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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Tehran
Central coordinates 51o 36.00' East  35o 57.00' North
IBA criteria A3, B2, B3
Area 28,000 ha
Altitude 2,450 - 4,540m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The site comprises 20 km of the upper Lar valley in the high Alborz Mountains, from 2,450 m to peaks at 4,540 m. It lies above the Lar Dam, c.10-30 km upstream from the small town of Polur and c.40 km north-east of Tehran. The Lar is in the Caspian watershed, but at this point lies in a rain shadow and the area is relatively arid. For much of its length, the river meanders across a broad, flat-bottomed valley c.500-1,000 m wide. Habitats include a fast-flowing river with extensive shingle banks, patches of dense riverine Salix and Tamarix scrub (with a few trees up to 7-8 m high), small areas of natural wet meadow, open hillsides with steppic vegetation, a number of small, spring-fed alpine meadows in side valleys, and the high crags and summits of neighbouring peaks. There is grazing by sheep, goats and horses. The area was a regular bird-ringing site of the Department of the Environment's Ornithology Unit in the 1970s.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The area supports a typical high Alborz avifauna, including a good population of Tetraogallus caspius, and also appears to be of considerable importance as a staging area for migrant passerines (e.g. Phylloscopus trochiloides nitidus), especially in autumn, when the dense shrubbery and wet meadows along the river provide rich feeding habitat. At least 97 species have been recorded in the valley.

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
Caspian Snowcock Tetraogallus caspius resident  1977  frequent  A3, B3  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus resident  1977  present  B2  Near Threatened 
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria resident  1977  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis resident  1977  common  A3  Least Concern 
Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris resident  1977  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Radde's Accentor Prunella ocularis breeding  1977  7 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Rhodopechys sanguineus resident  1977  frequent  A3  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lar River Protected Area 28,000 is identical to site 28,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   major
Wetlands (inland)   minor
Shrubland   minor
Rocky areas   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%
rangeland/pastureland major

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

References Argyle (1976b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lar River Protected Area. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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