|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Fars|
|Central coordinates||52o 48.00' East 29o 30.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See boxes for key species. Lake Maharlu is important for a wide variety of resident and migratory waterfowl, notably surface-feeding ducks, geese, flamingos, cranes and some shorebirds. Other breeding species include Porzana pusilla, Himantopus himantopus, Vanellus leucurus and Sterna albifrons. Wintering waterfowl have included especially Pelecanus onocrotalus, Anser anser, Tadorna ferruginea, T. tadorna, Anas crecca, M. angustirostris, Grus grus, Himantopus himantopus, Recurvirostra avosetta and Vanellus leucurus. In good numbers on passage are Phoenicopterus ruber, T. ferruginea and A. crecca, and several Aquila clanga winter.
Site description A large, shallow, saline lake at 1,480 m in the Shiraz basin of the southern Zagros. The lake is fed by the run-off from numerous small ephemeral wadis, by the Pul-i-Fasa stream in the west, and by numerous small springs around the shore, and covers 21,600 ha at maximum extent of flooding. Much the largest perennial springs are at Barmishur at the north-west corner and at Ab-e Paravan in the north, both creating pools c.2 m deep which overflow into extensive permanent marshes with Phragmites and Typha as well as feeding open marsh communities dominated by sedges, rushes and Chara. At maximum extent, the Barmishur marshes cover c.150 ha and Ab-e Paravan 250 ha. Water level varies widely with rainfall, and in prolonged droughts the entire lake dries out except for the pools at Barmishur and Ab-e Paravan. The lake shores support salt-tolerant plant communities dominated by Tamarix, Suaeda and Salicornia. The lake is bounded by limestone hills to the north and dry steppe to east and south. Land to the west (towards Shiraz) is largely under irrigated cultivation for rice, wheat, barley, melons, cotton and sugar beet. The lake is used for salt production and there are numerous large salt pans, particularly in the eastern portion. There is some livestock grazing and reed-cutting in the Barmishur and Ab-e Paravan marshes.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus||winter||1971-1975||40-102 individuals||good||A1||Vulnerable|
|Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea||passage||1977||2,200 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea||winter||1977-1992||570-6,255 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna||winter||1977-1992||460-950 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Gadwall Anas strepera||winter||1977-1992||50-1,405 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Mallard Anas platyrhynchos||winter||1977-1992||2,150-8,000 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Teal Anas crecca||passage||1977||16,500 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||breeding||1972||10 breeding pairs||good||A1||Vulnerable|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||winter||1972||37 individuals||good||A1||Vulnerable|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||breeding||1977||20 breeding pairs||good||A1, B2||Least Concern|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||passage||1977||100 individuals||-||A1, B2||Least Concern|
|Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga||winter||1977||6 individuals||good||B2||Vulnerable|
|Common Crane Grus grus||passage||1977||350 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Common Crane Grus grus||winter||1977-1992||231-2,134 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus||winter||1977-1992||110-260 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1977-1992||75-220 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus||winter||1977-1992||900-5,400 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1977-1992||-||unknown||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||minor|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations There is no legal protection. Pollution is reported to be a problem. The Soltanabad Marshes, c.15 km west of Lake Maharlu, formerly covered c.700 ha and provided important feeding habitat for wintering wildfowl which used Lake Maharlu as a day roost. The marshes also supported a small breeding population of Marmaronetta angustirostris. However, these marshes were completely drained for agricultural purposes in the 1980s. No conservation measures are known to have been proposed.
References Cornwallis (1968), Fotoohi and Scott (1975), Scott (1976a,c), Summers et al. (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Maharlu. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013
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