|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Khuzestan|
|Central coordinates||48o 25.00' East 31o 45.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, B1i, B2, B3|
|Altitude||30 - 90m|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Site description A 55-km stretch of the Karkheh river and adjacent marshy plains (3,500 ha of wetlands), c.35-90 km north-north-west of Ahwaz. The river flows in a deep channel with steep earth banks. Dense riverine forest of Tamarix and Populus euphraticus, up to several hundred metres wide, lines the river banks. The adjacent plains, largely cultivated with wheat, are dotted with shallow marshy depressions and meandering creeks which flood in winter.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The riverine forest supports a typical Mesopotamian bird fauna including large breeding populations of Hypocolius ampelinus and Passer moabiticus. The river and adjacent flood-plain are of some importance for wintering Pelecanus crispus and surface-feeding ducks. Other notable species are Ceryle rudis, Halcyon smyrnensis and Petronia xanthocollis.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: a tiny population of Dama mesopotamica (E) still survived along the Karkheh river until the early 1970s, but apparently became extinct in the mid- or late 1970s, leaving the population along the Dez river to the east as the only one known in the wild. Other species include Gazella subgutturosa (rare).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus||resident||1977||common||-||B2||Least Concern|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||winter||1977||250 individuals||good||A1, A4i, B1i||Vulnerable|
|Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus||winter||1977||62 individuals||good||A1||Vulnerable|
|Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus||breeding||1977||10 breeding pairs||good||B3||Least Concern|
|Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus||resident||1977||4 breeding pairs||good||B3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Karkheh||Protected Area||13,995||protected area contained by site||9,427|
|Karkheh||Wildlife Refuge||5,026||protected area contained by site||3,600|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||87%|
Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
References Firouz et al. (1970), Scott (1976a,b,c, 1980), Summers et al. (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Karkheh river marshes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/08/2015
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