BioRisk 3: 187-203, doi: 10.3897/biorisk.3.21
Key Biodiversity Areas: Rapid assessment of birds in Kurdistan, northern Iraq
Korsh Ararat
Abstract Bird surveys to help identify and assess Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) were undertaken in Kurdistan in the winter and summer of 2008. The winter survey was from 19 January to 8 February and the summer survey from 7 May to 16 June, a total of 45 days. During these periods a total of 34 sites were surveyed in the North Iraq governorates of Sulaimani, Erbil, and Dohuk and 185 species of birds recorded. Of these, according to IUCN criteria, one species was globally endangered, three vulnerable and two near threat- ened. In addition, 32 species were considered to be of conservation concern in Iraq, based on a system developed by Richard Porter. Of the species observed, 124 were confirmed or probable breeding, whilst 59 were winter visitors. The KBA selection process used the Middle East Important Bird Areas (IBAs) criteria, which considers seven species-based categories.