|Location||Iran, Islamic Republic of, Hormozgan|
|Central coordinates||55o 40.00' East 26o 50.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3|
|Altitude||0 - 50m|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Site description The Khouran Straits lie in the southern Persian Gulf between the region of the Mehran and Kul/Rasul (Gol) deltas and the island of Gheshm (110 km from east to west and up to 20 km across). Within the straits, there are c.100,000 ha of low-lying islands, mangrove, mudflats and creeks which constitute much the largest of the mangrove/mudflat ecosystems in Iran. The mangrove forests reach their greatest development around a group of low-lying muddy islands in a large bay on the north shore of Gheshm Island, but there are also significant stands along the outer margins of the Mehran delta. In these areas and in the Kul/Rasul delta to the east, there are vast intertidal mudflats. Elsewhere along the Gheshm and mainland coasts, the shoreline consists of wide sandy beaches and sandflats. The mangrove forests are monospecific stands of Avicennia marina, here at the north-west limit of its distribution. Red and brown algae (Rhodophyceae, Phaeophyceae) are the other dominant vegetation in the shallow coastal waters. The adjacent coastal plains are mainly barren sandflats with scattered Acacia, Prosopis and other thorn trees. A few small settlements are scattered along the shore, with some small date gardens. Fishing (commercial and subsistence) is an important activity. Land ownership is public.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. The mangrove supports substantial breeding populations of egrets and herons as well as some shorebirds (notably Dromas ardeola and Burhinus recurvirostris) and terns. Ardea goliath has its only confirmed breeding site in Iran here, and there is a small colony of Casmerodius albus modestus (South Asian race), which probably reaches its western limit in this region. The site holds Iran's largest colony of Ardeola grayii (at least 30 pairs), and Butorides striatus may breed. The extensive mudflats are an extremely important staging and wintering area for shorebirds and gulls, along with smaller numbers of Pelecanus crispus, Platalea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus ruber and many other species. The adjacent desertic plains with scattered thorn trees and date gardens support a typical Baluchi avifauna with several primarily Indo-Malayan species. At least 93 species have been recorded in the reserve.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia||winter||1970-1977||442 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Egretta gularis||resident||1977||50 breeding pairs||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Egretta gularis||winter||1970-1977||458 individuals||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Grey Heron Ardea cinerea||winter||1970-1977||400 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Goliath Heron Ardea goliath||resident||1976-1977||7 individuals||good||A4i, B1i, B2||Least Concern|
|Great White Egret Ardea alba||winter||1970-1977||445 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus||winter||1970-1977||100-210 individuals||good||A1, A4i, B1i, B2||Vulnerable|
|Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus||breeding||1977||5 breeding pairs||good||B2||Endangered|
|Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus||winter||1977||35 individuals||good||B2||Endangered|
|Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris||resident||1977||4 breeding pairs||good||B3||Near Threatened|
|Haematopus ostralegus||winter||1970-1977||331 individuals||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Crab-plover Dromas ardeola||resident||1977||20 breeding pairs||good||B3||Least Concern|
|Crab-plover Dromas ardeola||winter||1970-1977||940 individuals||good||A4i, B1i, B3||Least Concern|
|Common Redshank Tringa totanus||winter||1970-1977||3,000 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica||winter||1970-1977||2,410 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Near Threatened|
|Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata||winter||1970-1977||5,850 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Near Threatened|
|Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus||winter||1970-1977||1,000 individuals||good||B1i||Least Concern|
|Sterna nilotica||winter||1970-1977||355 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Not Recognised|
|Larus cachinnans||winter||1977||3,000 individuals||good||B1i||Not Recognised|
|Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus||winter||1970-1977||20,000 individuals||good||A4i, B1i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1977||20,000 individuals||poor||A4iii|
|1994||medium||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||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Biological resource use||logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Pollution||industrial & military effluents - oil spills||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Residential and commercial development||tourism and recreation areas||likely in long term (beyond 4 years)||small area/few individuals (<10%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Hara||Protected Area||86,581||protected area contained by site||85,686|
|Hara||UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve||85,686||protected area contained by site||85,686|
|Khuran Straits||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||100,000||is identical to site||100,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|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 Argyle (1975, 1976c, 1977b), Carp (1980), Gallagher et al. (1984), Ramsar Convention Bureau (1993), Scott (1975b, 1976a,c, 1978a, in press), Summers et al. (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khouran Straits. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2015
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