|Location||United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi|
|Central coordinates||52o 43.00' East 24o 23.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, B1i, B2, B3|
|Altitude||0 - 5m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See box for key species. These islands are an important seabird breeding site, although only once surveyed in any detail (July 1991). Pandion haliaetus also breeds (min. 2 pairs).
Site description These three islands in the south-eastern Arabian Gulf are north and east of the large inshore island of Sir Bani Yas. Umm al Kirkum is low and rocky, c.2 km long in a U-shape. The mouth of the U is partly closed off by a sandbar, forming a lagoon where a few mangrove Avicennia trees grow; the remainder of the island is covered in sparse salt-tolerant shrubs and grass. Ghasha is low, flat and sandy, with slab sandstone rocks on its eastern and northern aspect. Most of this island is fairly thickly covered in salt-tolerant bushes, with some sparse grass; the centre of the island is more thinly vegetated. Umm Qaser is 2 km east of Umm al Kirkum and is more or less circular, surrounded by a 3-4 m high rocky cliff and a few narrow, steep sand beaches. All the islands are ringed by coral reefs.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis||breeding||1992||200 breeding pairs||poor||A1, B2||Vulnerable|
|Saunders's Tern Sterna saundersi||breeding||1992||24 breeding pairs||good||B3||Least Concern|
|White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa||breeding||1992||2,250 breeding pairs||good||A4i, B1i, B3||Least Concern|
|Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus||breeding||1992||2,800 breeding pairs||medium||B1i||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations For the most part the conservation situation has not been investigated, and almost nothing is known regarding specific threats or problems. However, Phalacrocorax nigrogularis have been shot on Ghasha in the past, perhaps in an attempt at eradication. In addition a breeding colony of feral Columba livia (c.500 pairs) on Ghasha may be displacing breeding Sterna anaethetus. The islands are apparently little used at present by man: there is some seasonal use by fishermen and other occasional visitors.
References Chapman (1991).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Islands off Sir Bani Yas island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
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