Site description (1994 baseline)
Lowland flood-plains of the Amu Darya (Oxus) river, interspersed with tributaries and islands, c.80 km north of Taloqan, at 400-450 m. Extensive swamp woodland formerly dominated this region: vast tracts of reeds Phragmites interspersed with thickets of Tamarix and Salix trees and quite large stands of Elaeagnus woodland. However in recent years no doubt much has been destroyed and turned into cultivation as it has been on the north side of the river in Tajikistan and elsewhere on the river.
See box for key species. The site is virtually unstudied ornithologically but, together with Imam Sahib (site 002) further west along the river, it was known in the 1970s to contain the last remnants of Phasianus colchicus bianchii in Afghanistan. Other (probable) breeding species include Vanellus leucurus, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Acrocephalus concinens (possible),A. melanopogon, Panurus biarmicus and Riparia paludicola. Large numbers of unspecified wildfowl utilize the area on migration.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: in the 1970s the area was extremely important for the last remnants of two endangered subspecies: Cervus elaphus bactrianus and Panthera tigris virgatus (E; last record was of tracks found in 1967). However, the continued presence of the latter is now highly unlikely, and it is considered extinct.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Darqad. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/darqad-iba-afghanistan on 30/11/2023.