A freshwater lake of at least 500 ha lying at c.2,300 m on the north slope of the southern Zagros, c.105 km north-north-east of Shiraz. Situated in a region of rolling Artemisia steppe and wheat cultivation, the lake and marsh are generally frozen all winter and can dry out completely in summer. The dominant vegetation in the eastern part is Butomus umbellatus and Sparganium, and in the western part mainly grassy plants.
See box for key species. A very important staging area for Phoenicopterus ruber, geese, ducks and Grus grus, and occasionally (if not frozen) also a very important wintering area. In spring and autumn the lake can hold as many as 120,000 migratory waterfowl (including P. ruber and G. grus). Other passage migrants include Pelecanus onocrotalus, Anser anser and Tadorna ferruginea.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There is no legal protection, though the lake has been proposed as a Ramsar Site. A proposal by the Ministry of Jihad to utilize the water for irrigation purposes has recently been blocked by the Department of the Environment because of the site’s ornithological importance, but this could resurface. In recent years, large-scale die-offs of waterfowl, possibly due to botulism, have been reported during the breeding and migration seasons, and the mortality can be as high as 10,000 birds.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kaftar lake. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2023.