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Location Georgia, Kakheti
Central coordinates 46o 0.00' East  41o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A1, B2, B3
Area 239,374 ha
Altitude 100 - 900m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Site description A characteristically hilly region, with low ridges whose slopes are naturally eroded, and many gorges that accumulate to form valleys or taper off into plains. This site belongs to an area with the driest climate in Georgia; there are steppes and savanna-like landscapes, arid woodlands and semi-deserts, with an abundance of relict and endemic plant species. Vegetation at the site is diverse: relict Bothriochloa and typical Stipa steppes predominate, frequently represented by Paliurus vegetation; there are scattered savanna-like woodlands of Celtis and xerophytic species of wild Pyrus; arid woodlands composed of relict and rare species of Juniperus clothe the slopes of ridges, while semi-deserts are represented by Artemisia, Salsola, etc.; riparian forests along the Iori and Alazani rivers include some of the tugai-type, dominated by Salix and Populus.

Key Biodiversity This is an outstanding site for raptors, with at least 25 diurnal raptors and six owls recorded: Neophron percnopterus (12 pairs in 1998), Gyps fulvus (39 pairs in 1998), Accipiter brevipes (occurs on passage), Aquila nipalensis (passage and winter visitor), Falco biarmicus (two breeding pairs in 1988), F. cherrug (occurs in winter, but breeding recently confirmed for one pair and suspected for a second). Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (three resident pairs; marked decline), Circus macrourus (common in winter), Falco naumanni (uncommon breeder; strong decline), Tetrax tetrax (passage visitor) and Otis tarda (formerly a breeder in small numbers, now only a rare passage migrant and winter visitor). This is the only site in Georgia supporting Francolinus francolinus (common) and also has the country's largest population of Alectoris chukar. Counts of staging Anthropoides virgo in 1986 totalled 2,500-3,500 birds and Grus grus also passes through on migration. Among other breeding species are Delichon urbica (large cliff colonies), Cercotrichas galactotes (rare and irregular), Sitta tephronota, S. neumayer and Sturnus roseus (abundant), while Tichodroma muraria visits the area in winter.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra breeding  1998  8-10 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  1999  2 breeding pairs  good  B2  Endangered 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca resident  1998  6 breeding pairs  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina breeding  1998  12 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus unknown  1998  5 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  1998  18 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Circaetus gallicus breeding  1998  8 breeding pairs  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Buteo rufinus resident  1998  20 breeding pairs  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Corncrake Crex crex passage  1998  90 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Middle Spotted Woodpecker Leiopicus medius resident  1998  40 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor breeding  1998  15 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve Managed Nature Reserve 5,200 protected area contained by site 5,200  
Gardabani Managed Nature Reserve Managed Nature Reserve 3,315 protected area contained by site 3,315  
Iori Managed Nature Reserve Managed Nature Reserve 1,336 protected area contained by site 1,336  
Korugi Managed Nature Reserve Managed Nature Reserve 2,600 protected area contained by site 2,600  
Vashlovani Nature Reserve Zapovednik 8,034 protected area contained by site 8,034  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland; Wooded desert and semidesert  -
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  -
Desert Semidesert  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Standing brackish and salt water; Water fringe vegetation  -
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Perennial crops, orchards and groves  -
Introduced vegetation   -
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic) Caves  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
hunting -
military -
nature conservation and research -
water management -

Protection status National Partial International None12,451 ha of the IBA covered by managed nature reserves (Zakazniks): Chachuna (5,200 ha), Gardabani (3,315 ha), Iori (1,336 ha) and Korugi (2,600 ha). 8,034 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Zapovednik) (Vashlovani, 8,034 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Iori Region. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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