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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Mazandaran
Central coordinates 52o 31.00' East  36o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 1,000 ha
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description Fereidoonkenar is an artificial wetland (damgah) on the coastal plain of the South Caspian, 5 km south of the village of Fereidoonkenar and 13 km south-west of Babolsar. It was created and is maintained primarily as a privately-owned duck-hunting area, but also serves to supply irrigation water in summer. The core of the damgah comprises a series of shallow freshwater impoundments with a rich submerged and floating aquatic vegetation, including Nalumio nucifera and extensive beds of Phragmites and Typha. The impoundments are almost entirely surrounded by an embankment and narrow belt of tall trees in which there are c.100 duck-trapping stations. The wetland is situated in the middle of a large expanse of rice paddies which provide excellent feeding habitat for ducks, geese, shorebirds and cranes. Live decoys are used to lure ducks into flight nets. The duck netting is licensed by the Department of the Environment, each trapping station of two men being permitted to capture five birds per day.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The artificially maintained shallow impoundments and extensive rice fields at Fereidoonkenar provide excellent feeding and roosting habitat for large numbers of wintering waterfowl, notably dabbling ducks (up to 200,000), Anser anser, Vanellus vanellus and Limosa limosa. These concentrations attract a variety of wintering raptors including Haliaeetus albicilla and Aquila heliaca. Large concentrations of Philomachus pugnax have been recorded on spring migration. In 1978 ornithologists from the Department of the Environment discovered a tiny wintering population of Grus leucogeranus at the site. The local duck-hunters were very familiar with the cranes, and reported that they had been coming to this area for many years. Since their discovery, 7-11 birds have wintered each year. At least 11 were present in January 1992, including two juveniles, and thus the alarming rumours in early 1991 that 4-5 cranes had been shot or captured for zoos were clearly erroneous, as nine of the ten birds present in the winter of 1990/91 could still be accounted for. Other winter visitors include Cygnus olor, Gallinago gallinago, Scolopax rusticola, Tringa totanus and Emberiza schoeniclus.

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  1987-1992  60,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1987-1992  1,700 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1987-1992  6,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1987-1992  20,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1987-1992  14,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  1987-1992  80,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  1987-1992  12,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  1987-1992  80,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1977-1992  620-1,560 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus winter  1977  7-11 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Critically Endangered 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus winter  1977-1992  5,000-16,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  1970-1977  5,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1987-1992  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Fereydoon Kenar, Ezbaran and Sorkh Ruds Ab-Bandans Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 5,427 protected area contains site 1,000  
Feridonkanar Protected Area 50 protected area contained by site 148  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 15%
hunting major
water management major
agriculture major

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

References Scott (1976a).

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

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