Hindiya Barrage

Site description (1994 baseline):

Site location and context
A barrage on the River Euphrates c.5 km south of Al Musayyib and c.65 km south of Baghdad. In 1934 there were a few marshy spots and pools near the river, with Salix patches, extensive fruit and vegetable gardens and date-palm groves, and further away open irrigated land with corn and scrub. .

Key biodiversity
There is little information from the site since the 1930s. Other breeding species included Podiceps nigricollis, Circus aeruginosus (common), Porphyrio porphyrio (common), Glareola pratincola, Cursorius cursor, Vanellus leucurus (common), Larus genei, Sterna hirundo (large colonies) and Halcyon smyrnensis (abundant). Calidris minuta occurred in large numbers on passage.

Non-bird biodiversity: No information available to BirdLife International.

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observation: During the survey, 28 bird species were observed. In addition to those listed in the table above, the site supported two breeding Sahara-Sindian Desert biome-restricted species but these did not trigger inclusion under the A3 criterion. The endemic race of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis and endemic race of Hooded Crow Corvus cornix capellanus (also known as Mesopotamian Crow) breed at the site. Hunters and locals reported that Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris breeds. Other Important Fauna: No observations were made at this site but local reports suggested the presence of wild cats and foxes (species could not be distinguished).There was no fish survey, but fishermen report the presence of the introduced species Tilapia zillii.

Habitat and land use
2014 updates. An original IBA site (IBA019) listed by Evans (1994), this site consists of a network of waterways centered on the Euphrates River and created by the Hindiya Barrage, originally built in the early 1900s.Upstream of the barrage are several branching canals/rivers, chiefly the main stem of the Euphrates and the Shatt Al-Hilla rivers, which are surrounded by marshes. Large numbers of waterfowl and various species of gulls were observed in this area. Hunting and fishing close to the barrage regulator are prohibited and entry to the dam area is restricted by police, which has protected the large assemblage of waterfowl. The site is surrounded by dense palm orchards and a few open agricultural areas. The geology of the area is Mesopotamian alluvium, mainly silts and the habitats include marsh reed beds of Phragmites australis and Typha dominguensis; rooted submerged vegetation and riparian vegetation, as well as shrub woodlands.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No conservation measures are known to have been taken. There is no information on current threats to the site, though its habitats have presumably suffered badly from the decreasing flow of the Euphrates since the 1970s (see site 039). No conservation measures are known to have been proposed. 2014 updates. Human activities including farming were ranked as a ‘very high’ threat. Movement of the locals close to the regulator itself is prohibited, but these activities outside this zone (but still inside the delineated KBA) are a significant threat to the site. Five threats were ranked ‘high’: the expansion of agriculture that has turned the dry areas into farms and orchards; urban expansion from Hindiya city, transportation and roads development on both sides of the river, hunting and fishing within the river, and Pollution. Also, continuous accumulation of floating trash and plastic carried by the flow of the river. This accumulates behind a boom fixed across the river to prevent garbage and other objects from entering the regulator. An additional threat comes from the invasive fish Tilapia zilli and its potential effects on the biodiversity of the river and its fish assemblage.

Information compiled by D. J. Brooks, reviewed by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh and Dr Hanna Y. Siman.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Hindiya Barrage. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.