Hari Rud valley

Country/territory: Afghanistan

IBA Criteria met: A1 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 35,000 ha

Site description
A 112-km stretch of valley running from Obeh (1,830 m) west to Herat city (1,050 m) in north-west Afghanistan. The valley widens considerably towards Herat and even as far east as Obeh it is c.15 km wide, and comprises barren, desert hills and plains with sparse vegetation and cultivation. Along watercourses stands of Tamarix prevail and there are Populus groves and some apricot orchards.

Key biodiversity
Other interesting breeding species include Accipiter badius (Herat), Picus squamatus flavirostris (Herat and Obeh), Alauda gulgula, Motacilla citreola and Saxicola caprata. Phasianus colchicus principalis formerly occurred in the valley, mainly to the west of Herat, but is probably extinct in Afghanistan through hunting and habitat destruction. The following are also likely to breed, given their presence 100 km further down the valley by the river and on the plains around Kohsan: Ixobrychus minutus, Buteo rufinus, Porzana porzana, Cursorius cursor, Sterna albifrons, Melanocorypha bimaculata, Calandrella acutirostris, Acrocephalus stentoreus, Hippolais rama and Rhodopechys githaginea.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hari Rud valley. Downloaded from on 03/02/2023.