West Hammar

Country/territory: Iraq

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3, A4i, A4ii, A4iii (2017)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 136,326 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
West Hammar is a continuous wetland extending from Suq Ash-Shuyukh in the west to an embankment running north-south from the Euphrates just east of Chibaish, and from the Euphrates River in the north to the Main Outfall Drain Canal (MOD) in the south. Two sources of water feed the West Hammar marshes: the Euphrates River (three openings in the river embankment allow water to enter from the north) and the MOD Canal (via a connecting canal that brings the water northward to the site). Today water depth averages 0.5 to 2m at the deepest point. The geology of the area is Mesopotamian alluvium, mainly silts.

Key biodiversity
Additional Important Bird Observations: A total of 110 species was recorded. In addition to those in the table, Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (Vulnerable), Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (both Near Threatened) were seen on migration and in winter, but in sub-IBA threshold numbers; the site also held a widespread breeding population of Ferruginous Duck. The endemic race of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis and Hooded Crow Corvus cornix capellanus (also known as Mesopotamian Crow) were present. Other Important Fauna: Data were collected in 2007 only and the only mammals found were Rüppell's fox Vulpes rueppellii and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. No significant reptiles were found. Fish: Data were collected in 2005-2007 and in 2009, when 17 species were reported. Significant fish according to Coad (2010) were: Acanthobrama marmid, Acanthopagrus cf. latus, Alburnus mossulensis, Carasobarbus luteus, Carassius auratus, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinus carpio, Heteropneustes fossilis, Leuciscus vorax, Liza abu, L. klunzingeri, Luciobarbus xanthopterus, Mesopotamichthys sharpeyi, Silurus triostegus and Tor grypus. Mastacembelus mastacembelus was also documented, which is of no commercial importance but its conservation status in Iraq is unknown. One marine species Bathygobius fuscus was observed. Additional Plant and Habitat Information: This site contains a good population of Phragmites australis and Typha domingensis, which are economically and culturally important.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: West Hammar. Downloaded from on 19/02/2020.