|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Khuzestan|
|Central coordinates||49o 54.00' East 31o 52.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii, B1i|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Site description Two small freshwater lakes in a broad valley in the foothills of the western Zagros Mountains near the small town of Izeh, 125 km east-north-east of Ahwaz. Sheikho, the larger lake (c.300 ha), lies north-west of the town. It is shallow and almost entirely overgrown with emergent vegetation except around the edges where heavy grazing and trampling by cattle maintain some open water. Izeh lake (c.250 ha), east of the town, is somewhat deeper with much more open water. Both lakes are fed by local run-off and large springs at the base of nearby hills. The plains around the lake and to the south are cultivated, mainly for wheat, and there are several small villages and seasonal encampments in the vicinity. Sparsely vegetated stony hillsides rise abruptly to the north. Land ownership is public.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. An important wintering area for Tachybaptus ruficollis (3,500), herons, egrets, Anser anser, Tadorna ferruginea, surface-feeding and diving ducks, Fulica atra and Grus grus. Several species of waterfowl breed in small numbers, and many Ciconia ciconia nest in the general area, including over 20 pairs on telegraph poles in Izeh town. Mid-winter waterfowl counts in the 1970s seldom exceeded 5,000, but numbers have been much higher in recent years. The numbers of Grus grus appear to have remained stable since the 1970s.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Northern Pintail Anas acuta||winter||1977-1992||2,425-12,100 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Greylag Goose Anser anser||winter||1987-1992||3,500 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea||winter||1977-1992||175-750 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Gadwall Mareca strepera||winter||1977-1992||230-4,150 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata||winter||1977-1992||250-5,860 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Pochard Aythya ferina||winter||1987-1992||9,360 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula||winter||1987-1992||6,400 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis||winter||1987-1992||974-3,500 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Egretta garzetta||winter||1987-1992||400 individuals||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Grey Heron Ardea cinerea||winter||1987-1992||260 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Great White Egret Ardea alba||winter||1987-1992||330 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Coot Fulica atra||winter||1987-1992||86,550 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Crane Grus grus||winter||1977-1992||390-400 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1987-1992||400 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus||winter||1987-1992||3,000 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1987-1992||100,000-499,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
References Scott (1976a, 1980).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Izeh and Sheikho lakes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/01/2015
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