|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Golestan|
|Central coordinates||54o 38.00' East 37o 23.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See box for key species. The lakes are utilized by a wide variety of waterfowl during the migration seasons and in winter, and are especially important for Phoenicopterus ruber, Anser anser, dabbling ducks, Netta rufina, Mergellus albellus and Fulica atra. Breeding species include Himantopus himantopus, Charadrius alexandrinus, Larus genei and Remiz pendulinus. Ciconia nigra has been recorded in summer and may breed.
Site description The site comprises three small lakes, with associated marshes and intervening grassy steppe, on the Turkoman Steppes near the border with Turkmenistan, c.60 km north-north-east of Gorgan. Lake Alagol (37°21'N 54°35'E, 900 ha) lies c.6 km south-west of Lakes Ulmagol (37°25'N 54°38'E, 280 ha) and Ajigol (37°24'N 54°40'E, 360 ha); it is slightly saline and fed by seepage, springs and local run-off, flooding in winter and sometimes drying out completely in summer. When full, it overflows westwards. The lake is oligotrophic, supporting little vegetation. Lake Ulmagol and Lake Ajigol are eutrophic freshwater lakes fed by local rainfall in autumn and winter. Both are subject to wide fluctuations in water level, and occasionally dry out completely. The lakes rarely, if ever, freeze over in winter. Lake Alagol supports little aquatic vegetation except for some Juncus, Carex and grasses, mainly in the north-east, and a few small patches of Phragmites. Ulmagol and Ajigol support a more varied vegetation of Juncus, Lemna, Phragmites, Alhagi and algae. Much of Ajigol is overgrown with Phragmites, and the lake has some adjacent stands of Tamarix. The surrounding steppes are a vast gently undulating grassland with low sandy hills. There are several small settlements near the lake complex, and reed-cutting, grazing, wildfowl hunting and some fishing occur. Land ownership is public.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus||winter||1974||150 individuals||good||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Gadwall Anas strepera||winter||1970-1977||2,480 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula||winter||1977-1992||510-4,000 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||winter||1975||19 individuals||good||A1||Endangered|
|Great Egret Casmerodius albus||winter||1970-1977||278 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla||winter||1977||9 individuals||good||A1, B2||Least Concern|
|Common Coot Fulica atra||winter||1970-1977||50,750 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus||breeding||1977||60 breeding pairs||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Mew Gull Larus canus||winter||1977||300 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans||winter||1987-1992||1,000 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus||winter||1987-1992||2,500 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1970-1977||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Alagol, Ulmagol and Ajigol Lakes||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||1,400||protected area contained by site||1,400|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||91%|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations The lakes were designated a Ramsar Site in 1975, but there is no legal protection and no conservation measures are known to have been proposed. Ulmagol and Ajigol have long been subjected to high levels of disturbance from wildfowl hunters, and Alagol (the least accessible of the three) is also now affected by disturbance from hunters. Thorough investigation of these lakes has been recommended by the Department of the Environment.
References Carp (1980), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1976a,c).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Alagol, Lake Ulmagol and Lake Ajigol. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife