Hari Rud valley

Year of compilation: 1994

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.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No conservation measures are known to have been taken. Current threats are not known, but the apparently rapid decline of the global Columba eversmanni population since c.1980 gives rise for concern for the colonies at this site, the current state of which remains completely unknown. Herat is one of the largest cities in Afghanistan thus the pressure on the surrounding semi-desert vegetation by grazing or agricultural improvement, together with the effects of years of war may mean that the C. eversmanni colonies no longer exist.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hari Rud valley. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.