|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Esfahan|
|Central coordinates||52o 47.00' East 32o 20.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii, B1i|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Site description Gavekhoni lake is a large (c.13,000 ha), shallow, saline lake in an enclosed drainage basin at 1,470 m on the western edge of the deserts of Iran's Central Plateau, c.40-100 km east-south-east of the city of Isfahan. The lake is fed almost entirely by the Zaindeh Rud, a large river rising in the Zagros. Flooding occurs in winter and spring, but the extent varies widely and the lake is often almost completely dry by the end of summer. There are Phragmites marshes with some Tamarix scrub at the mouth of the river, but the lake is otherwise largely devoid of vegetation except algae; plant growth elsewhere around the lake is very sparse and halophytic. The marshes of the lower Zaindeh Rud, fed by flooding from the river itself and by several irrigation canals, comprise a c.60 km chain of freshwater marshes and flood-plain wetlands ending at Gavekhoni lake, covering c.30,000 ha or more. Very little natural marsh vegetation remains (now mainly Phragmites and Typha), the main flooding now occurring over degraded steppe and land under wheat and rice. The lake is relatively inaccessible and undisturbed, although there is some grazing, hunting and cutting of wood for fuel in the marshes at the river mouth. Land ownership is public.
Key Biodiversity See boxes for key species. An important wintering area for a variety of waterfowl, notably Phoenicopterus ruber (1,720 recorded), Anser anser, Tadorna ferruginea, T. tadorna, surface-feeding ducks and some shorebirds. Mid-winter waterfowl counts in the 1970s seldom exceeded 10,000 birds in total, but numbers have been much higher in recent years.
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||110-13,250 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Greylag Goose Anser anser||winter||1987-1992||1,740 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea||winter||1977-1992||530-3,280 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna||winter||1977-1992||1,090-11,300 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Gadwall Mareca strepera||winter||1987-1992||6,600 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope||winter||1987-1992||4,560 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Mallard Anas platyrhynchos||winter||1977-1992||5,100-7,960 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata||winter||1987-1992||8,370 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Teal Anas crecca||winter||1977-1992||7,600-41,500 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Himantopus himantopus||winter||1987-1992||286 individuals||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1987-1992||146 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Redshank Tringa totanus||winter||1977-1992||35-1,214 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1977-1992||50,000-99,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|1994||high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Pollution||domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||high|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Gavkhouni Lake and marshes of the lower Zaindeh Rud||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||43,000||protected area contained by site||43,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||major|
|Artificial - aquatic||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||68%|
|Notes: cutting of fuelwood|
Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
References Carp (1980), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1976a,c, 1980).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gavekhoni lake, and marshes of the lower Zaindeh Rud. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2015
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