Night herons spotted in western Iran

April 17, 2019

TEHRAN – Some 500 night herons have been spotted in Zarivar wetland located in the western province of Kordestan for the first time, an official with Marivan department of environment has stated.

The night herons are short-necked, short-legged medium-sized herons, which stand still at the water's edge, and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night, while during the day, rest in trees or bushes. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, and small mammals.

Night herons breed mainly in southern and southeastern Europe and migrate across the Sahara to winter in central and West Africa.

Counting 500 night herons in Zarivar wetland have been unprecedented over the past three decades, IRNA quoted Habibollah Dabestani as saying on Monday.

Moreover, rare endangered demoiselle crane was spotted in the wetland for the first time, as well, he added.

The demoiselle crane, also known as Grus virgo, is a species of crane found in central Eurasia, ranging from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. Demoiselle was so named by Queen Marie Antoinette, for its delicate and maiden-like appearance.

According to a study conducted on the wetland, food availability and improved conditions of the wetland [following recent heavy rainfalls in the country] that made many migratory birds to wing their ways to winter in the area, he highlighted.

Omid Yousefi, head of wildlife monitoring affairs at the provincial department of environment in February said that about 8,000 endangered populations of lesser white-fronted geese are wintering in West Azarbaijan province, northwestern part of the country due to good conditions and food availability.

In December 2018, Majid Kharrazian-Moqaddam, head of aquatic animals and wildlife affairs at the Department of Environment said that the total population of migratory birds took flight to spend the cold season in the country increased by 26.5 percent last winter compared to a year earlier, with increased rainfall averages and accordingly wetlands being filled with water.

FB/MQ/MG

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