Site description (2014 baseline):

Site location and context
This site consists of foothills and lowlands including a narrow riparian strip along the Tigris and Fishkhaboor (Khabour) Rivers. A pontoon bridge and a newly constructed bridge cross the river approximately 6.3 km downstream of the point where the Tigris River enters Iraq, which allows access to the Syrian border. This is the only KBA site that falls within the Iraqi portion of the Eastern Mediterranean Ecoregion (PA1207) as defined by the World Wildlife Fund, however Fishkhaboor does not clearly show the key features associated with this ecoregion

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: During the survey a total of 36 species were recorded. The site held breeding populations of one Mediterranean, two Irano-Turanian and one Sahara-Sindian biome-restricted species but these did not trigger inclusion under criterion A3. Other Important Fauna: Mammal data were collected in summer 2010. According to local interviews, significant mammals seen at the site include Grey Wolf Canis lupus, and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra (Near Threatened) tracks were found along the river. Fish: Alburnus mossulensis, Cyprinion kais, C. macrostomum, Garra rufa, and Liza abu were recorded in 2008. Additional Plant & Habitat Information: Two species, Centaurea pseudosinaica and Brassica kaber, were recorded in Iraq for the first time at this site.

Habitat and land use
The main habitat here is Riverine Forest of the Plains. The site is located in the moist steppe zone, and the geology is sandstones, clay, and sandy gravels and soil type is sandy clay. There are extensive gravel mining operations throughout the area on the Tigris and Fishkhaboor Rivers. Two sub-sites were visited in this area.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Fishkhaboor received a rating of medium or high for five of the threat categories assessed. High threats were over-exploitation of species (border police at the site reported hunting in the area), human intrusion and disturbance (minefields are aggregated on the Iraqi-Turkish border, in areas near Tuwan such as Cheae Bekher and Ware Smaili) and pollution, particualrly sewage from the city of Zakho upstream. Very high threats were mining (gravel) along the Fishkhaboor River as well as the Tigris; transportation and service corridors (especially road building in areas where most gravel mining occurs); Many of these threats have caused extensive damage to the riparian forest habitat. Agriculture and commercial development present medium threats to the area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Fishkhaboor. Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.