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International Journal of Biodiversity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4198690, 28 pages
Research Article

Distributions and Community Composition of Birds in Iraq’s Central Marsh

1School of Biology, Newcastle University, Ridley Building 2, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
2Department of Biology, College of Science for Women, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

Correspondence should be addressed to Nadheer A. Fazaa

Received 30 July 2016; Revised 22 December 2016; Accepted 19 January 2017; Published 8 March 2017

Academic Editor: Curtis C. Daehler

Copyright © 2017 Nadheer A. Fazaa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Central Marsh (CM) in southern Iraq is known to provide important habitats for both resident and migrant birds. The CM has been used extensively by humans, in part due to its high levels of productivity and biodiversity. It was drained in the 1990s by the government and reflooded and restored in 2003. Recent brief surveys of the CM from 2005 to 2010 recorded 94 bird species. Our study combined transects and point counts in detailed monthly surveys from October 2013 to June 2014 in the CM. We found a total of 125 bird species in the CM across all surveys, with 31 species recorded for the first time in the CM and 11 species categorised as red listed by the IUCN. Fourteen species were confirmed breeding in the CM. Cluster analysis using NMDS ordination showed that the study area can be divided into three main clusters of bird assemblages which are presented here. We provide management recommendations based on our findings.