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Waterbirds in coastal wetlands along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran, January-February 2000


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In January and February 2000, about 20 wetland sites were visited to count waterbirds and pay special attention to the presence of Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris, a Globally Threatened species. At least 1,200 Eurasian Curlews N. arquata and 240 Whimbrels N. phaeopus were checked individually, but no Slender-billed Curlews were observed. More than 53,000 waterbirds of 82 species were counted during the survey, including Globally Threatened Species like Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus. Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris, Ferrugineous Duck Aythya nyroca, White-tailed Eagle Halaeetus albicilla, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, and Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca. Only a small part of the wetlands along the Iranian Gulf coast were counted and a total of over 240,000 waders were estimated to winter in the surveyed wetlands. Our survey suggests that the total Iranian Gulf coast is very important for waterbirds and in particular for waders and Dalmatian Pelican. Apparently suitable habitat for Slender-billed Curlews, including irrigated wheat fields, extensive salt marshes and marshland close to intertidal mudflats, was found in the Hilleh Protected Area (42,600 ha) and Monde Protected Area (46,700 ha), as well as much of the surrounding area up to Bushehr and Monde River Delta.
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Zoology in the Middle East
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Waterbirds in coastal wetlands
along the Persian Gulf coast of
Iran, January–February 2000
Tom M. van der Have a , Guido O. Keijl a , Jamshid
Mansoori b & Vladimir V. Morozov c
a Working Group International Wader and Waterbird
Research (WIWO) , P.O. Box 925, 3700 AX Zeist , The
b Department of the Environment , Tehran , Islamic
Repubic of Iran
c Zoological Museum , Moscow , Russia
Published online: 28 Feb 2013.
To cite this article: Tom M. van der Have , Guido O. Keijl , Jamshid Mansoori &
Vladimir V. Morozov (2002) Waterbirds in coastal wetlands along the Persian Gulf
coast of Iran, January–February 2000, Zoology in the Middle East, 26:1, 71-88, DOI:
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Waterbirds in coastal wetlands along the Persian Gulf
coast of Iran, January–February 2000
by Tom M. van der Have, Guido O. Keijl, Jamshid Mansoori, and
Vladimir V. Morozov
Abstract. In January and February 2000, about 20 wetland sites were visited to count waterbirds
and pay special attention to the presence of Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris, a
Globally Threatened species. At least 1,200 Eurasian Curlews N. arquata and 240 Whimbrels N.
phaeopus were checked individually, but no Slender-billed Curlews were observed. More than
53,000 waterbirds of 82 species were counted during the survey, including Globally Threatened
Species like Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris,
Ferrugineous Duck Aythya nyroca, White-tailed Eagle Halaeetus albicilla, Greater Spotted Eagle
Aquila clanga, and Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca. Only a small part of the wetlands along the
Iranian Gulf coast were counted and a total of over 240,000 waders were estimated to winter in
the surveyed wetlands. Our survey suggests that the total Iranian Gulf coast is very important for
waterbirds and in particular for waders and Dalmatian Pelican. Apparently suitable habitat for
Slender-billed Curlews, including irrigated wheat fields, extensive salt marshes and marshland
close to intertidal mudflats, was found in the Hilleh Protected Area (42,600 ha) and Monde Pro-
tected Area (46,700 ha), as well as much of the surrounding area up to Bushehr and Monde River
Kurzfassung. Im Januar und Februar 2000 wurden etwa 20 Feuchtgebiete besucht, um Wasser-
vogelzählungen durchzuführen, wobei besonders auch auf ein mögliches Auftreten des global
bedrohten Dünnschnabelbrachvogels, Numenius tenuirostris, geachtet wurde. Mindestens 1.200
Große Brachvögel, N. arquata, und 240 Regenbrachvögel, N. phaeopus, wurden einzeln inspi-
ziert, aber es wurden darunter keine Dünnschnabelbrachvögel entdeckt. Während der Zählungen
wurden über 53,000 Wasservögel in 82 Arten gezählt, darunter global bedrohte Arten wie Kraus-
kopfpelikan, Pelecanus crispus, Marmelente, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Moorente, Aythya
nyroca, Seeadler, Halaeetus albicilla, Schelladler, Aquila clanga, und Kaiseradler, Aquila helia-
ca. Nur ein kleiner Ausschnitt der iranischen Golfküste konnte erfasst werden, und es wird ge-
schätzt, dass über 240,000 Limikolen alleine in den erfassten Feuchtgebieten überwintern. Die
Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die gesamte iranische Golfküste für Wasservögel sehr wichtig ist, insbe-
sondere für Limikolen und Krauskopfpelikane. Offenbar günstige Habitate für den Dünnschna-
belbrachvogel, einschließlich bewässerter Weizenfelder, ausgedehnte Salzmarschen und Sumpf-
gebiete, die nahe dem Watt liegen, wurden insbesondere im Hilleh Protected Area (42,600 ha)
und im Monde Protected Area (46,700 ha) festgestellt, und auch in der Umgebung bis nach Bus-
hehr und das Delta des Monde-Flusses.
Key words: Waders, ducks, distribution, species diversity, Slender-billed Curlew, Numenius
tenuirostris, Middle East, Iran.
Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002: 71–88.
ISSN 0939-7140 © Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg
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72 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Waterbirds surveys in Iran have been carried out since the mid-1970’s (SCOTT 1995) and
based on this information a large number of Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) have been identi-
fied (EVANS 1994). However, during these surveys relatively little attention has been paid to
small waders, due to time-consuming identification, and because part of the surveys were
conducted by airplane, during which most waders can hardly be identified. Since the total
area of intertidal mudflats is considerable, large numbers of waders and other waterbirds are
present in winter. However, even though SUMMERS et al. (1987) and ZWARTS et al. (1991)
presented estimates of waders wintering along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran little is known
on numbers and densities.
During recent midwinter waterbird surveys in the 1980’s and 1990’s regular observations
of a small number of Slender-billed Curlews along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran were made
(GRETTON 1991, BirdLife International database). The Slender-billed Curlew is a Critically
Endangered species (COLLAR et al. 1994). Both population size and breeding range are
unknown, but it is likely that the total population presently numbers less than 100 individu-
als (GRETTON 1991, BELIK 1994). No regular wintering areas are known since 1995 and
only a handful of birds has been observed on passage in recent years (BirdLife International
database). The Slender-billed Curlew used to be common as a wintering bird in the
Mediterranean region and occurred regularly in southern Europe in the 19th century. The
apparent absence of the species in Iran in the 1970’s initiated interest in the species and in its
fate elsewhere (SCOTT & PRATER in: GRETTON 1991). Therefore, the Slender-billed Curlew
Working Group considered a midwinter survey of the Iranian Gulf coast with a focus on the
Slender-billed Curlew to be of high priority. A waterbird census of the Gulf coast of Iran
was identified as a research priority in the Foundation WIWO Forward Plan 1999-2003
(WIWO 1999), as particularly waders have not been counted in detail before. In addition,
more information is needed to identify new and evaluate the conservation status of current
Important Bird Areas in Iran.
