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Location Afghanistan, Herat
Central coordinates 62o 38.00' East  34o 21.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 35,000 ha
Altitude 1,050 - 1,830m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description A 112-km stretch of valley running from Obeh (1,830 m) west to Herat city (1,050 m) in north-west Afghanistan. The valley widens considerably towards Herat and even as far east as Obeh it is c.15 km wide, and comprises barren, desert hills and plains with sparse vegetation and cultivation. Along watercourses stands of Tamarix prevail and there are Populus groves and some apricot orchards.

Key Biodiversity Other interesting breeding species include Accipiter badius (Herat), Picus squamatus flavirostris (Herat and Obeh), Alauda gulgula, Motacilla citreola and Saxicola caprata. Phasianus colchicus principalis formerly occurred in the valley, mainly to the west of Herat, but is probably extinct in Afghanistan through hunting and habitat destruction. The following are also likely to breed, given their presence 100 km further down the valley by the river and on the plains around Kohsan: Ixobrychus minutus, Buteo rufinus, Porzana porzana, Cursorius cursor, Sterna albifrons, Melanocorypha bimaculata, Calandrella acutirostris, Acrocephalus stentoreus, Hippolais rama and Rhodopechys githaginea.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  1972  16 breeding pairs  poor  A1  Least Concern 
Yellow-eyed Pigeon Columba eversmanni breeding  1949  20 breeding pairs  poor  A1  Vulnerable 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   5%
Desert   95%
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland
hunting major
Notes: Hunting
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: Urban/industrial/utility
water management major
Notes: Water supply
rangeland/pastureland major
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland

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 Paludan (1959).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Hari Rud valley. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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