The site comprises c.400 ha of permanent freshwater marshes on the plains 12 km south of Lake Uromiyeh, c.20 km north of Mahabad. The marshes are usually frozen and under snow in winter. There are extensive Phragmites beds and little open water, surrounded by a belt of seasonally flooded sedge and grassland. Peripheral areas of the wetland have been drained and converted to agricultural land. There is livestock grazing. Land ownership is public.
See box for key species. The marshes are important for breeding waterfowl, notably Plegadis falcinellus and Marmaronetta angustirostris; other breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Circus aeruginosus and Falco tinnunculus. Pelecanus onocrotalus visits to feed in summer from colonies at Lake Uromiyeh. Large numbers of ducks occur during the migration seasons, as well as Circus pygargus, Pandion haliaetus and Limosa limosa. In most winters, the wetland is frozen and devoid of birds, but in mild years it may support large numbers geese and ducks, as well as Aquila chrysaetos, Circus cyaneus and Accipiter nisus.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ghara Gheshlaq No-Hunting Area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/09/2021.