As a result, a short project was organized in winter of 2000, with the main aims to: (1)
carry out a survey of the Persian Gulf coast of the Islamic Republic of Iran to find Slender-
billed Curlews; (2) carry out and assist in a general midwinter wader and waterbird count,
focusing on Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel; (3) design a follow-up study for a complete
waterbird survey of the Persian Gulf coast of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This paper pre-
sents the results of this survey and briefly discusses the waterbird diversity, wader distribu-
tion and conservation status of the visited IBA’s.
Study areas and methods
Study areas
Between 13 January and 3 February 2000 about 20 different wetlands, including estuaries, la-
goons (khor), intertidal mudflats, mangroves (hara), and fresh water marshes, were visited (VAN
DER HAVE et al. 2001). All these wetlands border the Persian Gulf coast of Iran between the Hilleh
River Delta (29°10'N 50°50'E) near Bushehr in the north down to Jask (25°40'N 57°40'E) in the
south along the Indian Ocean. Many of the visited wetlands are described in more detail in EVANS
(1994) and SCOTT (1995); eight wetlands have been identified as Important Bird Area (IBA) and
six of these were visited during the survey (Tab. 1, EVANS 1994).
The following areas were visited on foot or by car, except four areas which were visited by
boat: Shadegan & Khor Musa region, Nayband Bay, Monde Protected Area, Bandar-e-Moqam
harbour, Bandar-e-Moguye, Hara Protected Area (boat, two times), Khur Surru, Tijab (boat), Sirik
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Tab. 1. List of 20 wetlands along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran visited in January-February 2000,
with total area (in hectares), intertidal area (in hectares, estimated/measured from marine maps),
main type of habitat, shoreline characterization and date of survey (- unknown).
Wetland province total area
area (ha)
habitat shoreline
1 Kurin River Khuzestan - 0 floodplain marshland 13-jan
2 Shadegan Marshes Khuzestan 282.500 0 floodplain marshland 13-jan
3 Bandar-e-Shahpur, Khor
Khuzestan 142.640 50.000 intertidal salt marsh 14-jan
4 Bandar-e-Mahshar, Khor
Khuzestan 1.000 1.000 salt pans salt marsh 14-jan
5 Bandar-e-Rig Bushehr 3.000 3.000 intertidal salt marsh 2-feb
6 Rud-e-Sur Bushehr 2.000 2.000 marsh/intertidal salt marsh 2-feb
7 Hilleh River Delta (Hilleh
Protected Area)
Bushehr 42.600 10.000 marsh/intertidal salt marsh 3-feb
8 Monde River Delta
(Monde Protected Area)
Bushehr 46.700 8.000 marsh/intertidal salt marsh 19-jan
9 Nayband Bay Bushehr 3.000 3.000 intertidal salt marsh 20-jan
10 Mogham lagoon Bandar Abbas 500 500 intertidal salt marsh 23-jan
11 Moguye estuary Bandar Abbas 500 500 intertidal salt marsh 23-jan
12 Hara Protected Area
(Khouran Straits)
Bandar Abbas 100.000 30.000 intertidal mangrove 24-jan
13 Khur Surru lagoon Bandar Abbas 1.000 1.000 intertidal salt marsh 29-jan
14 Khor Tijab Hormuzgan 10.000 10.000 intertidal mangrove 25-jan
15 Khor Kargan lagoon Hormuzgan 10.000 10.000 intertidal mangrove 28-jan
16 Sirik Hormuzgan 4.000 4.000 intertidal mangrove 27-jan
17 Azini Khur Hormuzgan 15.000 15.000 intertidal mangrove 27-jan
18 Mubarak lagoon Hormuzgan 1.000 1.000 intertidal mangrove 27-jan
19 Jask lagoon Sistan/
11.500 11.500 intertidal mangrove 28-jan
20 Khur Surgum Sistan/
1.000 1.000 intertidal beach 28-jan
total wetland area 677.440 161.500
lagoon and beach, Jask Khur, Jask harbour, Jask Khur, Azini Khur (boat), Mubarak Khur (boat),
Surgum Khur, Kargan, Bandar Abbas harbout, Hilleh River Delta, Rud-e-Shuhr, Bandar Rig
(Tab. 1). Each wetland listed below has been given a number in Tab. 1 to ease cross reference to
Tabs. 2 - 5.
1-4. Shadegan and Khor Musa region (IBA 064, 13./14.1.2000). Four localities were visited:
(1) Kurin River (mudflats), (2) Shadegan Marshes (floodplain), (3) Bandar-e-Shahpur (salt
marsh), (4) Bandar-e-Mahshur (salt pans). The floodplain area (282,500 ha) consists of fresh to
brackish sedge marshes and salt-tolerant Tamarix vegetation. The Khor Musa coastal zone
(123,440 ha) consists of shallow lagoons with salt marshes, mud flats and salt pans. It is desig-
nated as a Ramsar Site (400,000 ha) and Wildlife Refuge (296,000 ha).
5. Bandar-e-Rig (2.2.2000). Sandy mudflats near the town of Bandar-e-Rig with much distur-
bance by fishermen and a lot of pollution (garbage).
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74 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Tab. 2. Numbers of 46 species of waterbirds (excluding waders) in 20 wetlands along the Gulf coast of Iran, January-February 2000,
ranked from north to south. Grand totals include waders from Tab. 3.
Kurin River
Shadegan M.
