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Location Belarus, Vitebsk
Central coordinates 27o 55.00' East  55o 34.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B2
Area 27,948 ha
Altitude 136 - 138m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Akhova Ptushak Belarusi

Site description The site is Belarus' largest complex of bogs and transition mires with numerous lakes bringing uniqueness to the monotonous mire landscape.

Key Biodiversity A total of 98 bird species have been recorded, including 23 National Red Data Book species. Yelnia hosts scattered colonies of waders and numerous gull colonies, the latter found mainly on lakes. It is also a breeding ground for several typical bog species rare in Belarus, such as Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica, Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus, Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus and Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Yelnia is also an important stop-over ground for migrating geese and cranes in spring and autumn.

Non-bird biodiversity: 11 plant species growing on the mire and mineral islands are listed in the National Red Data Book. One can encounter Dwarf Birch Betula nana and Cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus.7 amphibian species, 5 reptile, and 31 mammal species are found. Most mammals occur along the periphery of the mire and visit the mire in search for food. There is a high abundance of Adder Vipera berus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Grouse Lyrurus tetrix resident  1990-2001  150-180 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus non-breeding  1990-2001  2,000-2,500 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus breeding  1990-2001  50-60 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus breeding  1990-2001  40-50 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Elnya Zakaznik 23,200 protected area contains site 23,200  
Yelnia Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 46,400 protected area contains site 23,200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest  17%
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Raised bogs; Standing freshwater  83%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 70%
not utilised 20%
forestry 5%
other 5%

Protection status National Conservation Status: A national hydrological zakaznik was established in 1968. In 1981 the borders of the zakaznik were revised. International Conservation Status: An IBA was established in 1998 (code BY002, criteria À4, Â1, Â2).Ramsar site (criterion 1, 3, 5, 6).

References A.Kozulin, L.Vergeichik, M.Nikiforov and others. Treasures of Belarusian nature.- Minsk, 2002. -160 p.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Balota Jel'nia. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife