An area of undulating plains set at 1,260 m between ranges of stony hills on either side of the Zarrineh Rud, lying between the villages of Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu, 15-32 km south-east of Miandoab and c.45 km east-north-east of Mahabad. The site also includes Nowruzlu Dam, a small water storage reservoir of c.1,000 ha on the Zarrineh Rud in the north-west. The plain is fairly heavily populated, with several villages and a complex network of gravel and dirt roads. A line of high-tension power cables crosses the site. The plains are cultivated (primarily wheat) and the adjacent rolling hills are Artemisia steppe. There is a small marshy area with some reedbeds and shrubby vegetation where the river enters Nowruzlu Dam. Livestock (mainly sheep and goats) graze on fallow land and the adjacent hills.
See box for key species. The site is known to have been an important breeding area for Otis tarda in the 1960s, and there were still several nesting there in the 1970s; the plains are regularly visited by flocks in spring and autumn, with a maximum of 37 in November 1972. Nowruzulu Dam is an important feeding area for Pelecanus onocrotalus and Platalea leucorodia from the breeding colonies at Lake Uromiyeh, and occasionally holds large numbers of waterfowl during the spring and autumn migration seasons. Flocks of Anser albifrons and A. anser frequent the area in winter.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
High levels of disturbance from farming activities render much of the area unsuitable for bustards, and the high-tension power lines may constitute a hazard to them in flight.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023.