Habitats in the UAE
Nature Tour of the UAE
Wildlife in the UAE
Captive breeding of rare breeds
Watching whales and dolphins in the UAE
Scorpions and snakes
Ornithological importance of UAE
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The Arabian Gulf coast and the East Coast area bordering the Gulf of Oman are home to important coral reef and mangrove communities, internationally significant island seabird colonies, large numbers of migratory waterbirds,
and provide a nesting and feeding ground for turtles, dugongs, whales and dolphins.
The western Arabian Gulf coast, edged by salt-marsh and mud-flats and washed by a blue-green shallow sea, has some magnificent stands of mature mangroves, valuable havens for birds and spawning and nursery grounds for a large variety of fish. One of the finest area of mangrove is in the Eastern Lagoon of Abu Dhabi, other important stands are on the islands of Ras Ghanadah, Abu al-Abyadh and Marawah. Further north, there is a particularly good area of mangrove in Ras al-Khaimah, north of the village of Rams, inland of the long island of Hulaylah. Another truly remarkable mangrove stand is at Khor Kalba on the east-facing coast, home to two rare bird species, the booted warbler and a unique race of white-collared kingfisher. Other bird species commonly found in mangroves are little bittern, grey heron and moorhen.
Numerous offshore islands, many of them private, ranging from the massive Abu al-Abyadh to tiny islets are a haven for seabirds. Huge numbers of migrant waders feed on extensive mudflats at Abu al-Abyadh, which also supports the largest breeding colony of crab plovers in the Arabian Gulf. Afforestation on the island of Sir Bani Yas, combined with several artificial lakes supports a large population of ducks, geese, swans and other birds whilst flocks of flamingos stalk the sandbanks.
Abu Dhabis islands also support internationally important populations of five species of tern, Saunders little, white-cheeked, swift, lesser crested and bridled. Other internationally important breeding seabirds include the sooty gull and the beautiful red-billed tropicbird. Magnificent ospreys breed on many of the islands, however one of the most spectacular sights is the massive flocks of Socotra cormorants which wheel through the sky hunting for fish. This is a globally endangered species which breeds on a handful of islands in the Arabian Gulf (notably Sinaiya in Umm al-Qaiwain) and off Oman.
Around the island of Marawah, Butinah and Bazam Al Gharbi, extensive seagrass beds amongst the coral reefs support a large population of green turtles, as well as dugongs or sea cows, a globally endangered species. The area known as 'Bu al Siaief', including Futaisi island, Dheisah, Qarqashan and the surrounding waters was declared a protected marine reserve in 2007, to be managed by EAD. The many khors or inlets along the coastline support sizeable populations of wintering and passage wading birds. Khor Dubai, which attracts significant numbers of waders, herons wildfowl and flamingo, is under the protection of the Environmental Protection Section of Dubai Municapility.
For further information on UAE coastal birds CLICK HERE
Statutory protection has been granted to three marine reserves in the Emirate of Fujairah: at Al Faqit, Dhadnah and Al Aqqa, in order to protect valuable coral reef communities. Here fishing and coral or shell collecting are prohibited. Dubai and Fujairah are also pioneering the creation of artificial reefs, which foster coral growth and help to promote ecotourism. Even if you never venture in to the water, most of the UAEs coast is lined with gently-sloping sandy beaches, offering hours of interesting and quite unique beach-combing. However, under no circumstances should you collect live shells as you may take something rare or endangered or pick up a species that is dangerous, like the venomous cone shells.
For our Natural Emirates Tour CLICK HERE