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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Khuzestan
Central coordinates 49o 54.00' East  31o 52.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i
Area 1,400 ha
Altitude 90 m
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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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   

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Wetlands (inland)   39%
Grassland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
rangeland/pastureland major

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Izeh and Sheikho lakes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2014

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