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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, West Azarbaijan
Central coordinates 45o 31.00' East  37o 1.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 2,500 ha
Altitude 1,290 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The lakes lie at 1,290 m on the plains to the south of Lake Uromiyeh, 7–10 km south of the south-east corner of the lake and c.30-35 km north-west of Mahabad. Shur Gol and the associated Hassanlu marshes (37°01'N 45°28'E, 2,000 ha) consist of a shallow, brackish to saline lake and marshland fed by local rainfall, springs, seepages and small streams. Flooding occurs in autumn and winter, but drainage is virtually closed and the complex dries out completely only in very dry years. The much smaller wetlands of Yadegarlu (37°02'N 45°32'E, 350 ha) and Dorgeh Sangi (36°59'N 45°34'E, 150 ha) lying a few kilometres to the east and south-east are shallow freshwater lakes with peripheral eutrophic marshes. Both are subject to wide fluctuations in water level, and are often completely frozen in winter. The extensive marshes at Shur Gol and Yadegarlu are dominated by Carex and grasses. There is relatively little aquatic vegetation at Dorgeh Sangi, where extensive bare mudflats are exposed when water is low. The surrounding land includes wheat fields on the rolling hills and plains to the north, and more intensive agriculture in the vicinity of the villages to the south.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The wetlands are especially important for breeding waterfowl, notably Plegadis falcinellus, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Oxyura leucocephala and Glareola pratincola, and passage ducks, Fulica atra and shorebirds, and large numbers of waterfowl visit to feed in summer, including Pelecanus onocrotalus (see box), Ciconia ciconia (150; also breeds in the area), Platalea leucorodia (100) and Phoenicopterus ruber (1,000). When not frozen, the lakes also support large numbers of wintering waterfowl, mainly dabbling ducks and F. atra. A small flock of Cygnus columbianus occurred regularly in the early 1970s (the only regular wintering site in Iran), but there have been no confirmed records of the species at the site since then. Anser albifrons and A. anser have been present in winter.

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
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  1977  7,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus passage  1970-1977  175 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  1977  70 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus winter  1970-1977  57 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  1977  1,855 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea winter  1987-1992  2,350 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata passage  1977  5,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca passage  1977  45,100 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding  1977  10-15 breeding pairs  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina passage  1977  15,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  1977  4 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala breeding  1977  4 breeding pairs  good  B2  Endangered 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus winter  1970-1977  100 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia breeding  1977  100 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus non-breeding  1977  1,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Bustard Otis tarda non-breeding  1977  6 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Common Coot Fulica atra passage  1977  120,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus passage  1977  1,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  1977  500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus passage  1977  1,460 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  1977  1,700 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  1977  500 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis passage  1977  350 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola breeding  1977  50-80 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1977  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

1994 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Shurgol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi Lakes Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,500 is identical to site 2,500  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   100%
Artificial - terrestrial   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
nature conservation and research 100%

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

References Carp (1980), Cornwallis (1976), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1976a,c).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Shur Gol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi lakes. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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