More than 330 species of birds were recorded in the Bahrain archipelago, 26 species of which breed in the country. Millions of migratory birds pass through the Gulf region in the winter and autumn months. One globally endangered species, Chlamydotis undulata, is a regular migrant in the autumn. The many islands and shallow seas of Bahrain are globally important for the breeding of the Phalacrocorax nigrogularis specie of bird, up to 100,000 pairs of these birds were recorded over the Hawar islands.
Only 18 species of mammals are found in Bahrain, animals such as Gazelles, desert rabbits and hedgehogs are common in the wild but the Arabian Oryx was hunted to extinction on the island. 25 species of amphibians and reptiles were recorded as well as 21 species of butterflies and 307 species of flora. The marine biotopes are diverse and include extensive sea grass beds and mudflats, patchy coral reefs as well as offshore islands. Sea grass beds are important foraging grounds for some threatened species such as dugongs and the green turtle. In 2003, Bahrain banned the capture of sea cows, marine turtles and dolphins within its territorial waters.
The Hawar Islands Protected Area provides valuable feeding and breeding grounds for a variety of migratory seabirds, it is an internationally recognised site for bird migration. The breeding colony of Socotra Cormorant on Hawar Islands is the largest in the world, and the dugongs foraging around the archipelago form the second largest dugong aggregation after Australia.
Bahrain has five designated protected areas, four of which are marine environments. They are:
- Hawar Islands
- Mashtan Island, off the coast of Bahrain.
- Arad bay, in Muharraq.
- Tubli Bay
- Al Areen Wildlife Park, which is a zoo and a breeding centre for endangered animals, is the only protected area on land and also the only protected area which is managed on a day-to-day basis.