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Location Iraq, Al-Basrah,Maysan
Central coordinates 47o 38.00' East  31o 22.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3
Area 250,000 ha
Altitude 6 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Nature Iraq (Affiliate)

Site description Situated to the east of the River Tigris, Haur Al Hawizeh (Hawaizah) and its associated marshes cover an area of approximately 2,200 km2 between Amara and Basrah (31°00'N--31°45'N, 47°25'E--47°50'E). A small portion of the haur extends over the border into Iranian territory, where it is known as the Hoor Al Azim. The wetland is fed by floodwaters from the River Tigris and from the Karkheh river in the east (in Iran); it is bordered in the north by the Musharra Canal and in the south by the Shatt Al Arab. The marsh is partly seasonal and partly permanent. The latter area has extensive Phragmites reedbeds alternating with open sheets of water. The Nahrsabla Marshes (31°30'N 47°35'E) are an area of predominantly seasonal marsh in the north-eastern portion of the haur, near the Iranian border.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus resident  1985  common [units unknown]  B2  Least Concern 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  1960-1969  present [units unknown]  A1, B2  Vulnerable 
Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris winter  1985  present [units unknown]  B2  Least Concern 
African Darter Anhinga rufa resident  1915  common [units unknown]  B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus breeding  1985  present [units unknown]  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Basra Reed-warbler Acrocephalus griseldis breeding  1985  abundant [units unknown]  A1, A2, A3, B2  Endangered 
Iraq Babbler Turdoides altirostris resident  1985  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1979  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Hawizeh Marshes (Haur Al-Hawizeh) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 137,700 is identical to site 137,700  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
unknown -
military -

Other biodiversity Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Lutra perspicillata (K; the subspecies L. p. maxwelli is endemic to the marshes and endangered), Gerbillus mesopotamiae (endemic).

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 Carp (1980), Georg and Savage (1970b), North (1993), Pearce (1993), Prentice (1993), Savage (1968), Ticehurst et al. (1921-1922).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Haur Al Hawizeh. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014

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