|Central coordinates||43o 40.00' East 32o 41.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2|
|Altitude||28 - 56m|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Summary 2014 updates. In Evans (1994), this area is listed under the name “Bahr Al Milh” (IBA 021) but it is more commonly referred to as Razzaza Lake
Site description Bahr Al Milh is a very large, deep and brackish lake in a closed, sand/silt basin 95 km south-west of Baghdad, surrounded by desert and with a low cliff shore in many places. It was created in the late 1970s as a second storage reservoir (below Haur Al Habbaniya, site 016) to control floods on the River Euphrates. The salinity of the lake has been increasing since its creation and now stands at about 2.0-2.2%. There are many islands and peninsulas. Lake Usathe (also called Shithathah lake, 32°37'N 43°55'E, c.100 ha) lies a few kilometres from the south-east corner of Bahr Al Milh. It is a small, shallow, freshwater lake with some emergent vegetation. The surrounding area has some sandy cliffs and is sparsely vegetated. 2014 updates. Razzaza Lake is connected to Habbaniya Lake by a narrow canal running through semi-desert, called Sin-Al-Thibban Canal. Razzaza used to be a large, deep lake,but it is now characterized by very high salinity levels, which have increased during the past ten years due to the shortage in water it receives and increased evaporation during Iraq’s very dry, hot summers. Locals report that water levels have declined and the lake is likely now to be only 5–10 m deep. The extensive shrinkage of the lakeduring the 2000sis graphically seen in a series of satellite images taken in summer. These are not seasonal changes but are based on management issues that need to be resolved regarding water allocation to Razazza via the Sin-Al-Thibban Canal from Habbaniya Lake. The geology of the area is marls, siltstones, gypsum/anhydrite, and limestone bands, mainly silts and the main habitats beside the lake are beds of Phragmites australis, Juncus acutus, Aeluropus lagapoides, Salicornia herbacea, and Schoenoplectuslittoralisand desert shrublands such asTamarix aucherana, T. macrocarpa, Prosopis farcta, Zygophyllum fabago, Nitraria retusa, and Haloxylon salicornicum.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Gadwall Mareca strepera||winter||1979||3,000 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata||winter||1975-1979||2,526-5,372 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||breeding||1997||50-249 individuals||poor||A1, A4i, B1i, B2||Vulnerable|
|Smew Mergellus albellus||winter||1979||1,000 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus||winter||1975||7-600 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis||winter||1975||40-1,100 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||1975-1979||2,365-3,500 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus||winter||1979||601 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo||winter||1975||1,500-3,001 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Coot Fulica atra||winter||1975-1979||96,250-102,522 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Himantopus himantopus||breeding||1979||100 breeding pairs||poor||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Himantopus himantopus||passage||1979||500 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Not Recognised|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1979||300 individuals||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus||resident||1979||300 breeding pairs||poor||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1975-1979||100,000-499,999 individuals||poor||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - aquatic||100%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity No information available to BirdLife International.
Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Pavel Ctyroky, reviewed by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh and Dr Hanna Y. Siman.
References Carp (1975a,b), Ctyroký (1987), Scott and Carp (1982). Evans, M. I. (1994). Important Bird Areas in the Middle East. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Birdlife Conservation Series No. 2 . Salim, M. A. (2008). Natural Overview of Ar-Razzaza Lake. Unpublished internal technical report. Nature Iraq.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Razzaza Lake (Bahr Al Milh) . Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/10/2014
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