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Location Iraq, An-Najaf,Babil
Central coordinates 44o 44.16' East  32o 9.73' North
IBA criteria A4iii
Area 4,000 ha
Altitude 21 - 23m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Summary 2014 updates. This area was once a true marsh habitat which harbored a considerable diversity of birds including threatened and endemic species as well as quite large numbers of wintering waterfowl, waders and raptors. This site contains the last remnants of the historical Hor Ibn-Najm but this historic marsh has sadly been slowly eradicated as more and more of the area has been used for agriculture and human habitation.

Site description Shown on maps as a seasonal freshwater lake c.10 km east of the River Euphrates and c.130 km south of Baghdad. No further information is available. 2014 updates. Located in Babel Governorate, in the triangle between Babel, Qadissiya, and Najaf but the original body of water at Hor Ibn-Najm had shrunk to scattered marshes. After a period of intense agricultural expansion, these lands were used as rice farms and date-palm orchards. The geology of the area is Mesopotamian alluvium, mainly silts.

Key Biodiversity The site appears never to have been visited by an ornithologist, though it was considered by Scott and Carp (1982) to be possibly of great importance for wintering waterbirds, and Vant Leven (1968) provides good evidence for this (see ‘Conservation issues’). The haur was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980).

Non-bird biodiversity: No information available to BirdLife International.

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observations: A total of 54 bird species were observed. Additionally, the site supported eight breeding Sahara-Sindian Desert biome-restricted species but this did not trigger inclusion under the A3 criterion. The endemic race of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis and endemic race of Hooded Crow Corvus cornix capellanus(also known as Mesopotamian Crow) breed regularly at the site. Although not an IBA species, it is noteworthy that Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus, which appears to be slowly colonizing Iraq, has recently started to bred in this area (Salim, 2002). Other Important Fauna: Information was not collected at this site, but the teamobserved one Small Asian MongooseHerpestes javanicus. Fish: Information was collected for 2008& 2009, during which 14species were observed. According to Coad (2010)significant species were: Acanthopagrus cf. arabicus, Acanthobramamarmid, Alburnusmossulensis, Carasobarbusluteus, Carassiusauratus,Ctenopharyngodonidella,Cyprinuscarpio, Leuciscusvorax, Liza abu,Heteropneustesfossilis, Luciobarbusxanthopterus, Mesopotamichthyssharpeyi, and Silurustriostegu. Mastacembelusmastacembelus was also reported but is of no economic importance though their conservation status in Iraq is unknown

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1968  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Not assessed  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting major
unknown -

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

References Vant Leven (1968). 2014 updates. Coad BW (2010).Freshwater Fishes of Iraq. PENSOFT Publishers, Sofia-Moscow. No.93. Evans MI (1994). Important Bird Areas in the Middle East.Birdlife Conservation Series No. 2.Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Salim MA (2002). The first records, including breeding, of the Black-winged Kite Eleanuscaeruleus in Iraq. Sandgrouse 24: 136–138. Townsend C.C. and Guest E. (1968). Flora of Iraq.Vol. 9. Baghdad: Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Iraq.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ibn Najm. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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