Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud

Country/territory: Iran, Islamic Republic of

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2 (1994)
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Area: 500 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
1994 high not assessed not assessed
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Site description (baseline)
Bandar Kiashahr Lagoon lies immediately east of the mouth of the Sefid Rud (river), c.40 km east of Bandar Anzali, in the south-west Caspian region. In the early 1970s it was a shallow, brackish coastal lagoon with fringing Juncus marshes in an area of coastal sand-dunes and grassland; it was fed by local run-off, and drained north-east through a narrow channel into the Caspian, having formed in 1960 as a result of the falling level of the Caspian and development of coastal sand spits. The 1.8 m rise in the level of the Caspian since 1978 has converted the wetland into a bay with broad entrance to the sea, similar to the situation in the 1950s. The marshy grassland and sand-dune areas at the mouth of the Sefid Rud have, however, remained more or less unchanged, while new wetland habitats have been created to the west of the river mouth. The lagoon supports relatively little vegetation other than algae. Freshwater marshes at the extreme west end of the lagoon support some beds of Phragmites and Typha, while the southern and eastern shores are dominated by Juncus and grasses. Sandy areas to the west and north-west are covered in scrub and grassland which give way to sand-dune vegetation near the Caspian shore. Grassland along the banks of the Sefid Rud floods seasonally. Land to the south of the wetland is mostly under cultivation, although there are some relict patches of Alnus woodland near the wetland. The lagoon is an important centre for commercial fishing, and there is a large fisheries station on the south shore. Grazing of livestock, reed-cutting and wildfowl hunting also occur. Land ownership is public.

Key biodiversity
See boxes for key species. The area is an important staging and wintering area for a wide variety of migratory waterfowl, notably grebes, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, ducks, shorebirds, gulls and terns, and for Circus aeruginosus and Falco columbarius. The open grassy areas and dunes near the river mouth provide breeding habitat for Glareola pratincola, while a small patch of woodland to the south of the lagoon supports a large colony of Phalacrocorax carbo, Nycticorax nycticorax and other herons and egrets. Ixobrychus minutus is a passage migrant or summer visitor.

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: Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud. Downloaded from on 02/06/2023.