Hilleh R. Delta
Mond R. Delta
Nayband Bay
B. Moghan
Hara Pr. Area
Khur Surru
Khor Kargan
Azini Khur
Jask harbour
Khur Surgum
Wetland # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Tachybaptus ruficollis 2
Podiceps cristatus 9 3 1 2 3
Podiceps nigricollis 6 200 1
Phalacrocorax carbo 1 13 200 145 2 75 1 636 16 6
Pelecanus crispus 1 15 57 11 6 22 25 12
Ardeola grayii 2
Bubulcus ibis 460
Egretta garzetta 28 2 1 1 1
Egretta gularis 1 4 34 3 49 14 3 72 26 3 6 6 9 6 3 6
Casmerodius albus 20 36 2 4 5 3 27 3 2 4 1 27 3
Ardea cinerea 2 2 17 17 1 12 8 7 4 23 8 4 4 2 5 1 1 52
Nycticorax nycticorax 20 0
Platalea leucorodia 30 20 1 21 1 2 2 3 3 9
Phoenicopterus ruber 4500 9 2000 38 480 107 3 7 17 86 1 55
Anser anser 1 461 2
Tadorna tadorna 11 510 650 89 52 37 22 52
Anas penelope 6 80 4
Anas acuta 2 10
Anas crecca 10 22 880
Anas strepera 18
Anas platyrhynchos 210 2 4
Aythya ferina 3
Marm. angustirostris 330
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Aves 75
Gallinula chloropus 3
Fulica atra 5 21
Grus grus 7
Larus hemprichii 1
Larus ridibundus 7 100 20
10000 25 4 17
Larus genei 60 100 2000 10 1300 800 1 18 167 220 59 349 51 4 22
Larus heuglini 3 153 10 4 16 25
Larus cachinnans 12 32 200 8 9 53
L. cachinnans/heuglini 499 212 150 4690 220 104 342
Larus ichthyaetus 50 55 7 1 30 34 50 50 2
Gelochelidon nilotica 1 49 23 20 12 7 42 14 38 108 1 23
Sterna caspia 22 9 7 1 4 30 20 2 3
Sterna bergii 1 97 50 10
Sterna bengalensis 320 17 40 10 150 50 200
Sterna sandvicensis 1 1 104 145
Sterna saundersi 4
Chlidonias leucopterus 1
Pandion haliaetus 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1
Aquila clanga 2 1 1 3 1
Aquila heliaca
Haliaetus albicilla 1 1
Circus aeruginosus 4 17 1 3 1 2 3 1 1 1
Alcedo atthis 1 2 3 1 3 1
Ceryle rudis 8 2 8 1
Total 4956 133 1303 6082 57 1581 2879 1013 2228 10861 4185 1452 505 3407 790 6779 1608 195 1944
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76 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Tab. 3. Numbers of 37 species of waders observed in 20 wetlands along the Gulf coast of Iran, January-February 2000.
Kurin River
Shadegan M.
Hilleh R. Delta
Mond R. Delta
Nayband Bay
B. Moghan
Hara area
Hara P.A.
Khur Surru
Khor Kargan
Azini Khur
Jask harbour
Khur Surgum
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Haematopus ostralegus 57 42 14 11 65 14 274
Esacus recurvirostris 2 4 13 1 3
Recurvirostra avosetta 1 118 250 350 20 9 4 11 40
Himantopus himantopus 34 21 10 2 13
Dromas ardeola 205 658 79
Vanellus indicus 20
Vanellus leucurus 94
Charadrius dubius 3
Charadrius hiaticula 2 1 1 1 2 1
Charadrius alexandrinus 20 53 26 8 53 2 19 11 110 1 1 3 8 36
Charadrius mongolus 8 20 16 780 1 5 13 310 1 4 5 51
Charadrius leschenaultii 3 84 2 8
Pluvialis fulva 8
Pluvialis squatarola 15 8 3 30 24 8 10 7 71 126 1 18
Calidris tenuirostris 2
Calidris canutus 12
Calidris alba 22 8 204 107
Calidris minuta 6 14 37 7 40 17 1
Calidris ferruginea 24
Calidris alpina 150 25 59 50 29 40 12 3 202 48 9 2 31 10 9 5
Limicola falcinellus 189 48 1
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Aves 77
Philomachus pugnax 5 1
Gallinago gallinago 1
Limosa limosa 1 76 350 1 85 8 50 2
Limosa lapponica 19 38 215 6 96 49 2000 86 58 72
Numenius phaeopus 3 7 97 101 8 8 9 8 1
Numenius arquata 20 1 13 19 8 25 32 305 366 63 29 260 1 16 64 3 10
Tringa totanus 12 2 19 18 42 55 13 32 12 58 27 14 46 7 7 12
Tringa erythropus 1 20
Tringa stagnatilis 2 1 1
Tringa nebularia 1 2 1 16 6 2 2 1 3 5 6 1 6 2 1 2
Tringa ochropus 4
Tringa glareola 1
Xenus cinereus 1 3 27 2 571 5 64 34 15 24 24 2 95
Actitis hypoleucos 2 2 3 1 3 2
Arenaria interpres 4 3 1 3 14
Phalaropus lobatus 12
small wader 150 1000 12 480 600 150 180 500 540
Large wader 100 20
Totals 359 40 258 836 19 1455 332 220 271 11 3240 1233 1173 251 2897 84 608 1023 38 1324
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78 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
6. Rud-e-Sur (2.2.2000). Fresh water marsh and part of the river Rud-e-Sur (crossed by a road)
outside the Hilleh Protected Area.
7. Hilleh River Delta, Hilleh Protected Area, Bushehr (IBA 090, 1./3.2.2000). Large delta, in
part created by diverging the Hilleh river for irrigation of arable fields in the 1970’s and consist-
ing of large reedbeds and salt marshes, which are inundated by fresh water during winter period.
Extensive arable fields outside Hilleh Protected Area apparently also extend into the Protected
Area. The salt marshes are grazed by sheep, goats and cows. Small rodents are abundant in the
arable fields and drier parts of the salt marshes. The southern coastline is bordered by extensive
mudflats (not visited).
8. Monde Protected Area (IBA 092, 19.1.2000). This area includes the Delta of the Monde river.
It has a large creek system and an extensive area of coastal dunes. The lower reaches of the river
meanders across a broad sandy plain with steppe vegetation and oxbow lakes. Other habitats
include sandy beaches, intertidal mudflats with sand spits and small areas of irrigated wheat culti-
vation. The wetland area covers about 26,870 ha, the total protected area is 46,700 ha.
9. Nayband Bay (20.1.2000). Coastal area with salt marshes and mudflats.
10. Bandar-e-Moqam, Nahilu estuary (23.1.2000). Estuary, consisting of a sandy lagoon with
sparsely vegetated salt marsh and sandy dunes.
11. Bandar-e-Moguye, estuary (23.1.2000). Estuary, consisting of a sandy lagoon with sparsely
vegetated salt marsh and sandy dunes.
