The site lies in the eastern Zagros Mountains c.180 km north of Bandar Abbas and encompasses the somewhat isolated Kuh-i Khabr massif with the twin peaks of Khabr and Rouchoon, and extends from the sandy plains at the base of the foothills (at c.1,800 m) to the highest peaks at 3,862 m. The mountains are extremely rugged, with precipitous cliffs and crags, and volcanic outcrops. Snow fields near the summits linger well into summer. Habitats include: sandy plains and stony outwash plains at low elevations, with steppic vegetation dominated by Artemisia and some areas of wheat cultivation; open park-like woodland of Pistacia, Amygdalus, Acer and Ephedra on the lower slopes and in the central valley; mixed Juniperus and Amygdalus woodland on the higher slopes and crags; and montane steppe with low cushion-like vegetation on the highest ridges and summits. Large springs in the central valley support stands of Populus and Juglans and are used to irrigate orchards and small areas of wheat. There are several small villages.
See box for key species. The breeding avifauna is typical of the high mountains of south-east Iran, with a good variety of woodland and high montane species, and some desert species at the lowest elevations. Ciconia nigra was suspected of breeding in 1975. Other notable breeding species not listed below include Hirundo obsoleta, Anthus similis, Turdoides caudatus, Parus lugubris, Lanius isabellinus, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Petronia xanthocollis and Emberiza buchanani. At least 92 species have been recorded.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Caracal caracal (rare), Panthera pardus (rare), Gazella dorcas fuscifrons (V), Capra hircus aegagrus (rare) and Ovis ammon (rare). Selenarctos thibetanus (V) may occur.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khabr-va-Rouchoon Wildlife Refuge. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/02/2023.