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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Kordestan
Central coordinates 46o 7.00' East  35o 32.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3
Area 1,550 ha
Altitude 1,280 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The site lies at 1,280 m in the foothills of the north-west Zagros Mountains near the Iraq border, a few kilometres west of Marivan, and comprises Lake Zaribar (1,150 ha) and the surrounding broad valley and hillsides. The lake is deep, fresh water, with extensive marshes at northern and southern ends, and is fed by several small streams and a large spring at the north-east corner, overflowing into a small river at the south end. It is often frozen in mid-winter. Habitats include extensive Phragmites and Typha beds, Carex marshes with scattered clumps of Salix and Populus, wet meadows, arable land (mainly wheat) with orchards and Populus groves, and stony hillsides with heavily grazed Quercus scrub on the lower slopes and taller, less disturbed Quercus forest higher up. Land ownership is public. There is fishing and waterfowl hunting at the lake, and a small resort area.

Key Biodiversity See boxes for key species. The extensive marshes are important for breeding waterfowl (notably Podiceps cristatus, Anser anser, Aythya nyroca and Oxyura leucocephala) and Circus aeruginosus (c.5 pairs), and provide feeding habitat for the large numbers of Ciconia ciconia which nest nearby. The lake is also of some importance for wintering waterfowl, especially diving ducks, and is the most important wintering site for Mergus merganser in Iran (up to 35 birds). The nearby Quercus forest supports a characteristic Zagros bird fauna. There is an exceptionally large breeding colony of Ciconia ciconia in a patch of forest north of the lake. Clamator glandarius apparently bred in 1974 (the only recent record of this species in Iran). Other notable breeding or probably breeding species are Hieraaetus pennatus, Dendrocopos medius, Ficedula semitorquata, Parus lugubris, Remiz pendulinus and Lanius nubicus.

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
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  1977  20-50 breeding pairs  good  A1, B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  1977  250 individuals  good  A1, B1i, B2  Near Threatened 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula winter  1970-1977  4,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala breeding  1974  4 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2  Endangered 
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis resident  1977  25 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus breeding  1977  50-100 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia breeding  1977  120 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  1977  common  B3  Least Concern 
Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea breeding  1977  1 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1970-1977  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   major
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Artificial - aquatic   minor
Forest   minor
Shrubland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor
hunting minor
tourism/recreation minor
rangeland/pastureland major
forestry major

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

References Fotoohi and Scott (1975), Scott (1976a,c).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Zaribar. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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