12. Hara Protected Area, Bandar-e-Khamir (IBA 096, 24.1.2000; 29.1.2000) The Hara Pro-
tected Area, which includes the Mehran Delta, lies in the Khouran Straits (26°50'N 55°40'E,
IBA096 in EVANS 1994) and has a protected area of 85,686 ha (Ramsar site and Biosphere Re-
serve). The Khouran Straits form the mouth of the southern Persian Gulf and lie between the
Mehran and Rasul deltas and the island of Gheshm. It consists of mangroves, mudflats, sand bars,
creek s, and sandy and rocky islands (ZEHZAD & MADJNOONIAN 1998). The area was visited twice
by boat during high tide (on 24.1.) and low tide (on 29.1.). During high tide many birds are not
visible, because they roost behind the mangroves, while during low tide many birds are not visible
either in the small creeks. In some places, the mudflats are very muddy and almost impossible to
walk on. The coast of Gheshm (Qesm), a rocky island opposite Bandar-e-Paleh and bordering
Hara Protected Area, was also visited. Extensive mudflats are present with numerous, large fukes
or fishing nets. Huge crabs are locally abundant.
13. Khur Surru, Bandar Abbas (25.1.2000). In the centre of town a small estuary is situated,
consisting of a fresh water lagoon with muddy creeks and salt marshes. It is surrounded by sand
dunes and scattered acacia trees. The area is very polluted by organic effluents and littered with
garbage, but ‘protected’ by a large fence. This provides some shelter against disturbance, resulting
in surprising numbers of waterbirds in the centre of Bandar Abbas.
14. Khor Tijab (IBA 099, 26.1.2000) Lagoon with extensive sandy mudflats along the coastline.
15. Khor Kargan (Menab) (28.1.2000). Lagoon with creek and mudflats with mudskippers and
crabs, bordered by extensive salt marshes and scattered mangroves.
16. Sirik (Menab) (27.1.2000). Sandy beach along dunes bordered by extensive sandy mudflats.
17. Khur Azini (Menab) (27.1.2000). Creek and small sand bars bordered by small stands of
mangroves with extensive sandy mudflats.
18. Mubarak lagoon (Menab) (27.1.2000). Extensive steppe salt marsh dominated by huge rock
(Mubarak), gradually sloping into vast mudflats.
19. Khor Jask (IBA 101, 27.1.2000) Sandy lagoon with extensive mangroves and salt marshes.
Muddy mudflats between mangroves with mudskippers and crabs.
20. Khor Surgum (28.1.2000). Large lagoon with sandy mudflats, some parts muddier and cov-
ered with green algae, bordered by extensive sandy dunes.
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Aves 79
Tab. 4. List of 20 wetlands visited during this survey, with total wetland area (in hectares), inter-
tidal area (ha), total number of waders, other waterbirds, and number of waterbird species counted
in each wetland. The wetlands are ranked from north to south.
area (ha) area (ha) waders waterbirds waterbirds
Wetland total intertidal Ntotal N
total N
1 Kurin River ? 0 359 4,956 20
2 Shadegan Marshes 282,500 0 40 133 9
3 Bandar-e-Shahpur 142,640 50,000 258 1,303 22
4 Bandar-e-Mahshar 1,000 1,000 836 6,082 25
5 Bandar-e-Rig 3,000 3,000 19 57 8
6 Rud-e-Sur 2,000 2,000 1,455 1,581 16
7 Hilleh River Delta 42,600 10,000 332 2,879 36
8 Mond River Delta 46,700 8,000 220 1,013 27
9 Nayband Bay 3,000 3,000 271 2,228 34
10 Bandar Moghan 500 500 0 10,841 10
11 Bandar Moguye 50 50 11 20 6
12 Hara Protected Area 100,000 30,000 4,473 4,185 53
13 Khur Surru 1,000 1,000 1,173 1,452 35
14 Tijab 10,000 10,000 251 505 34
15 Khor Kargan 10,000 10,000 2,916 790 24
16 Sirik 4,000 4,000 84 6,779 36
17 Azini Khur 15,000 15,000 608 1,608 27
18 Mubarak 1,000 1,000 1,023 195 19
19 Jask harbour 11,500 11,500 38 1,944 35
20 Khur Surgum 1,000 1,000 1,324 3,407 24
Totals 677,440 161,500 15,691 51,958 82
Most areas were surveyed on foot, by car and by boat in tidal and non-tidal areas. The method
proposed by VAN DER HAVE et al. (1998) to locate Slender-billed Curlews in the wintering areas
(locating (night) roosts of Eurasian Curlews and/or Black-tailed Godwits) could not be carried out
due to the limited time available. Most counts were partial counts of the wetlands because time
per visit was very limited. In the tidal wetlands the tide was often not optimal for counting. There-
fore, sample or spot counts were made in several intertidal wetlands during low tide. Coverage
was estimated to range from 1-5% of the total area of each visited wetland on average. In Hara
Protected Area the coverage was considerably higher (about 20%), and the area was visited twice
both during high and low tide. All geographical positions were taken by GPS, stored, and used in
combination with a maritime map. As many Eurasian Curlews and Whimbrels as possible were
individually checked for the presence of Slender-billed Curlews, but other waterbirds were
counted as well.
To compare our results with those of SUMMERS et al. (1987) and ZWARTS et al. (1991), and to
give an estimate of the total number of waders present along the entire Iranian Gulf coast, we
extrapolated numbers counted during this survey, even though we are aware of the fact that birds
are not randomly distributed and that concentrations are dependent on, for example, habitat type.
As most counts were estimated to comprise 1–5% of total surface in any specific area numbers
were multiplied by 20, except for numbers counted in Hara Protected Area which were multiplied
by five (Tab. 5). The total wetland area along the Gulf coast is almost 700,000 ha, which includes
approximately 160,000 ha of intertidal mudflats (Tab. 1, ZWARTS et al. 1991). The overall pres-
ence of a species was calculated as the percentage of the counts in which a species occurred
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80 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Tab. 5. Totals of 37 wader species counted in January–February 2000 in 18 wetlands (excluding
Khur Surgum and Jask Harbour, these wetland were not included in the Persian Gulf area in
SUMMERS et al. 1987) along the Gulf coast of Iran, compared with estimates in 1968-76 (SUM-
MERS et al. 1987). ‘Guestimates’ are rounded to the nearest figure, except for White-tailed Lap-
wing. Differences of one order of magnitude are underlined, larger differences are given in bold.
See also Fig. 1.
this study this study this study Summers
2000 2000 2000 1968-76
Species count count*20 (or 5) guestimate guestimate
Haematopus ostralegus 203 8,685 9,000 8,000
Esacus recurvirostris 23 430 400 100
Recurvirostra avosetta 803 15,925
16,000 600
Himantopus himantopus 80 1,600 1,600 50
Dromas ardeola 863 5,895 6,000 1,350
Vanellus indicus 20 400 500 1,000
Vanellus leucurus 94 1,880
1,500 50
Charadrius dubius 3 60 50 100
Charadrius hiaticula 8 130
200 3,500
Charadrius alexandrinus 307 6,990 7,000 7,500
Charadrius mongolus 1,158 12,565 13,000 3,000
Charadrius leschenaultii 89 1,910 2,000 7,500
Pluvialis fulva 8 40 100 100
Pluvialis squatarola 302 5,970 6,000 1,200
Calidris tenuirostris 2 40 50
Calidris canutus 12 240 250
Calidris alba 234 6,820 7,000 7,500
Calidris minuta 122 1,585 1,600 750
Calidris ferruginea 24 120 100 100
Calidris alpina 670 9,930 70,000 48,000
Limicola falcinellus 237 1,925 2,000 600
Philomachus pugnax 6 120 100 20
Gallinago gallinago 1 20 20
Limosa limosa 573 11,460
10,000 400
Limosa lapponica 2,567 49,465 50,000 19,000
Numenius phaeopus 242 1,870
2,000 110
Numenius arquata 1,222 14,635 15,000 13,000
Tringa totanus 357 6,860 7,000 8,000
Tringa erythropus 21 420 400 60
Tringa stagnatilis 4 65 100 350
Tringa nebularia 54 1,095 1,000 200
Tringa ochropus 4 80 100 50
Tringa glareola 1 20 20
Xenus cinereus 770 8,700
9,000 2,800
Actitis hypoleucos 11 215 250 60
Arenaria interpres 11 500 500 1,250
Phalaropus lobatus 12 240 250
small wader (mainly C. alpina) 3,072 65,040
large wader 120 2,400 2,400
Totals 14,310 246,345 242,490 136,250
43 counts in total; Tab. 6). The relative abundance of a species was calculated as total number
counted divided by the total number of waders counted (multiplied by hundred to give a percent-
age). Scientific bird names are given in Tabs. 2, 3, 5, and 6.
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Aves 81
Waterbird count
Almost 68,000 waterbirds of 83 species were counted in about 20 different wetlands (Tabs.
2–3). The number of waterbirds reflects the different types of habitat, ranging from fresh to
brackish in the north to exclusively marine in the south. The intertidal mudflats in the north
are fringed by extensive saltmarshes, while they are fringed mainly by mangroves in the
Ducks, including Globally Threatened Species like Marbled Teal and Ferrugineous Duck,
and Flamingos were most abundant in the north, while piscivorous birds (cormorants, gulls,
terns) were more common in the south. Dalmatian Pelicans were present in most wetlands; a
total of 196 was counted, representing 2% of the world population. The total number of
Dalmatian Pelicans present along the Iranian Gulf coast must be very significant. A number
of other wetland dependent species, included in Tab. 2, were also observed during the sur-
vey: White-tailed Eagle, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Imperial Eagle and Greater
Spotted Eagle, Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher. Some of these are Globally Threatened (or
Near-threatened). Herons and egrets (seven species) were more or less evenly spread out
from north to south, but Goliath Heron Ardea goliath, a species thought to breed here
(SCOTT 1995) was not observed. The total number of waterbirds counted in each wetland
varied from a few hundred up to several thousands. Especially Hara Protected Area was very
rich with 53 different different waterbird species (Tab. 4).
Totals and distribution
A total of almost 15,700 waders of 37 different species were observed during the survey
(Tabs. 3–4). A few species were present in many wetlands and were observed in over 40%
of the counts (presence, see Tab. 6). The same species were also found to be the dominant
ones in a survey of the Saudi Gulf coast in winter (ZWARTS et al. 1991; Tab. 6). Other spe-
cies were found mainly in the northern Gulf (Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Black-tailed God-
wit) or in the southern part (Bar-tailed Godwit, Terek Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Great Stone
Plover, Crab Plover). Densities of waders appeared to be higher in the southern part of the
Gulf, but this may also be caused by the slightly better coverage of the intertidal mudflats.
‘Guestimates’ of total number of waders
We estimate that on average less than 5% of the Iranian Gulf coast wetlands was visited. A
conservative estimate of the total number of waders then results in a total of over 240,000
waders (Tab. 5), which is probably spread over less than half of the total intertidal area along
the Persian Gulf coast of Iran (1,600 km2). This rather crude estimate leads to an overall
density of 1.5 waders per hectare.
Over 3,000 small waders could not be identified (Tab. 4), mainly due to light conditions
or distance. Most of these waders foraged in groups and were assumed to be mainly Dunlin,
although some Mongolian Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint or Broad-billed Sandpiper
could have been involved. It seems unlikely that significant numbers of Mongolian Plovers
were among them as they forage more spaced out and were only abundant in the Hara Pro-
tected Area.
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82 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Tab. 6. The presence (percentage of counts in which the species occurred), total number counted,
and relative abundance of 37 wader species along the Iranian Gulf coast (this study) and of 21
species along the Saudi Arabian Gulf coast (ZWARTS et al. 1991), in January - February 2000 and
January - February 1986, respectively. Species are ranked according to their relative abundance.
Large differences are indicated in bold, percentages lower than 0.1 are indicated by 0.0 .
presence presence numbers numbers relative relative
% % counted counted abundance abundance
Species this study Zwarts this study Zwarts this study Zwarts
Calidris alpina 56 79 4,296 9,792 27.6 35.3
Limosa lapponica 44 46 2,639 1,717 17.0 6.2
Numenius arquata 77 75 1,235 1,132 7.9 4.1
Charadrius mongolus 44 75 1,214 3,123 7.8 11.2
Dromas ardeola 26 942 6.1
Xenus cinereus 49 50 867 435 5.6 1.6
Recurvirostra avosetta 21 803
Limosa limosa 21 6 573 263 3.7 0.9
Haematopus ostralegus 26 27 477 187 3.1 0.7
Tringa totanus 56 56 376 2,298 2.4
Charadrius alexandrinus 49 44 351 72 2.3 0.3
Calidris alba 14 15 341 9 2.2 0.0
Pluvialis squatarola 44 67 321 1,912 2.1 6.9
Numenius phaeopus 40 242 1 1.6 0,0
Limicola falcinellus 19 4 238 320 1.5 1.2
Calidris minuta 23 35 122 4,128 0.8 14.9
Charadrius leschenaultii 12 69 97 1,033 0.6 3.7
Vanellus leucurus 5 94 0.6
Himantopus himantopus 12 80 0.5
Tringa nebularia 37 27 57 97 0.4 0.3
Arenaria interpres 14 49 25 175 0.2 0.6
Calidris ferruginea 7 31 24 295 0.2 1.1
Esacus recurvirostris 12 23 0.1
Tringa erythropus 5 21 1 0.1 0,0
Vanellus indicus 5 20 0.1
Actitis hypoleucos 19 13 0.1
Calidris canutus 2 12 0.1
Phalaropus lobatus 2 12 0.1
Charadrius hiaticula 14 40 8 764 0.1 2.8
Pluvialis fulva 2 8 0.1
Philomachus pugnax 5 6 13 0.0 0,0
Tringa stagnatilis 7 4 0.0
Tringa ochropus 5 4 0.0
Charadrius dubius 2 3 0.0
Calidris tenuirostris 2 2 0.0
Gallinago gallinago 2 1 0.0
Tringa glareola 2 1 0.0
Totals 15,552 27,767 100.0 100.0
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Aves 83
Tab. 7. Localities of winter observations (January-February) of Slender-billed Curlews along the
Gulf coast of Iran in the period 1991-1998 (source: BirdLife International). The localities marked
with an asterisk (*) were visited in January–February 2000. Khor Keretan is close to Azini. Khor-
Kohe-Mobarakeh is close to Mubarak.
