|Central coordinates||45o 55.00' East 32o 42.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information Prior to 1945, the haur was known as a traditional wintering area for geese, ducks, shorebirds and other waterfowl, with huge numbers of Anser anser, A. albifrons, Branta ruficollis, Tadorna ferruginea, Anas platyrhynchos, A. strepera, A. crecca, A. penelope, A. acuta, A. clypeata, Phoenicopterus ruber and Recurvirostra avosetta (Georg and Savage 1970a,b, V. Robertson in litt.). According to Savage (1968), the area probably held one of the highest concentrations of geese in the Middle East, and was also very important for Anas querquedula on passage. Surveys in January 1968, December 1972 and January 1979 revealed that the lake was still important for flamingos and shorebirds, while the surrounding flooded steppe, arable land and Salicornia flats remained a very important feeding habitat for geese (e.g. min. 600 Anser anser) and Tadorna ferruginea. A total of 11,900 ducks and geese were counted in January 1968. The haur was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980). Older observations on breeding species, many dating back to c.1914-1918, indicate that current breeding species may still include Pelecanus onocrotalus (thousands with 'quite small young' in August), Ardea purpurea (possibly breeding), Plegadis falcinellus (possibly breeding), Anser anser (small numbers in July), Glareola pratincola (breeding confirmed), Larus ichthyaetus (possibly breeding: recorded in August), Chlidonias leucopterus (breeding confirmed) and C. hybridus (breeding confirmed). No information more recent than 1979 is available; the lake is difficult to approach, and surveys have gained only limited access, so actual numbers of birds present were undoubtedly much higher than observed.
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons||winter||1973-1979||169-325 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus||winter||1968-1973||70 individuals||poor||A1, B2||Vulnerable|
|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 Anas 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 [units unknown]||-||B2||Least Concern|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1973||377 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius||passage||1914-1918||abundant [units unknown]||-||A1, A4i, B1i, B2||Critically Endangered|
|Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus||winter||1973||724 individuals||poor||B1i||Least Concern|
|Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis||winter||1973||160-645 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1968-1979||8,800-20,250 individuals||poor||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||minor|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity No information available to BirdLife International.
Management considerations No conservation measures are known to have been taken. The current status of the site is not clear, in view of the expansion of irrigated cultivation in central Iraq. Duck-netting may constitute a threat if ongoing at an unsustainable level. No conservation measures are known to have been proposed.
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).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Haur Al Suwayqiyah. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2013
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