Halgurd Mountain is considered by many to be Iraq’s highest peak at approximately 3613 m though a nearby peak Cheekha Dar or Black Tent (36.775278°N 44.918611°E) may also be a contender (Wikipedia, 2012; CIA 2012). Halgurd is part of the Hasarost (or Hasār-i Rōst) Mountain Range (itself part of the Zagros Range) near the Iranian border. The mountain retains some snow throughout the summer. Despite the fact that many places on the mountain are heavily mined, the slopes are used for summer grazing. A number of villages at lower elevations grow vegetables and raise livestock.
Additional Important Bird Observations: During the survey, 33 species were observed. The site held breeding populations of three Mediterranean and one Eurasian High-Montane biome-restricted species but did these did not trigger inclusion under criterion A3. No additional non-avian fauna observations were made and while there are important alpine and mountain streams no fish surveys were conducted.
Additional Plant & Habitat Information: This site contains a good population of Allium akaka, which is important as a traditional food as well as a good population of Rheum ribes, which is economically important.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Although threats to the area were generally assessed as low, non-extractive human intrusion present a very high threat due to the extensive presence of land mines. Hunting was assessed as hunting threats. There are vegetable farms in the villages surrounding Halgurd Mountain operating on a small scale that could prove a threat if expanded. Garbage and trash dumps have been reported and may represent a higher threat than was observed in the KBA Surveys.
Habitat and land use
Two key habitats surveyed here are mountain forest vegetation—thorn-cushion vegetation and alpine zone vegetation. The geology of the mountain consists of basic igneous rock, radiolarian chert, siliceous and calcareous shale, and metamorphic schist and limestone of unknown age, and the soil types are serpentine, sandy clay, and clay. The non-vegetated area was about 50% of the site.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Halgurd Mountain. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/01/2023.