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Location Iraq, Wasit
Central coordinates 45o 48.53' East  32o 42.55' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 54,938 ha
Altitude 7 - 18m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Site description A large isolated lake on arid steppic plains c.10 km north of the River Tigris and c.20 km north-east of Kut. This rather shallow and brackish lake formerly covered c.50,000 ha but was partly drained in 1945; it is supplied by numerous streams from the Zagros mountains and by rainfall run-off, as well as by flooding overspill from the Tigris (although this is now rare due to flood control barrages). In 1968 and 1972 there were no reedbeds and little other emergent vegetation, but earlier sources indicate this was not formerly the case. The surrounding steppe becomes thickly vegetated with annual grasses, herbs and Salicornia after good winter rains. There is arable land to the south-west. Duck-netting was widespread in 1972. 2014 updates. Shuweicha was defined as an Important Bird Area (IBA020) by Evans (1994), lies to the southeast of the former IBA Shubaicha.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  1968-1973  70 individuals  poor  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1973-1979  169-325 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis winter  1954-1955  1,000 individuals  poor  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Endangered 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea winter  1973-1979  643-1,280 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1968-1979  1,299-2,700 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding  1958  100 individuals  poor  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  1958  500 individuals  poor  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1968-1979  2,568-6,600 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath non-breeding  1985  2 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1968-1979  3 individuals  poor  B2  Vulnerable 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo passage  1917  frequent  B2  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1973  377 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1973  724 individuals  poor  B1i  Not Recognised 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius passage  1914-1918  abundant  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Critically Endangered 
Larus michahellis winter  1973  160-645 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1968-1979  8,800-20,250 individuals  poor  A4iii   


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
rangeland/pastureland major
hunting major

Other biodiversity No information available to BirdLife International.

Acknowledgements Information compiled by Dr D. A. Scott and D. J. Brooks, reviewed by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh and Dr Hanna Y. Siman.

References Ctyroký (1987), Georg and Savage (1970a,b), Georg and Vielliard (1970), Koning and Dijksen (1973), Moore and Boswell (1956-1957), Scott and Carp (1982). Evans, M. I. (1994). Important Bird Areas in the Middle East. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 2.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Shuweicha Marsh. Downloaded from on 22/09/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife