Qara Dagh

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2014)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 25,345 ha

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

Site description
This area consists of a mountain ridge with rocky slopes and many gorges and valleys The ridge is over 100 km long and runs from northwest to southeast, but the survey area encompasses only about half of the ridge, primarily the southeastern part. A paved road traverses the ridge. There is also at least one deep cave system, Kuna Ba, within the Qara Dagh range. An important archeological site is also located in Qara Dagh, which consists of an ancient rock carving along a stream, which is now part of a water diversion project related to oil development. The geology of the area was sedimentary and the soil type was clay. There are farmland and villages nearby (primarily around the base of the ridge but there are some houses on the ridge itself.

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: During the surveys a total of 87 species was recorded. In addition to those listed in the table the site also held breeding White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis, a Sahara-Sindian Desert biome-restricted species. The Eastern Cinereous Bunting Emberiza semenowi mentioned in the table above is Near Threatened. Other Important Fauna: Data collected on 2007-2010 surveys found field signs of a considerable number of the Muridae family that remain unidentified. Wild Goats Capra aegagrus (Vulnerable) were the subject of a specific study in 2011. A Persian Leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor (Endangered) was camera-trapped during the survey, which was the first photographic record of the species in Iraq. Wild Cat Felis silvestris, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Indian Crested Porcupine Hystrix indica, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, and Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus were also camera-trapped. Grey Wolf Canis lupus, Goitered Gazelle Gazella subgutturosa (Vulnerable), Indian Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsii, and Jungle Cat Felis chaus are likely present. It is also likely that a variety of bat species inhabit the Kuna Ba cave system and other caves. Iraq’s mammal checklist includes several bats of conservation concern but these species are poorly studied. Fish: Surveys were only conducted in 2007 and 2008 (summer), and three species were found. Two significant species, according to Coad (2010) were Alburnus mossulensis and Garra rufa. The conservation status in Iraq of the third species, Capoeta damascina, is unknown. Additional Plant & Habitat Information: Qara Dagh contains a good population of Pistacia eurycarpa and P. khinjuk, which are culturally and economically important, as well as Arum conophalloides, Anchusa italica, Crataegus azarolus, Gundelia tournefortii, and Rumex ribes, which are economically important as traditional food plants. Also Aegilops crassa, A. columnaris, A. umbellulata, Bromus danthoniae, B. brachystachys, Hordeum bulbosum, and Triticum aestivum are important genetic resources.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Qara Dagh. Downloaded from on 31/01/2023.