Mosul Lake

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2017)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 48,128 ha

Protection status:

Nature Iraq
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 very high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This site consists of a large freshwater lake reservoir created by the Mosul Dam southwest of Dohuk city. This earthen embankment dam was completed in 1984 but has been under constant repair as it is built upon gypsum, a material that dissolves in water. A US Army Corps of Engineers report (Paley, 2007) stated that due to the possibility of the foundation eroding, “Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world." Due to security concerns, the survey focused on the eastern (Dohuk Governorate) side of the lake in a limited area.

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: During the 2007-2010 surveys, 87 species were observed. European Roller Coracias garrulus (Near Threatened) was breeding and Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (Vulnerable) occurred in winter, but at levels that did not meet IBA criteria. In winter the site held up to 2500 of the armenicus race of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. Other Important Fauna: Data were only collected for fish in 2007 and 2008, when 14 species were reported. Significant species, according to Coad (2010), were: Acanthobrama marmid, Carassius auratus, Cyprinion kais, Cyprinion macrostomum, Cyprinus carpio, Heteropneustes fossilis, Liza abu, Luciobarbus esocinus, Luciobarbus xanthopterus, Silurus triostegus, and Tor grypus. Additionally three species have an unknown conservation status in Iraq: Alburnus caeruleus, Capoeta damascina, and Mastacembelus mastacembelus.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mosul Lake. Downloaded from on 12/12/2019.