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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, West Azarbaijan
Central coordinates 45o 50.00' East  37o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i
Area 400 ha
Altitude 1,290 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The site comprises c.400 ha of permanent freshwater marshes on the plains 12 km south of Lake Uromiyeh, c.20 km north of Mahabad. The marshes are usually frozen and under snow in winter. There are extensive Phragmites beds and little open water, surrounded by a belt of seasonally flooded sedge and grassland. Peripheral areas of the wetland have been drained and converted to agricultural land. There is livestock grazing. Land ownership is public.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The marshes are important for breeding waterfowl, notably Plegadis falcinellus and Marmaronetta angustirostris; other breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Circus aeruginosus and Falco tinnunculus. Pelecanus onocrotalus visits to feed in summer from colonies at Lake Uromiyeh. Large numbers of ducks occur during the migration seasons, as well as Circus pygargus, Pandion haliaetus and Limosa limosa. In most winters, the wetland is frozen and devoid of birds, but in mild years it may support large numbers geese and ducks, as well as Aquila chrysaetos, Circus cyaneus and Accipiter nisus.

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 passage  1977  10,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1987-1992  3,280 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna winter  1987-1992  15,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding  1977  10-20 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula winter  1987-1992  2,700 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds non-breeding  1977-1992  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ghara Gheslaq Marshes No Hunting Area 400 is identical to site 400  


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

Land use

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

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

References Cornwallis (1976), Scott (1976a,c).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ghara Gheshlaq No-Hunting Area. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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