From marshlands to mountains: Iraq’s most vital areas for wildlife are mapped for the first time in an important new publication, Key Biodiversity Areas of Iraq. In recent decades, both Iraq’s identity and its landscape have been scarred by conflict. But there’s another side to this vast Middle Eastern country the news reports don’t show: its stunning natural environments. From the world famous Mesopotamian Marshes – dubbed the ‘Cradle of Civilization’ - to mountain peaks;
Guest blog by Christy Sotiriou on behalf of the WWF Greece Dadia Programme
Five years ago, in 2013, WWF Greece and its team located in Dadia village in the northwestern part of the Evros regional unit, begun a beautiful journey of awareness, having as ultimate destination the safeguard of the Egyptian Vulture. Why did we choose that species?
I am sure that many of you are aware of the huge problems of illegal poaching, trapping and trade of migratory and resident species in the OSME region. The 2015 report by Birdlife International (The Killing) found that 2.6 million birds are illegally killed in Lebanon alone. It is also reassuring to note that this problem is now being investigated across the Middle East and North Africa.
Dmitry Dorofeev and his team have been counting and ringing shorebirds in the estuary of the Khairusova-Belogolovaya River, Kamchatka, Russia for a number of years. In 2016, they marked 320 Great Knots with engraved yellow flags, and have had subsequent re-sightings of birds in Japan, South Korea and Australia. But probably the most unexpected re-sighting was that of a Great Knot in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.
The Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus) is a target species for many birders visiting the OSME region, and it is the sole extant member of its genus and family. This small passerine has a relatively large range, with its breeding grounds covering parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, and a non-breeding range extending towards the south in Kuwait, KSA, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and portions of Iran, Pakistan and India. Despite its high profile with birders, there are no robust population estimates or understanding of population trends.
Regular readers of this website will be aware that OSME and BirdLife International are working on an assessment of the scale of illegal bird killing across the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran. Data have already been collated and reviewed for most of the countries within our study area and we are now finalising the data for Iran and Saudi Arabia. We are inviting those with a knowledge of the birds of Iran and Saudi Arabia to provide comments on our preliminary data.
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OSME Region Map
The map above shows the region and countries covered by OSME
Sandgrouse is published by OSME contains papers and short notes on the ornithology of the OSME region, provides bird and conservation news from the region and a comprehensive round up of bird sightings in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia.