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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Gilan
Central coordinates 50o 10.00' East  37o 18.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 1,230 ha
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The lake lies on the coastal plain of the Caspian Sea, c.12 km north of Langarud, fed by springs and local run-off; at high water levels, it drains north through a small stream into the Caspian. It is a rather deep, permanent, freshwater lake with rich growth of floating and submergent vegetation, extensive beds of Typha and Phragmites and some Salix thickets. The open areas of the lake support abundant submerged and floating vegetation including Nelumbium, Lemna, Potamogeton, Hydrilla, Myriophyllum and Ceratophyllum. Surrounding areas are largely cultivated with rice. The lake is important for duck hunting and provides water for irrigation. Land ownership is public.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A very important wintering area for diving ducks, notably Netta rufina, and for Fulica atra and Phalacrocorax pygmeus. Up to 20 Circus aeruginosus are present in winter. Rallus aquaticus and Carduelis spinus also winter. A pair of Haliaeetus albicilla nested close to the lake in the 1970s and may still do so. At least 101 species have been recorded in the reserve.

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  16 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1977-1992  165-1,300 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  1970-1977  2,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  1977-1992  3,000-4,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  1970-1977  100 individuals  good  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Common Coot Fulica atra winter  1970-1977  45,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1970-1977  50,000-99,999 individuals  good  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) 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)  
Amirkelayeh Wildlife Refuge 1,106 is identical to site 1,230  
Amirkelayeh Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,230 is identical to site 1,230  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting major
water management major

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

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

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

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