locality (province) co-ordinates N Years
1. Hilleh Protected Area (Bushehr)* 29°01N 59°00E 7 1994
2. Monde Protected Area (Bushehr)* 29°10N 52°40E 2 1995
3. Nayband Bay (Hormuzgan)* 27°53N 52°40E 4, 4, 2 1993, 1995, 1998
4. Hara Protected Area (Hormuzgan)* 26°50N 55°40E 4,2 1994, 1995
5. Khor Keretan (Hormuzgan) (near Azini)* 26°17N 57°10E 2 1994
6. Khor-Kohe-Mobarakeh (Hormuzgan)* 25°55N 57°35E 2 1995
7. Pozm Tiab (Hormuzgan) 25°40N 59°00E 3 1994
Slender-billed Curlew survey
The winter observations of Slender-billed Curlew along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran in the
period 1991-1998 which were reported by the Department of Environment to BirdLife In-
ternational (UMBERTO GALLO-ORSI in litt.) are listed in Tab. 7. All observations are in Janu-
ary - probably because they were seen during the international waterfowl counts - except the
one in Monde Protected Area (February). Six out of seven localities along the Persian Gulf
coast of Iran (provinces of Bushehr and Hormuzgan) where Slender-billed Curlews were
observed in the period 1991–1998 were visited in January–February 2000 (Tab. 7). No
Slender-billed Curlews were found, even though at least 1,200 Eurasian Curlews, 240
Whimbrels and 580 Bar-tailed Godwits were checked (Tab. 5).
The Hilleh and Monde Protected Areas seem to have suitable habitat for Slender-billed
Curlews, as they look similar to the Merja Zerga, Morocco, the last regular wintering area of
Slender-billed Curlews (pers. obs.). Particularly the combination of irrigated wheat fields,
extensively grazed salt marsh, fresh water marshes and large intertidal mudflats seem highly
suitable. Foraging Eurasian Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits were present in the arable
fields and salt marshes, wader species known to have occurred together with Slender-billed
Curlews (GRETTON 1991, pers. obs.).
Waterbird numbers and diversity
The total number of 82 waterbird species (including wetland-dependent raptors and king-
fishers) is quite high considering the fact that the survey was carried out in winter. Most of
species potentially occurring in the region were observed (cf. PORTER et al. 1996). The total
number of waterbird species observed in each wetland varied mainly according to its size
(Fig. 1). This relationship is possibly a result of the higher number of wetland types in the
northern Gulf area (floodplains, freshwater marshes, salt marshes, saltpans, intertidal mud-
flats) compared to the southern Gulf area (mangroves, salt marshes, intertidal mudflats,
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84 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Fig. 1. The relationship between total number of waterbird species observed during the survey of the Gulf
coast of Iran, January-February 2000, and wetland size (in hectares) of 16 different wetlands. Four wetlands
in the Shadegan region were combined.
Tab. 1). However, Hara Protected Area includes only a limited set of habitat types such as
saltmarsh, mangrove and intertidal mudflats, but had the highest diversity (53 species). This
may be caused by the longer observation time (two visits), but the higher diversity in this
region may also be related to the more subtropical climate of the southern Persian Gulf
coast. Several species from the Indo-Asian region (e.g. Indian Pond Heron, Great Stone
Plover, Great Knot, Pacific Golden Plover) were found here (KEIJL et al. 2001). Further-
more, the generally unsurveyed benthic communities of the intertidal mudflats may well be
very different and consequently sustain different waterbird species.
Total numbers and distribution of waders
The rather crude estimate for the total number of waders along the Persian Gulf coast can be
compared with earlier estimates in the period 1968-1976 (SUMMERS et al. 1987, based on
counts made by D. A. SCOTT and the Department of the Environment). There is an overall
agreement in numbers, although most estimates in winter 2000 are somewhat higher than the
earlier estimates (points above the line of equality in Fig. 2). A few species were not men-
tioned in SUMMERS et al. (1987), while several other species were calculated to be present in
somewhat higher numbers in winter 2000. These differences could be caused by the rela-
tively ‘crude’ counting methods. For seven species the differences are particularly large:
Avocet, White-tailed Lapwing, Mongolian Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Whimbrel and
Terek Sandpiper, which are all guestimated higher than in SUMMERS et al. (1987). One rea-
son could be the slightly better coverage of the southern Gulf area in 2000. Species like
Great Stone Plover (400) and White-tailed Plover (1,500) are probably guestimated too high,
as all are fairly rare at least in Iran. Great Stone Plover occurs in Iran at the westernmost side
of its range and does not occur in the Persian Gulf proper (cf. RANDS 1996). The number of
White-tailed Plovers to spend the winter in Iran was recently estimated at 1,400 (PIERSMA &
WIERSMA 1996). Moreover, White-tailed Plover occurs in fresh water habitat, which we
10 100 1.000 10.000 100.000 1.000.000
wetland area (ha)
number of waterbird species
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Aves 85
hardly visited. On the other hand, Great Stone Plover was widespread (5 out of 20 wetlands,
all along the southern coast) and is easily overlooked. The total number present was for sure
higher than the counted number. Also Black-winged Stilt (1,600) and Black-tailed Godwit
(10,000) occur in freshwater habitat. Avocet (16,000) and Broad-billed Sandpiper (2,000)
both usually occur in areas with very soft mud, are specialized feeders and are therefore
patchily distributed. On the other hand, 200 seems much too low for Ringed Plover, but this
species usually occurs very spread-out over the mudflats and is known for its 'ability' to
‘disappear’ on both during low-tide and high-tide counts. The use of better optical equip-
ment and improved identification guides may be one reason for the differences in the num-
bers of Mongolian Plover compared to those of Greater Sand Plover (the latter showed
lower numbers in 2000). About 1,800 pairs of Crab Plovers were estimated to breed in the
UAE and Iran together (HUME 1996), and another 150 can perhaps be added (cf. COWAN
1990). This estimate is very close to our guestimate of 6,000 wintering individuals if one
accounts also for non-breeding individuals.
