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Preliminary assessment of distribution and population size of wintering Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax in Iran

  • MOHAMMAD E. SEHHATISABET (a1), FAZEL ABDI (a2), ABBAS ASHOORI (a3), ABOLGHASEM KHALEGHIZADEH (a4), ALI KHANI (a5), KOROS RABIEI (a6) and MAHMOOD SHAKIBA (a7)...

Summary

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax surveys were conducted in Iran in autumn and winter from 2005/2006 to 2008/2009. Across northern Iran, Little Bustard presence was confirmed at 15 of the 84 sites visited during the surveys. Three main wintering regions were identified: the Moghan Plain in the north-west of the country, the Turkmen Sahra Plain at the south-east corner of the Caspian Sea and the Sarakhs Plain in the north-east, close to the Afghan border. Up to 10,050 individuals were counted in winter 2009 in the Moghan Plain, which was recognised as the most important area for wintering Little Bustards in Iran. The species was also found in good numbers in Miankaleh, Gomishan, Soufikam, Shour Lake and Sarakhs. Flocks comprising 51 to 500 individuals were the most commonly observed and represented 32% of occurrences. A marked increase in wintering population size was noted in recent years. The main wintering period in Iran extends from November to February. At a national scale, we estimated the Iranian wintering population of Little Bustards at 5,000–10,000 individuals. This preliminary assessment suggests the need for a nationwide survey, emphasising in particular the western, south-western and central parts of the country that were overlooked in our study. It suggests further that Little Bustards in Iran would greatly benefit from national and regional conservation programmes.

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*Author for correspondence; e-mail: akhaleghizadeh@hotmail.com

References

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Preliminary assessment of distribution and population size of wintering Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax in Iran

  • MOHAMMAD E. SEHHATISABET (a1), FAZEL ABDI (a2), ABBAS ASHOORI (a3), ABOLGHASEM KHALEGHIZADEH (a4), ALI KHANI (a5), KOROS RABIEI (a6) and MAHMOOD SHAKIBA (a7)...

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