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Location Iraq, Salah ad-Din
Central coordinates 43o 50.00' East  34o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B1iv, B2, B3
Area 20,000 ha
Altitude 100 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Site description This lake is c.8 km across and straddles the Tigris, running from the Samara Dam c.25 km north to Al Dor. Soils are mostly alluvial, and in some parts hills reach the river forming cliffs. Elsewhere the river banks are gravel. The lake and marsh above Samara dam extend for more than 5 km, and have large beds of Phragmites and Typha with a rich growth of submerged vegetation, particularly where the water depth is c.1.5 m. Riverine forest dominated by Populus euphratica occurs in patches along the banks and more especially on small islands. Much of the area is cultivated, mainly with date-palm gardens, wheat fields, orchards and some vegetables, and there is grazing by sheep and cattle. Parts of the river bank are used for gravel extraction, some such sites being now filled with water and surrounded by a thick growth of Populus and Tamarix.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis resident  1992  frequent [units unknown]  B3  Least Concern 
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus resident  1992  common [units unknown]  B2  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  1992  10,000 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1992  25 individuals  poor  B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris winter  1992  1 individuals  poor  B2  Least Concern 
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath non-breeding  1992  1 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Shikra Accipiter badius breeding  1992  1 breeding pairs  poor  B2  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  1992  2 individuals  poor  B2  Critically Endangered 
Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus breeding  1992  50 breeding pairs  poor  B3  Least Concern 
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus breeding  1992  30 breeding pairs  poor  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1973-1992  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1992  3,000 individuals  poor  B1iv   


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management major
urban/industrial/transport minor
agriculture major
hunting major

Other biodiversity Fish: the river and lake hold endemic cyprinid species. Flora: the general area is very important for harbouring wild relatives of important cereal crop species.

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh.

References Al-Dabbagh (in prep.), Koning and Dijksen (1973).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Samara dam. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014

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