The Kuh-i Taftan massif, a dormant volcano, is the highest mountain range in northern Baluchistan, situated near the Pakistan border, c.100 km south-south-east of Zahedan. The site extends from the deeply dissected stony outwash plains, at c.900 m in the east and 1,800 m in the west, to the summit at over 4,042 m. The dominant plant community at all altitudes is a steppic vegetation with Artemisia averaging c.30 cm high. Other associations, such as those formed by the thorny cushions of Astragalus or by a species of Umbelliferae, occur locally. No grassy areas exist except for a small patch near the top of the east slope. A belt of very open woodland with Pistacia and Amygdalus trees occurs at elevations varying from c.2,200 m on the eastern slope to 2,600 m on the west. Here the Artemisia association is mixed with taller species, sometimes reaching 1 m high. There are a few scattered Juniperus trees on the upper slopes. Snow fields near the summit linger well into summer and feed a number of perennial mountain streams which support small areas of irrigated agriculture and Populus groves in the valleys below c.2,000 m. There is some grazing by sheep and goats on the lower slopes. The Zahedan-Chahbahar road passes over the western flank of the mountain.
See box for key species. The avifauna is typical of the high mountain ranges and Pistacia-Amygdalus woodland of south-east Iran. Other notable breeding species include Anthus similis, Hippolais rama, S. hortensis, Lanius isabellinus, L. vittatus, Petronia xanthocollis, Serinus pusillus and Emberiza buchanani. Phylloscopus inornatus humei is a fairly common passage migrant and/or winter visitor.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kuh-i Taftan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/02/2023.