|Central coordinates||68o 59.33' East 35o 25.67' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i|
|Altitude||1,500 - 3,658m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information An easily accessible area with an excellent diversity of Himalayan breeding birds (at least 33 species), including all Afghan species characteristic of the Turkestan region (Dendrocopos leucopterus, Phylloscopus neglectus, P. griseolus, Parus flavipectus, P. bokharensis, Mycerobas carnipes, Carpodacus rhodochlamys grandis, C. rubicilla and Emberiza stewarti). Phylloscopus trochiloides nitidus is a summer visitor to the valley bottom. The area has a marked passage of Grus grus but no counts have been made. This account is based on information collected in July 1970.
Site description Ten kilometres of valley north from Salang Kotal, the highest pass (3,658 m) on the main road from Kabul to the north of Afghanistan, down to the town of Khinjan (1,500 m). These north-facing slopes are part of the watershed of the Amu Darya (Oxus) river of Turkestan, and are penetrated by a long road-tunnel at 3,200 m. The areas around the tunnel are alpine, boulder-strewn slopes with scant plant growth and grassy areas around patches of snow-melt. Barren crags surround the pass itself. The road drops north down the valley through Juniperus-covered slopes, with extensive patches of Salix by the fast-flowing Kunduz river; towards Khinjan the valley widens out onto the plains of the Amu Darya valley and there are a few, scattered villages with extensive mulberry Morus orchards. The alpine zone is quite heavily grazed by nomads, who cut Juniperus and Salix bushes for fuel.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis||resident||1970-1979||3 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||passage||1970-1972||6 individuals||poor||A1||Least Concern|
|Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis||resident||1970-1979||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus||passage||1990-1993||1-5 individuals||poor||A1, A4i||Critically Endangered|
|Common Crane Grus grus||passage||1970||250 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus||resident||1970||2 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Great Tit Parus major||resident||1970||2 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Hume's Lark Calandrella acutirostris||breeding||1970||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Plain Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus neglectus||breeding||1970||5 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus||breeding||1970||6 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Hume's Whitethroat Sylvia althaea||breeding||1970||6 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria||resident||1970||1 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis||breeding||1970||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus||breeding||1970||5 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka||breeding||1970||5 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia||breeding||1970||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis||resident||1970-1979||100 individuals||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris||resident||1970||2 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Rufous-streaked Accentor Prunella himalayana||resident||1970-1972||5 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens||resident||1970-1972||5 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus||resident||1970||6 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-headed Mountain-finch Leucosticte brandti||resident||1970||6 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguineus||resident||1970||3 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Not Recognised|
|Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys||resident||1970-1979||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla||resident||1970||2 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani||breeding||1970||6 breeding pairs||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||10%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily cultivation|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations No formal conservation measures are known to have been taken. It is not known whether there are any current problems, but if any, they are likely to be overgrazing and excessive cutting of bushes for fuel. However, extensive areas of shrubby mountainside remained in 1970 and population pressure did not seem great. The woodland on the slopes may have suffered from military activities during the war, due to the site's strategic importance.
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 Madge (1978).
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