Akh Gol

Country/territory: Iran, Islamic Republic of

IBA criteria met: A1, B1i, B2 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 600 ha

Site description (baseline)
A small fresh to brackish lake and marshes set at 820 m in an amphitheatre of rugged lava hills on the south side of the Aras valley in extreme north-west Iran, 115 km north of Khoy near the border with Armenia. The lake is fed by small springs and local run-off, and drains eastwards into the Aras river c.5 km away. The small western portion of the lake retains water all summer, but the main eastern section dries out in late summer, exposing extensive mudflats. The lake is generally frozen and snow-covered in mid-winter. There are extensive reedbeds Phragmites around the lake's western margins, and a large area of brackish Salicornia flats with scattered clumps of Phragmites and Tamarix on the plains to the east. The hills to the north and south support shrub-steppe vegetation dominated by Artemisia. Livestock are grazed in the area and there is probably some waterfowl hunting. Land ownership is public.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The site is primarily important for its breeding waterfowl which include many Himantopus himantopus and smaller numbers of five other species of shorebirds.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Akh Gol. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.