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Location Afghanistan, Takhar
Central coordinates 69o 30.00' East  37o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 20,000 ha
Altitude 400 - 450m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description Lowland flood-plains of the Amu Darya (Oxus) river, interspersed with tributaries and islands, c.80 km north of Taloqan, at 400-450 m. Extensive swamp woodland formerly dominated this region: vast tracts of reeds Phragmites interspersed with thickets of Tamarix and Salix trees and quite large stands of Elaeagnus woodland. However in recent years no doubt much has been destroyed and turned into cultivation as it has been on the north side of the river in Tajikistan and elsewhere on the river.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The site is virtually unstudied ornithologically but, together with Imam Sahib (site 002) further west along the river, it was known in the 1970s to contain the last remnants of Phasianus colchicus bianchii in Afghanistan. Other (probable) breeding species include Vanellus leucurus, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Acrocephalus concinens (possible),A. melanopogon, Panurus biarmicus and Riparia paludicola. Large numbers of unspecified wildfowl utilize the area on migration.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: in the 1970s the area was extremely important for the last remnants of two endangered subspecies: Cervus elaphus bactrianus and Panthera tigris virgatus (E; last record was of tracks found in 1967). However, the continued presence of the latter is now highly unlikely, and it is considered extinct.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding  1966-1975  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Yellow-eyed Pigeon Columba eversmanni breeding  1966  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1975  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Forest   minor
Wetlands (inland)   major
Shrubland   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Cultivation and rangeland
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: Urban/industrial/utility
rangeland/pastureland minor
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Cultivation and rangeland
hunting major
forestry minor

Acknowledgements A total of 16 IBAs have been identified in Afghanistan. Responsibility for maintenance and update of the IBA information in WBDB is held by BirdLife Secretariat. The baseline survey of IBAs took place during 1991-1993 and was published in Evans (1994). The site accounts and introduction were compiled from information supplied by S. C. Madge, who acknowledges the impressive series of detailed reports compiled principally by Dr R. G. Petocz and Dr J. A. Sayer, team leaders of the National Parks and Wildlife Management Project, which was initiated at the request of the Government of Afghanistan and administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization under the United Nations Development Programme, and which ran from 1972 to 1980, although most ornithological data were collected in the latter years. Waterfowl counts are based mostly on data collected for the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, chiefly by F. J. Koning, during brief winter and early spring visits in 1970–1972. A. Jamil carried out a survey of Ab-i-Istada for this project, with invaluable assistance from A. Fitzherbert and J. Harris (International Crane Foundation). E. Smith supplied valuable information for the site accounts, and Dr K. Habibi reviewed the first draft of the inventory.

References Sayer and van der Zon (1981).

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

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