Our survey can also be compared with the survey of ZWARTS et al. (1991) of the Persian
Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia in January-February 1986. The total number of wader species is
much higher on the Iranian Gulf coast (37) compared to the Saudi side (21). In the United
Arab Emirates however, the number of wintering wader species was comparable (32; ASPI-
NALL in: KEIJL et al. 1998). This difference may well be caused by the higher variety of
habitats along the Iranian (and UAE) coast, in particular the occurrence of marshland and
floodplains with species like White-tailed Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, and the presence
of saltpans with Black-winged Stilts and Red-necked Phalaropes, or simply by the more
southerly position. For other wader species the results are rather similar (Tab. 6). The overall
presence is similar for Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Terek Sandpiper,
Oystercatcher, and Kentish Plover; they rank among the most abundant waders and have a
presence above 40% in both surveys. Notably different are the occurrence and relative
abundance of Grey Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Turnstone and Ringed Plover, all more
abundant and with a higher presence in the Saudi Arabian study. This may well be caused by
general differences in the intertidal habitat and/or prey availability, and is clearly an issue
for further study. Our overall estimate of 1.5 wader per hectare is rather low compared with
the average density found during low tide counts in Saudi Arabia of 13 waders per hectare.
This indicates that our coverage was probably less than 5% and suggests that counting wader
densities during low tide is a necessary and suitable method to estimate total wader abun-
dance along the Persian Gulf coast of Iran. The variety of wetlands and intertidal habitats
along the Gulf coast of Iran make it an ideal area for the study of waders and their food
resources, as well as for ecosystem studies (HÖPNER & KAZEM 1999).
Slender-billed Curlews in Iran: future surveys
Although no Slender-billed Curlews were observed during this survey, it is very well possi-
ble that (small) numbers winter along the Persian Gulf coast, particularly in the Hilleh Pro-
tected Area and the surrounding salt marshes. It will be very difficult, however, to monitor
the numbers with respect to the size of the suitable areas.
A good method to locate Slender-billed Curlews in their wintering range by locating (noc-
turnal) roosts of Eurasian Curlews, and perhaps even Black-tailed Godwits (VAN DER HAVE
et al. 1998), was not possible during this survey. However, the survey in January 2000 was
similar to the midwinter counts of the Gulf coast carried out by the DoE (e.g. DELANY et al.
1999), during which several Slender-billed Curlews were observed in recent years (Tab. 7).
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86 Zoology in the Middle East 26, 2002
Fig. 2. The number of waders ‘guestimated’ for the Persian Gulf coast in January-February 2000 plotted
against the ‘guestimates’ of SUMMERS et al. (1987) for the period 1968–1976. See also Tab. 5.
A future survey should include, or perhaps better: focus, on a thorough search of the
Hilleh Protected Area and wide surroundings, as extensive areas with apparently suitable
habitat are present. In this region foraging Eurasian Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits
should be scrutinized for the presence of Slender-billed Curlews during daytime, while
(nocturnal) roosts should be tried to be located and checked as well. Total duration of such a
study could be carried out successfully in approximately three weeks.
Future waterbird studies
A midwinter survey of the Iranian Gulf coast has never been fully performed. Hence, de-
tailed information on the numbers of wintering waders and other waterbirds, including
Globally Threatened Species such as Dalmatian Pelican, or Vulnerable Species such as
Broad-billed Sandpiper or Crab Plover, of which it is known that a large (but unknown) part
of the population spends the winter here, is lacking. As a result, we are completely ignorant
of any possible changes in numbers. Recently, several counts during migration time in the
Gulf area have become available (e.g. SMART 1983, DSP 1987, UTTLEY et al. 1988, EVANS
& KEIJL 1993a, HIRSCHFELD 1994, KEIJL et al. 1998), showing that the Gulf coast is used
both during spring and autumn by important numbers, as well as some during winter (e.g.
ZWARTS et al. 1996, ASPINALL in: KEIJL et al. 1998), but these studies are far apart both in
time and space, rendering direct comparison impossible. For instance, the coast of the UAE
is better covered than the much longer one of Iran. There is also great need of surveys which
can be used as baseline information when for instance the impact of disasters such as the oil
spill during the 1990 Gulf War should be established (cf. EVANS & KEIJL 1993b).
Conservation status of some key areas
The mangrove forest of Hara Protected Area, near Bandar Abbas in the south of the country,
has a protected status. Although there are no guards, the birds staying in this area seem not
to be directly threatened by human exploitation of any kind (excepting oil pollution, which
1 10 100 1.000 10.000 100.000
guestimate, Summers et al. 1987
guestimate, this study
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Aves 87
is a great risk as the area is situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and perhaps commer-
cial fishing). Some mangrove cutting was observed near Jask and it is unknown if this oc-
curs at other sites and with which intensity.
The Hilleh River Delta covers a huge area both inside and outside the Protected Area. The
conservation status of the Hilleh Protected Area is very good, with a tight control on illegal
hunting. The changes in land use however need to be monitored, in particular the develop-
ment of 1400 hectares of shrimp farms immediately outside the Hilleh Protected Area, east
of the Hilleh mouth, which uses the water of the Hilleh river to dilute the sea water, and the
extension of arable fields inside the Protected Area.
The general descriptions of wetlands in SCOTT (1995) and the selection and descriptions
of IBA’s in EVANS (1994) were found to be very accurate. More detailed surveys of the
coast between Bandar Abbas and Jask, which include the IBA’s 99 and 100 (roughly be-
tween the rivers Rud-i-Gaz and Rud-i-Minab), will probably lead to the identification of
more IBA’s, considering the occurrence large numbers of waterbirds, including several
Globally Threatened species and the presence of a variety of wetlands, particularly intertidal
Acknowledgements. We are grateful to Mr. A. NAJAFI and Mr. S. A. AYAFAT, Department of the Environ-
ment, Islamic Republic of Iran for their help in the organisation of our project. Mr. NIKKHAH BAHRAMI,
Royal Netherlands Embassy in Tehran, helped in many aspect of the preparations. Dr. BEHZOD SAEEDPOUR,
Director of the Bandar Abbas Research Center, is thanked for providing facilities. Mr. MOHAMED ASADI-
POUR assisted in the field work. We thank Dr. HASSAN ROSTAMIAN, Director Bushehr Research Center,
Department of the Environment, for providing facilities. Dr. HAMZEH VALAVI shared his field experience.
