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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Gilan
Central coordinates 49o 55.00' East  37o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 500 ha
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description Bandar Kiashahr Lagoon lies immediately east of the mouth of the Sefid Rud (river), c.40 km east of Bandar Anzali, in the south-west Caspian region. In the early 1970s it was a shallow, brackish coastal lagoon with fringing Juncus marshes in an area of coastal sand-dunes and grassland; it was fed by local run-off, and drained north-east through a narrow channel into the Caspian, having formed in 1960 as a result of the falling level of the Caspian and development of coastal sand spits. The 1.8 m rise in the level of the Caspian since 1978 has converted the wetland into a bay with broad entrance to the sea, similar to the situation in the 1950s. The marshy grassland and sand-dune areas at the mouth of the Sefid Rud have, however, remained more or less unchanged, while new wetland habitats have been created to the west of the river mouth. The lagoon supports relatively little vegetation other than algae. Freshwater marshes at the extreme west end of the lagoon support some beds of Phragmites and Typha, while the southern and eastern shores are dominated by Juncus and grasses. Sandy areas to the west and north-west are covered in scrub and grassland which give way to sand-dune vegetation near the Caspian shore. Grassland along the banks of the Sefid Rud floods seasonally. Land to the south of the wetland is mostly under cultivation, although there are some relict patches of Alnus woodland near the wetland. The lagoon is an important centre for commercial fishing, and there is a large fisheries station on the south shore. Grazing of livestock, reed-cutting and wildfowl hunting also occur. Land ownership is public.

Key Biodiversity See boxes for key species. The area is an important staging and wintering area for a wide variety of migratory waterfowl, notably grebes, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, ducks, shorebirds, gulls and terns, and for Circus aeruginosus and Falco columbarius. The open grassy areas and dunes near the river mouth provide breeding habitat for Glareola pratincola, while a small patch of woodland to the south of the lagoon supports a large colony of Phalacrocorax carbo, Nycticorax nycticorax and other herons and egrets. Ixobrychus minutus is a passage migrant or summer visitor.

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
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus winter  1970-1977  24 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  1970-1977  12,400 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus winter  1970-1977  340 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  1970-1977  340 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax breeding  1977  200 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1970-1977  644 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Egretta garzetta passage  1977  875 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  1977  30-41 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  1977  300 individuals  good  A1, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  1977  1,000 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1970-1977  1,250 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla resident  1977  1-2 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus winter  1977-1992  500-3,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Larus cachinnans winter  1970-1977  1,000 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus winter  1977-1992  1,800-3,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1970-1977  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bandar Kiashahr Lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 500 is identical to site 500  
Bojagh National Park 3,250 protected area contains site 500  
Boujagh National Park Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 3,260 protected area contains site 500  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   minor
Coastline   major
Sea   major
Forest   minor
Shrubland   minor
Grassland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland minor
other minor
Notes: reed-cutting
hunting minor
fisheries/aquaculture major
nature conservation and research 100%

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

References Carp (1980), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1976a,c, 1978a), Summers et al. (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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