The site lies at c.1,500 m in a broad intermontane basin in the north-west Zagros Mountains, c.20-30 km north-west of Kermanshah, and comprises a small area of permanent freshwater pools and marshes fed by a group of large springs (Hashelan Marsh, 400 ha) and the adjacent flat cultivated plains (c.10,000 ha) which extend to the region of Doh Tappeh c.10 km to the south. The site is bordered to north, east and west by mountains, and is contiguous with the densely populated plains around Kermanshah. The principal area for bustards comprises c.5,000 ha of wheat cultivation, fallow land and rough pasture between the Ab-e-Razavar and Ghara-Su rivers. There are several small villages in the area, and high-tension power lines cross the southern edge. The pools have abundant submerged and floating vegetation, and the marshes are dominated by sedges and rushes. Land ownership is public.
See box for key species. Hashelan Marsh supports small breeding populations of Ardea purpurea and Aythya nyroca, and is of some importance for wintering waterfowl (notably A. nyroca). Ciconia ciconia is a common summer visitor. Otis tarda was a summer visitor in the 1970s; 5-10 females were thought to nest.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hashelan marsh and Doh Tappeh plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/12/2022.