numbers of Larus ridibundus roost in winter (see box).

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
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1990-1992  1,334-3,994 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  1992  727 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  1990-1992  433-1,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus winter  1990-1992  1,510-3,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  1990-1992  459-1,010 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  1990-1992  700-1,100 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  1990-1992  141-350 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  1990-1992  2,027-4,701 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus passage  1992  4,050 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus winter  1991-1992  527-600 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus winter  1990-1992  11,690-50,380 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1990-1992  50,000-99,999 individuals  good  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ras Al Khawr Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Sanctuary 620 protected area contains site 0  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Colin Richardson.

References DSP (1987), Smart et al. (1983), Uttley et al. (1988).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khor Dubai. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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