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Location Iran, Islamic Republic of, Bushehr
Central coordinates 50o 50.00' East  29o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2
Area 41,642 ha
Altitude 0 - 7m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Site description The site comprises the Hilleh Protected Area, 35 km north-west of Bushire, established to protect the only major freshwater wetland on the south coast of Iran east of Khuzestan- a complex of permanent freshwater lagoons with extensive sedge marshes on seasonally flooded plains near the mouth of the Hilleh (Helleh, Halileh) Rud. The site also includes a large area of the adjacent sparsely vegetated desert plains and extensive intertidal mudflats. Overall there are c.35,600 ha of wetland. Land ownership is public.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The wetland supports large numbers of breeding, passage and wintering waterfowl of a wide variety of species, and is especially important for wintering Phalacrocorax carbo, herons and egrets, Platalea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus ruber, Anser anser, surface-feeding ducks, Circus aeruginosus, Grus grus (120) and shorebirds. Pterocles alchata breeds fairly commonly on the adjacent plains, and Coracias benghalensis is a fairly common resident. Plegadis falcinellus is an occasional passage migrant or winter visitor. At least 111 species have been recorded in the reserve.

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  3,750-12,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  1975  21-37 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1977-1992  950-7,859 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea winter  1977-1992  26-750 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna winter  1977-1992  400-1,388 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1977-1992  350-1,915 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1977-1992  2,300-8,070 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  1977-1992  1,260-8,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding  1974  15-20 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  1977  1,000 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  1988  173 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Endangered 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  1970-1977  278 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea winter  1970-1977  582 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1970-1977  351 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1970-1977  3,060 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1970-1977  300 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  1970-1977  250 individuals  good  B1i  Near Threatened 
Larus cachinnans winter  1987-1992  2,500 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1977  40 breeding pairs  good  B1i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1977  20,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Heleh Protected Area 41,642 protected area contains site 41,642  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   16%
Coastline   84%
Sea   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

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

References Scott (1975b, 1976a,c, 1978a, 1980).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Hilleh Protected Area. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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