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Location United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
Central coordinates 52o 0.00' East  24o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2, B3
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 36m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description Three islands up to 36 m high in the south-east Arabian Gulf, 35 km north of Abu Dhabi mainland and 70 km west of Sir Bani Yas island. North Yasat is uninhabited. The islands are fringed by coral reefs.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. This is a very important seabird breeding site, judging by the only two surveys in May 1990 and March-April 1993. Other breeding species include Egretta gularis (7 pairs), Pandion haliaetus (17-20 pairs), Charadrius alexandrinus, Sterna anaethetus ('large colonies' were found forming on all three islands in May 1990, and a group of 250 birds was on North Yasat in April 1993), Eremopterix nigriceps and Alaemon alaudipes.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: dolphins Tursiops truncatus and Sousa chinensis (K) occur, and sea-turtles Chelonia mydas (E) probably nest.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis breeding  1992  2,000 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis non-breeding  1992  10,000 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Saunders's Tern Sternula saundersi breeding  1992  10-20 breeding pairs  unknown  B3  Least Concern 
White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa breeding  1990  common  B3  Least Concern 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Colin Richardson (per Adrian Chapman).

References Aspinall (in press), Chapman (1990), Hellyer (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Yasat islands. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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