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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, West Azarbaijan
Central coordinates 44o 47.00' East  39o 33.00' North
IBA criteria A1, B1i, B2
Area 600 ha
Altitude 820 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description A small fresh to brackish lake and marshes set at 820 m in an amphitheatre of rugged lava hills on the south side of the Aras valley in extreme north-west Iran, 115 km north of Khoy near the border with Armenia. The lake is fed by small springs and local run-off, and drains eastwards into the Aras river c.5 km away. The small western portion of the lake retains water all summer, but the main eastern section dries out in late summer, exposing extensive mudflats. The lake is generally frozen and snow-covered in mid-winter. There are extensive reedbeds Phragmites around the lake's western margins, and a large area of brackish Salicornia flats with scattered clumps of Phragmites and Tamarix on the plains to the east. The hills to the north and south support shrub-steppe vegetation dominated by Artemisia. Livestock are grazed in the area and there is probably some waterfowl hunting. Land ownership is public.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The site is primarily important for its breeding waterfowl which include many Himantopus himantopus and smaller numbers of five other species of shorebirds.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala breeding  1987-1992  unknown  A1, B2  Endangered 
Himantopus himantopus breeding  1977  100-150 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Not Recognised 


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.

References Scott (1976a).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Akh Gol. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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