We thank Dr. MAHMOUD MOGHIMI, Mr. AGHAYAR MORADI for their help and interest in the field. This
project was funded by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS, or
Bonn Convention) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Mrs. KAREN WEAVER and Mr.
A. MÜLLER are thanked in particular for their help in arranging the funding on short notice. Dr. GERARD C.
BOERE, chairman of the Slender-billed Curlew Working Group, partly initiated this project.
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... The Grey Plover also winters and migrates up along the East African/West Asian-Mediterranean/ Black Sea flyways (sensu Stroud et al. 2004), although winter counting from East Africa (Summers et al. 1987, also Bregneballe et al. 1989, the Persian Gulf (Zwarts et al. 1991, Have et al. 2002, and the Mediterranean region (Smit 1986) give a lower total number than for the East Atlantic Flyway (Stroud et al. 2004). The East African/West Asian-Mediterranean/Black Sea flyways merge near the Black-Azov seas (Summers et al. 1987, Smit & Piersma 1989, Kube et al. 1998, Stroud et al. 2004), a conclusion supported by ringing recoveries of the Grey Plover (Korzukov 1991, Serra et al. 2001. ...
In 1976-1995, 74,650 Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola were recorded on spring passage, 87% in the southern third of Sweden, and 59% while in migratory flight. Few were observed before May. The passage peaked 24 May-2 June (83%). About one fourth of all birds were observed on a few occasions, when grounded by inclement weather, showing that only a tiny fraction stops over regularly. In northern Sweden, passage peaked earlier (18 May) than in the south (29 May), and these early birds were presumably destined for breeding or staging in the White Sea region. The peak dates in southern Sweden correlate well with arrival time in Siberia, indicating a non-stop flight to these breeding areas. Flocks counted up to several hundred birds in the south but at most 34 birds in the north. Migration patterns along the East Atlantic Flyway were similar with those of the East Africa West Asian and Mediterranian/Black Sea flyways. The spring passage of the Grey Plover conforms to the migration system of other tundra waders passing up through the western Palaearctic.
... Persian Gulf possibly wintering grounds for birds from central Russia; migrating terns passing Israel probably belong to races hirundo, tibetiana, and longipennis (Shirihai 1996). Single birds ringed in Krasnovodsk (Turkmeniya) and Novosibirsk recovered on south Caspian coast in January and October, respectively, indicating possible wintering there or passage towards Persian Gulf, but, during waterbird survey January–February 2000, no Common Terns were found in 20 wetlands along Gulf coast of Iran (van der Have et al. 2002 ), indicating region to be stop-over area rather than wintering ground. Origin of Common Terns Wintering in Africa. ...
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Salt marshes form along coastlines and are very interesting ecosystems due to their function and services. In the future, salt marsh plants might provide food and medicine as crops irrigated via seawater in hyper-arid regions. In the Arabian Gulf, little is known about salt marsh vegetation. Therefore, a targeted search on scientific literature was performed to provide a comprehensive assessment. Hence, current knowledge of the extent and status of salt marsh in the Arabian Gulf region was reviewed, based on literature-based analysis. Then, historic trends of salt marsh publications were carefully inspected. This study provides a list of salt marsh families and their genera and species, with a total of 51 family 179 genera 316 species in the Arabian Gulf. The largest family was Chenopodiaceae followed by Poaceae, Asteraceae. Moreover, this study identified some of the gaps that could help future directions for scientific research, and help making decisions of conservation, management policies and procedures
The countries of Central Asia hold 50-80% of the global population of the Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus but the breeding distribution and population size are only poorly known. We thus made a systematic effort to collect, compile and map all the breeding information availablefrom a variety of publications and databases for the period 1990-2015. We located 260 different sites with counts of Dalmatian Pelicans. The species breeds regularly or occasionally at 54 sites, 41 of which are situated in the countries of the former USSR. A rough approximation of the overall breeding population in this part of the world for the period 2000-2010 lies between 3000 and 4366 pairs, with a possible increase of the order of 46%-120% since the 1980s. The present un-weighted geographical centre of the breeding distribution in the countries of the former USSR has shown a north-eastwards shift of c767 km compared to that of the 1970-1980s. Colonies in the southern and more arid parts of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) have been abandoned and new sites colonised further north, probably due to milder winter and spring temperatures.
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Regular counts of waterbirds between October 1999 and April 2000 and in June 2000 at Selke and Espand wetlands in the Anzali wetland complex, Gilan Province, in north-western Iran, gave 55 species of waterbirds. These included resident species, breeding summer visitors, autumn migrants, winter visitors, spring migrants and vagrants. The total numbers of waterbirds reached their highest levels at Selke on 27 December (11,442 individuals) and at Espand on 9 January (6,087 individuals). Three of the species recorded are globally threatened or near-threatened (LR/nt): Pelecanus crispus (4 on 27 December), Aythya nyroca (17 on 3 October), and Phalacrocorax pygmeus (217 on 15 November). The peak numbers of some waterbirds species (referred to one of the sites) were including Phalacrocorax carbo over 1500 individuals roosting during mid-autumn to mid-winter, Anas querquedula 3,794 on 3 October , Anas crecca, 5,625 on 29 November, Fulica atra 3,645 on 16 November, Recurvirostra avosetta, 131 on 8 February, Larus minutus 570 on 14 March.
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In this paper we review information on the status, population size and migrations of waders within southern and eastern Africa, western Asia and the USSR, in an attempt to show where major concentrations occur, and the routes taken to and from their Palearctic breeding grounds. For much of this area, the information is meagre. The best-surveyed areas are Iran, the Nile Delta in Egypt, Kenya, and the coasts of Turkey, Namibia and South Africa. Rough estimates are available also for Sudan and the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. Large numbers of wintering waders occur in the Persian Gulf, Nile Delta, White Nile in Sudan, Lake Chad and the Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia and Kenya. Long-term changes in the seasonal rains of Africa make it difficult to make representative population estimates. Coastal surveys in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia have shown that large numbers of certain species occur on rocky and coral shores, sandy beaches and coastal inlets. Observations and ringing recoveries indicate that there are several routes taken by migrating waders through Africa: along the west coast of southern Africa to the Gulf of Guinea and then across the Sahara to the Mediterranean; along the Rift Valley lakes and the River Nile; and along the east coast of Africa. In view of the large numbers of wintering waders in the Nile Delta and Persian Gulf it is likely that these areas are important stop-over points for migrants, whilst ringing recoveries in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea show that these areas are also used. By highlighting the huge gaps in the knowledge of waders in these parts of the world, we hope to stimulate and direct waderologists to the poorer-known parts of Africa and Asia.