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Location United Arab Emirates, Sharjah
Central coordinates 56o 20.00' East  25o 0.00' North
IBA criteria B2
Area 600 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description A tidal inlet stretching inland then parallel to the coast for 5 km southward, with three main channels lined with the oldest and most extensive Avicennia marina mangrove woodland in the UAE, and with extensive mudflats. The southern end of the inlet extends across the border into Oman at Khatmat Malahah. Gravel plains with Acacia tortilis savannah (part of the extensive Batinah coastal plain) stretch 5 km inland of the khor, rising towards the Hajar mountains. The primary human activity is recreation/leisure; some fishing and grazing of livestock occur to a lesser extent. Crabs are harvested in large numbers in the mangrove.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. Other breeding species include Himantopus himantopus (up to 10 pairs, 1988-1989), Merops superciliosus (summer visitor, probably less than 100 pairs), and Hippolais rama (c.10 pairs; the only proven breeding site on the Arabian peninsula). Winter visitors include Ardeola grayii (max. 10; the only regular site in the UAE), and Merops superciliosus is also common on autumn passage (max. 500 at roost, September).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: the dolphins Tursiops truncatus and Sousa chinensis (K) feed in the khor. Reptiles: sea-turtles feed in the creek, including Chelonia mydas (E) and Eretmochelys imbricata (E), and possibly Caretta caretta (V).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris breeding  1992  15-20 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea   minor
Forest   major
Coastline   major
Savanna   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
rangeland/pastureland minor
forestry minor
fisheries/aquaculture minor
other major
Notes: crab harvesting

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Colin Richardson.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khor Kalba. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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