Shatt Al Arab marshes

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A4i, B1i, B2 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 43,000 ha

Nature Iraq
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
These marshes lie along the c.165 km of the Shatt Al Arab waterway from 31°00'N 47°25'E to 29°55'N 48°30'E, mainly between Qurnah and Basrah (c.65 km), and include Haur Al Shaibah (15 km north of Basrah), Qarmat Ali, Khamisiyah and Shafi. Shafi wetland (30°53'N 47°31'E) is a small reed-marsh near the town of Shafi on the Basrah to Amara road, 30 km from Basrah.

Key biodiversity
According to Savage (1968), the marshes are important for wintering Anser anser and dabbling ducks, mainly Anas platyrhynchos and A. crecca, and breeding Marmaronetta angustirostris. The muddy shores of the Shatt Al Arab are an important feeding area for passage and wintering shorebirds. The area was most recently surveyed in 1968, 1975 and 1979; all visits were in January, and were brief and incomplete; notable winter visitors included Ciconia ciconia (105), Milvus migrans (305) and Vanellus leucurus (50).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Information compiled by Dr D. A. Scott and D. J. Brooks, reviewed by Dr Khalid Y. Al-Dabbagh and Dr Hanna Y. Siman.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Shatt Al Arab marshes. Downloaded from on 01/10/2022.