Auda Marsh

Year of compilation: 1994

Site description
One of the chain of haurs stretching from Haur Al Sa’adiyah in the north to Haur Al Hammar in the south, situated about 40 km south-west of Amara town (Georg and Savage 1970a). The haur overflows into the extreme north-western portion of the main marshes north of Haur Al Hammar. 2014 updates. The geology of the area is Mesopotamian alluvium, mainly silts.

Key biodiversity
Haur Auda was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980). It has not been ornithologically surveyed, but is likely to be of major importance given its size and proximity to wetlands of known importance.

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

2014 updates. Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys, 32 bird species were observed. In addition to those listed above, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga(Vulnerable) was found wintering as well as Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (all Near Threatened) on passage and in winter, but in sub-IBA threshold numbers. The site also held breeding populations of four Sahara-Sindian Desert biome-restricted species but these did not trigger inclusion under criterion A3. The endemic race of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis breeds in the area. Other Important Fauna: The site might harbor the Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Vulnerable). The isolated population in the Lower Mesopotamian marshlands is regarded as a separate subspecies L. p.maxwelli population but its status and distribution have been unclear due to confusion with the Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra (Near Threatened),which also occurs in the region. Recent surveys (Omer et al. 2012, Al-Sheikhly and Nader 2013) have confirmed the presence of smooth-coated otter in the southern marshes for the first time since the 1950s-1960s and it is likely that this species occurs in Auda Marsh, as well as other parts of the Tigris wetlands and marshes on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border. Fish: Data were collected for the years 2006 and 2007 only, during which 14 species were reported. According to Coad (2010), the following significant species were: Carasobarbusluteus, Carassius auratus, Ctenopharyngodon idella,Cyprinus carpio,Heteropneustes fossilis, Leuciscus vorax, Liza abu, Luciobarbusxanthopterus, andMesopotamichthyssharpeyi, and Silurus triostegus. In addition Mastacembelusmastacembelus was also documented, which is of no economic importance but their conservation status in Iraq is unknown. Species for which there is a lack of information are Eleutheronema tetradactylum, Bathygobius fuscus, and Nemipterus bleekeri(Coad, 2010).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No conservation measures are known to have been taken. There is no information on the current status of the site or whether it is threatened, but it does not seem likely that it has escaped some of the degradation suffered by other marshes in southern Iraq (see site 039). No conservation measures are known to have been proposed. 2014 updates. The situation of this marsh in summer is quite poor and the water level has declined continuously because of reduced inflow. Due to the lack of outlets, the waters of Auda tend to stagnate. For these reasons, natural systems modification was considered a ‘very high’ threat to the site. Three ‘high’ threats were observed, represented by agricultural expansion, over-exploitation of species through hunting (mainly birds) and fishing, including electro-fishing. Two ‘medium’ threats were road construction and pollution. Despite the poor condition, the site still attracts a number of birds that are threatened or of conservation concern, as the reed beds provide suitable shelter.

Habitat and land use
2014 updates. Previously, and during the drought period, the predominant plants were Tamarix and Suaeda and the site still includes shrub woodlands with Capparisspinosa, Tamrixsp.,and Suaedasp. but with reflooding marshland species appeared such as Phragmitesaustralis,Typhadomingensis, and Schoenoplectuslittoralisalong with rooted submerged vegetation. During the survey, there was clear evidence of eutrophication due to a lack of water flow. During the summer surveys, the marsh was semi-dry and the water concentrated in the old drainages canals but some flooded patches close by provide good foraging habitat for waders and herons.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Auda Marsh. Downloaded from on 02/07/2020.