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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, West Azarbaijan
Central coordinates 46o 10.00' East  36o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2
Area 17,000 ha
Altitude 1,260 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description An area of undulating plains set at 1,260 m between ranges of stony hills on either side of the Zarrineh Rud, lying between the villages of Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu, 15-32 km south-east of Miandoab and c.45 km east-north-east of Mahabad. The site also includes Nowruzlu Dam, a small water storage reservoir of c.1,000 ha on the Zarrineh Rud in the north-west. The plain is fairly heavily populated, with several villages and a complex network of gravel and dirt roads. A line of high-tension power cables crosses the site. The plains are cultivated (primarily wheat) and the adjacent rolling hills are Artemisia steppe. There is a small marshy area with some reedbeds and shrubby vegetation where the river enters Nowruzlu Dam. Livestock (mainly sheep and goats) graze on fallow land and the adjacent hills.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The site is known to have been an important breeding area for Otis tarda in the 1960s, and there were still several nesting there in the 1970s; the plains are regularly visited by flocks in spring and autumn, with a maximum of 37 in November 1972. Nowruzulu Dam is an important feeding area for Pelecanus onocrotalus and Platalea leucorodia from the breeding colonies at Lake Uromiyeh, and occasionally holds large numbers of waterfowl during the spring and autumn migration seasons. Flocks of Anser albifrons and A. anser frequent the area 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
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1977  156 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  1977  650 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Garganey Spatula querquedula passage  1977  5,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus non-breeding  1977  830 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Bustard Otis tarda breeding  1977  4 breeding pairs  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Great Bustard Otis tarda passage  1977  37 individuals  good  A1, B2  Vulnerable 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Artificial - aquatic   6%
Grassland   major
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

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

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

References Adhami (1972a), Fotoohi and Mansoori (1974), Fotoohi and Scott (1975), Scott (1971a,b, 1976a).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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