A shallow, well-sheltered bay, part of the larger Kuwait Bay system, with extensive intertidal mudflats (c.2,250 ha). Reportedly the most biologically productive marine waters in Kuwait, and an economically valuable shrimp nursery. There are various viewpoints accessible via car parks and dirt roads off Road 85. Traditional fishing by fixed traps ('hadra') and recreational fishing occur; the hadra (on the intertidal flats) appear to be in poor repair, and may have been abandoned because of Iraqi mine-laying in the area. Sulaibikhat Nature Reserve falls within this area along the shores of Sulaibikhat Bay and is managed by Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS). It is situated just north of the Ministry of Health and access is by permit. One of the best places for access and a view of the mudflats is spur-like in-filled "causeway" that juts out to the mudflats near the Al Salibikhaet Stadium. This area also has freshwater run-off inflows with sparse Phragmites reeds. The is little doubt this area is one of the most interesting areas to enjoy wildlife in Kuwait - especially so because it is right next to the City.
The whole of Kuwait Bay is a wonderful place to watch thousands of waders, gulls and terns. Up to 500 Crab Plovers and 3,000 Greater Flamingos overwinter alongside Broad-billed & Terek Sandpipers, Lesser & Greater Sand Plovers and Steppe, Caspian, Armenian & Great Black-headed Gulls, whilst small numbers of Crested, Lesser Crested & White-cheeked Terns are often present during spring and summer. Sulaibikhat Nature Reserve (gated, with permit access required), just north of the Ministry of Health, has a viewing platform that overlooks the bay. It also has a small, reed-fringed pool (often dry) and scrub that attracts migrants (most notably a Long-tailed Shrike for two consecutive winters from 2006). Afghan Babbler has also been recorded here, although not as frequently as at Abdaly. Flamingos – which included Kuwait’s first (2007) and second (2010) Lesser Flamingo – are best viewed from the Maternity Hospital, Sulaibikhat. The site is fairly well watched by local standards, and at least 70 bird species have been recorded.
Invertebrate life on the mudflats is rich and distinctive; the crab Cleistostoma kuwaitense is considered an endemic species. Fantastic view of three species of mudskippers can be enjoyed at many locations.
This IBA was last assessed in 1993, so there is a need to formally conduct vigorous surveys to re-assess and update the status. Land-claim destroyed 500 ha of mudflat in the early 1980s, and a resumption of this policy would be disastrous for the site. Unfortunately, much of the foreshore land has been infilled and may be destined for development. There is some local oil pollution from power stations on Doha peninsula and from Mina Shuwaikh port. About 3 km of shore in the south-west corner of bay, adjacent to this site, is a Nature Reserve. A proposal was made in 1987 to protect the entire area from shooting (potentially a local problem), whilst allowing traditional and recreational fishing to continue. Conservation legislation is urgently needed in order to protect upland shoreline fringe areas and manage this area for its biodiversity, educational and recreational values. This area is definately a conservation priority for Kuwait.