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Location Iraq, Arbil,As-Sulaymaniyah,Dahuk
Central coordinates 44o 55.00' East  36o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B2, B3
Area 40,000 ha
Altitude 300 - 600m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)



Site description Dukan and Darbandikhan are two dammed lakes, each c.30 km long, lying in the foothills of Kurdistan in north-east Iraq. Dukan (36°10'N 44°55'E, c.25,000 ha) is in the Lesser Zab river valley, and Darbandikhan (35°10'N 45°45'E, c.7,500 ha) is in the Diyala river valley. Contrary to most maps, construction of the Bakhma dam (36°45'N 44°15'E) in the Great Zab river valley has not been completed, having presumably been abandoned in 1991, and there is as yet no lake there. The general aspect is of deep valleys eroded into limestone country, with steep and craggy slopes. There are patches of semi-natural parkland of small oak Quercus and juniper Juniperus trees on slopes, particularly extensive and undisturbed around Bakhma. There is limited cultivation of tobacco, rice, wheat and vines on the flood-plains in the valleys; the main land-use is as rangeland for goats and sheep. Dukan and Darbandikhan dams are presumably used to generate hydroelectric power.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus breeding  1985  present  B2  Near Threatened 
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus breeding  1985  present  B2  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus resident  1985  common  B2  Endangered 
Radde's Accentor Prunella ocularis winter  1985  present  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1985  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   major
Grassland   major
Wetlands (inland)   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
agriculture minor
water management 75%

Other biodiversity Flora: the general area is very important for harbouring wild relatives of important cereal crop species.

Acknowledgements Information from C. King.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bakhma, Dukan and Darbandikhan dams. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2014

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