email a friend
printable version
Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Golestan
Central coordinates 53o 55.00' East  37o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 20,000 ha
Altitude
Year of IBA assessment 1994





Site description In the 1970s, the Gomishan wetlands consisted of a chain of narrow, brackish lagoons behind the Caspian Sea beach, stretching from 2 km north of the town of Gomishan north to the Turkmenistan border (and beyond). In the east, the wetland bordered on a vast area of low-lying plains with salt-tolerant vegetation. The recent 1.8 m rise in the level of the Caspian has resulted in extensive flooding of these plains, so that the Gomishan Marshes now comprise a large area of shallow, brackish lagoons and marshes covering c.4,850 ha. The wetland lies at the western edge of the Turkoman Steppes, a vast region of grass-covered plains and rolling hills extending for over 100 km to the east in Iran and even further to the north in Turkmenistan; much of the natural grassland near Gomishan Marshes has been converted to arable land. The main wetland area contains saltmarsh vegetation and seasonally-inundated flats of Salicornia mixed with Halostachys and Halocnemum grasses. The site is bounded in the west by low coastal dunes with typical sand-dune vegetation, and in the east extends onto the short-grass plains of the Turkoman Steppes, large areas of which are under cultivation for wheat and cotton. Land ownership is public. Livestock grazing (mainly sheep and goats) and waterfowl hunting occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  1987-1992  14,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  1977  1,773 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1977-1992  453-3,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  1987-1992  256 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1987-1992  13,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1987-1992  16,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  1987-1992  40,000 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  30,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  1987-1992  17,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator winter  1987-1992  204 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus winter  1987-1992  400-800 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1987-1992  55,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea winter  1987-1992  1,120 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1987-1992  1,120 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  1987-1992  167-334 individuals  medium  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1987-1992  2,330 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  1977  20 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2  Least Concern 
Common Coot Fulica atra winter  1987-1992  65,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus resident  1977  250 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Himantopus himantopus winter  1987-1992  1,700 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus winter  1970-1977  5,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  1987-1992  1,500 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  1987-1992  400 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1977  200-300 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida breeding  1977  100 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1987-1992  100,000-499,999 individuals  good  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gomishan Lagoon Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 17,700 protected area contained by site 17,700  
Gomishan Marshes No Hunting Area 0 protected area contained by site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Grassland   minor
Coastline   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
hunting major
rangeland/pastureland major
nature conservation and research minor

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

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

References Scott (1976a,c).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gomishan marshes and Turkoman steppes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014

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