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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Mazandaran
Central coordinates 53o 17.00' East  36o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i
Area 950 ha
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description Two long narrow freshwater lagoons near the Caspian shore, 5–10 km west of Miankaleh Wildlife Refuge, c.10 km west of the extreme west end of the Gorgan Bay marshes, and c.25 km north-west of Behshahr. They are fed by irrigation ditches and local run-off, and drain east into the Gorgan Bay marshes. The water level fluctuates considerably, and extensive mudflats can be exposed, but the ab-bandans do not appear to have been affected by the recent rise in level of the Caspian Sea. Open-water areas support a rich growth of submerged and floating aquatic vegetation, mainly Ceratophyllum with some Potamogeton. The fringing marshes are dominated by Phragmites beds with some Typha, but there are scrubby areas of Salix, Ribes, Rubus and Punica. The wetlands are bounded to the north by dune vegetation and to the south by cotton and wheat fields. Wildfowl hunting and reed-cutting occur. Land ownership is private.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The wetland is used by a wide variety of waterfowl during the migration seasons and in winter, but few species except Fulica atra (18,600 recorded) occur in large numbers. There is a large colony of Chlidonias hybridus and Haliaeetus albicilla breeds locally. A small flock of Oxyura leucocephala wintered in the area in the 1970s, feeding by night on the ab-bandans and roosting by day on the adjacent Caspian Sea; none have been recorded since 1978, but it may be that the birds have simply moved a few kilometres east to Gorgan Bay, where the increased water depth has created more favourable conditions. The numbers of other ducks using the site have increased in recent years, presumably because of the better protection from disturbance now being afforded by the local hunters. Phylloscopus trochiloides nitidus is fairly common on passage, and Tadorna tadorna and Falco pelegrinoides are occasional visitors.

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  5 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1977-1992  150-1,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  1977  28 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis resident  1977  20 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus passage  1977  300 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida breeding  1977  100-150 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1977-1992  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

1994 medium 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 small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Miankaleh Peninsula, Gorgan Bay and Lapoo-Zaghmarz Ab-bandan Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 100,000 protected area contains site 950  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   100%
Shrubland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%
hunting major
water management major
other minor
Notes: reed-cutting

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

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lapoo - Zargmarz ab-bandans. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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