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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Sistan and Baluchestan
Central coordinates 61o 45.00' East  31o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3
Area 14,900 ha
Altitude 490 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The Hamoun-i Puzak is a freshwater lake of c.35,000 ha, with extensive reedbeds, in the Sistan basin. Most of the lake lies in Afghanistan, but c.10,000 ha in the south-west is within Iran. The entire lake is very shallow, probably not exceeding 1 m deep. The Iranian portion consists of a complex of open-water areas with rich submerged vegetation (principally Ceratophyllum) and extensive Typha and Phragmites. The Hamoun-i Puzak receives most of its water from the Parian branch of the Hirmand river which enters the lake in the north and east. The Puzak is the first of the three hamouns to fill during wet periods and probably never dries out completely, even in the severest droughts. In early 1992, following a series of wet years, the wetlands were in excellent condition, with clear water, rich submerged vegetation and extensive reedbeds. The site includes the marshes around Takht-e Edalat (formerly Takht-e Shah) and Mahmoodi. Vast beds of Phragmites cover much of the Hamoun-i Puzak, and there is relatively little open water. On the Iranian side of the border, Typha now dominates, having replaced Phragmites since the 1970s, apparently as a result of heavy grazing. The wetland is fringed with Tamarix thickets and the adjacent land is degraded steppe and irrigated cultivation. There are several small villages on the edge of the marsh, and, though primarily dependent on livestock breeding, the local people are increasingly taking advantage of the lake's rich fishery. Reeds are cut and used locally as forage for livestock, for constructing boats, for fabricating wind-breaks and as fuel.

Key Biodiversity See boxes for key species. An important wintering area for ducks and Fulica atra and a staging area for a wide variety of species, including many shorebirds. In wet years, the wetlands may also be important for breeding waterfowl. Circus aeruginosus is present all year, with up to 45 in winter.

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
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1970-1977  2,450 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1970-1977  4,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1970-1977  2,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  1970-1977  12,100 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  1970-1977  18,100 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  1970-1977  58,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  1970-1977  8,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1970-1977  30 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  1970  42 individuals  good  A1, B2  Endangered 
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris breeding  1973  3 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1970-1977  1,200 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  1977-1992  75-82 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  1977  5 individuals  good  B2  Vulnerable 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla winter  1977  7 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Common Coot Fulica atra winter  1970-1977  37,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus winter  1970-1977  450 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus passage  1977  650 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1977  130 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  1970-1977  5,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus resident  1977  uncommon  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1970-1977  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

1994 very high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Hamun-e-Puzak, south end Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 10,000 protected area contained by site 10,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   67%
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Shrubland   minor
Desert   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 67%
rangeland/pastureland major
fisheries/aquaculture major
other major
Notes: reed-cutting
agriculture minor

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.

References Carp (1980), Petocz et al. (1976), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1975a, 1976a,c, 1978b, 1980, 1991, in press), Summers et al. (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: South end of the Hamoun-i Puzak. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife