Haditha Wetlands and Baghdadi

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2014)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 48,274 ha

Nature Iraq
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2014 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The site encompasses both banks of the Euphrates River in Baghdadi town. The habitats surveyed in this area included desert shrublands and sparsely vegetated herbaceous vegetation in sparsely vegetated lands as well as riparian vegetation, reedbed and reedmace beds, and rooted submerged vegetation. The geology of the area is Euphrates limestone, shelly, dolomitized limestone.

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: A total of 84 species was recorded. In addition to those listed in the table the following were observed on passage or in winter at levels that did not meet IBA criteria: in winter Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (Vulnerable), Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (Near Threatened), Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (Vulnerable) and Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus (Near Threatened). Other Important Fauna: A local hunter reported on the rare hunting via electrocution of Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra near Haqlaniya. Golden Jackal, Canis aureus have been observed. The veterinary control center of the Coalition forces that were formerly stationed at Al-Asad military base have reported the trapping of adult male Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena near the base perimeter as well as Rueppell’s fox Vulpes rueppelli and Jungle catFelis chaus in 2010. One amphibian species was observed at the site: Variable Toad Bufotes variabilis. Fish: While the Euphrates River was not surveyed for fish, the site is important because the sink hole at Sheikh Hadid Shrine contains two endemic cave-dwelling, blind fish species: Typhlogarra widdowsoni and Caecocypris basimi (both Vulnerable). During a spring survey visit in 2012 to the sink hole the team looked for two species that were described in Iraq more than 50 and 32 years ago respectively by Trewavas (1955) & Bannister and Bunni (1980), the team found 25 individuals of Typhlogarra widdowsoni but Caecocypris basimiwas not seen. Recent communication with the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group recommended that both species be upgraded to Critically Endangered status. Also the site is reported to be an important spawning ground for important species such as Luciobarbus esocinus and Luciobarbus xanthopterus.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Haditha Wetlands and Baghdadi. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.