Jazman (Zurbatia)

Site description (2014 baseline):

Site location and context
Jazman (also known as Zurbatia) is a dry area with plant cover concentrated mainly in natural watercourses and agricultural canals. It is located northeast of the city of Kut, close to the Iranian border. The closest watercourse is Galala Badra that runs through the southern part of the site and feeds the dense orchards and farms of the area before reaching Badra town. There is an elevated area in the east and northeast sections towards Iran where the site enters the Zagros Mountains Forest Steppe ecoregion. The area has many irrigation canals and small, natural watercourses. The geology is gravel, sands, silts, alluvium, sandstones, clay, and sandy gravel and the soil type was clay and sandy clay

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys, 22 bird species wee recorded. In addition to those in the table, Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca and Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (both Vulnerable) were seen – the area provides good habitat for wintering and migrant birds. Iraq Babbler Turdoides altirostris, a range-restricted species, was observed in 2010, but did not trigger inclusion under A2 criterion. Other Important Fauna: According to field observations and frequent reports of locals and hunters, mammals include: Honey Badger Mellivora capensis, a wild cat Felis silvestris/chaus (species could not be distinguished), Red Fox/Ruppell’s Fox Vulpes spp. (species not distinguished), Golden Jackal Canisaureus, and Grey Wolf Canis lupus. Gazelles (sp. not known, but probably Gazella subgutturosa) are found in the eastern and northeastern hilly parts, anda few Gazelles were killed in 2008 close to the border. Some reptiles were seen but not identified. Additional Plant & Habitat Information: This site contains a good population of Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera, which is economically and culturally important. Multiple species of Wheat Triticum spp. and Avena fatua are present, which could be good genetic resources for wheat and oats respectively in Iraq.

Habitat and land use
The habitat is primarily desert shrub and sparsely vegetated herbaceous vegetation. Jazman provides good habitat for migratory raptors and passerines and is well known for gazelle herds that use the Iranian heights when they face pressure from hunting on the Iraqi side.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One very high threat was observed, frequent human disturbance from agriculture, hunting, and other activities, especially in the middle and lower parts of the site. Five threats were ranked as high: agricultural expansion and intensification; road construction and development; over-exploitation of species through hunting, with a focus on the Vulnerable Houbara Bustard as well as the gazelle; natural systems modification, represented by the blockage of water resources in Iran and the potential development of oil resources. There is a large oilfield that performs drilling and extraction activities in Badra Oilfield adjacent to the southern parts of this site, and the expansion of this oilfield northward is expected. Two medium threats, urbanization and pollution, particularly plastic and trash, were observed.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Jazman (Zurbatia). Downloaded from on 28/09/2023.