Khor Az-Zubayr

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA Criteria met: A2 (2017)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 31,854 ha

Protection status:

Nature Iraq
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
A huge tidal inlet with associated intertidal mudflats at the head of the Arabian Gulf, c.40 km south-east of Basra. Tidal amplitude is likely to be high (more than 3 m). 2014 updates. The geology of the area is gravel, sand, silt and alluvium and about 60% of the site was unvegetated but habitats at the site include salt pioneer sward vegetation and Desert shrublands. Sixsub-sites that were surveyed

Key biodiversity
The site appears never to have been visited by an ornithologist, though it was considered by Scott and Carp (1982) to be possibly of great importance for wintering waterbirds. The khawr was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980).

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

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys, 53 bird species were observed in the area. In addition to the species in the table above, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga(Vulnerable) was recorded in winter but in numbers below IBA threshold criteria. The site also held breeding populations of three Sahara-Sindian Desert biome-restricted species but this did not trigger inclusion under A3 criterion. Khor Al-Zubayr is one of two KBA sites in Iraq that regularly holds Crab Plover Dromas ardeola. Only fish data were collected for this site from 2005 to 2007, and in 2009. A total of 18 species were recorded at these sites. Significantf reshwater species, according to Coad (2010), were Acanthopagrus cf. arabicus, Carassius auratus, Liza abu, L. klunzingeri, L. subviridis, Tenualosa ilishaandSilurus triostegus. The following marine fish species observed at the site are not mentioned in Coad (2010):Caranx malabaricus, Chirocentrus dorab,Cynoglossus arel, and Eleutheronema tetradactylum, Epinephelus spp. and Liza spp. Also, the following species seen are mentioned in Coad (2010) but there is little information about them: Brachirus orientalis, Johnius belangerii,Otolithes ruber, Pampusargenteus, and Sillago sihama. In addition, a species of Mudskipper was observed, which could be found everywhere in the soft mud within the tidal areas and is unique to this area of Iraq.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khor Az-Zubayr. Downloaded from on 24/08/2019.