A small area of swampy woodland and freshwater marshes adjacent to the Caspian beach c.10 km south of Astara. The site is bordered to the west by the main coast road from Astara to Bandar Anzali. The narrow coastal plain comprises a series of old beach ridges, with swampy woodland dominated by Alnus, permanent pools with extensive stands of Juncus in the depressions, and scrub on high ground. Land ownership is public.
See box for key species. A pair of Haliaeetus albicilla bred in the area in the 1970s, and may still do so. The wetlands support small numbers of waterfowl in winter, for example Egretta garzetta (120), while the adjacent beach occasionally holds substantial numbers of shorebirds for short periods during migration. Situated on the west coast of the Caspian, at a point where the coastal plain is almost at its narrowest, the site lies in a bird migration corridor, and is thus an excellent locality for observing migration. Large numbers of herons and egrets have been observed migrating south over the site and adjacent Caspian Sea in autumn (including 1,320 in a single day in September), while a wide variety of migrant landbirds occur in the woodlands and marshes. At least 167 species have been recorded in the reserve.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The entire area was designated a Wildlife Refuge in about 1975. No conservation measures are known to have been proposed. Since the 1970s, the area has become threatened by major sea-level rise and land-use changes in recent years.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lavandavil Wildlife Refuge. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 04/02/2023.