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Location Afghanistan, Baghlan
Central coordinates 68o 59.33' East  35o 25.67' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 3,658m
Year of IBA assessment 1994





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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 Griffon Gyps himalayensis resident  1970-1979  present  A3  Near Threatened 
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  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  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  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 
Rhodopechys sanguineus resident  1970  3 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Not Recognised 
Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys resident  1970-1979  present  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 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   10%
Grassland   major
Shrubland   major
Rocky areas   20%
Forest   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily cultivation
hunting minor
Notes: Hunting
tourism/recreation minor
Notes: Tourism
rangeland/pastureland major

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

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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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Salang Kotal. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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