Dashte Nawar

Country/territory: Afghanistan

IBA Criteria met: A2, A3, A4i, A4iii (1994)
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Area: 70,000 ha

Site description
Dashte Nawar is a high desert plateau in south-east Afghanistan, c.55 km north-west of Ghazni. It is surrounded by the Kohe Baba range which rises above 4,800 m. In the centre of this desert at 3,200 m is Ab-i-Nawar, a shallow, brackish, alkaline lake of c.3,500 ha, being c.14 × 3 km; the lake contains c.40 small islands of 3500 m2. The water comes primarily from snow-melt of the surrounding mountains. The climate is hot and dry in summer and very cold in winter, with only three months of the year having mean minimum temperatures above freezing. The lake bottom supports a dense cover of algae Characeae, but the surrounding mudflats are barren except where they approach the meadows and grasses of the 'Dasht', an upland steppe plateau of meadow grasses and herbs, interspersed with shallow, mostly dry stream beds. The land is state-owned, but semi-nomadic people have grazing rights. In the 1970s some 25 villages supported c.1,200-1,500 people within the area of the Dasht, additionally c.1,300 nomads used the area as summer grazing for c.5,000-7,000 sheep and goats and 700 camels.

Key biodiversity
The site holds the highest known breeding colony of Phoenicopterus ruber (12,000 birds in 1970; 10,000 birds plus 400 young in 1975); with increasing disturbance and consistently low water levels during the 1970s at the flamingo colony at Ab-i-Istada (see site 015), that population seemed to be breeding increasingly at this site. Little other ornithological information is available. Other breeding species include Charadrius leschenaultii, Pterocles orientalis and Rhodopechys mongolica. Together with Ab-i-Istada these wetlands are of extreme importance to migratory waterfowl, the nearest comparable habitat being 600 km away in Seistan. The site was listed as a wetland of international importance by Carp (1980).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Canis lupus (V).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dashte Nawar. Downloaded from on 02/07/2022.