South end of the Hamoun-i Puzak

Country/territory: Iran, Islamic Republic of

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 14,900 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
1994 very high not assessed not assessed
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Site description (baseline)
The Hamoun-i Puzak is a freshwater lake of c.35,000 ha, with extensive reedbeds, in the Sistan basin. Most of the lake lies in Afghanistan, but c.10,000 ha in the south-west is within Iran. The entire lake is very shallow, probably not exceeding 1 m deep. The Iranian portion consists of a complex of open-water areas with rich submerged vegetation (principally Ceratophyllum) and extensive Typha and Phragmites. The Hamoun-i Puzak receives most of its water from the Parian branch of the Hirmand river which enters the lake in the north and east. The Puzak is the first of the three hamouns to fill during wet periods and probably never dries out completely, even in the severest droughts. In early 1992, following a series of wet years, the wetlands were in excellent condition, with clear water, rich submerged vegetation and extensive reedbeds. The site includes the marshes around Takht-e Edalat (formerly Takht-e Shah) and Mahmoodi. Vast beds of Phragmites cover much of the Hamoun-i Puzak, and there is relatively little open water. On the Iranian side of the border, Typha now dominates, having replaced Phragmites since the 1970s, apparently as a result of heavy grazing. The wetland is fringed with Tamarix thickets and the adjacent land is degraded steppe and irrigated cultivation. There are several small villages on the edge of the marsh, and, though primarily dependent on livestock breeding, the local people are increasingly taking advantage of the lake's rich fishery. Reeds are cut and used locally as forage for livestock, for constructing boats, for fabricating wind-breaks and as fuel.

Key biodiversity
See boxes for key species. An important wintering area for ducks and Fulica atra and a staging area for a wide variety of species, including many shorebirds. In wet years, the wetlands may also be important for breeding waterfowl. Circus aeruginosus is present all year, with up to 45 in winter.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: South end of the Hamoun-i Puzak. Downloaded from on 02/06/2023.