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Location Turkmenistan, Balkan
Central coordinates 52o 52.60' East  40o 47.43' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 2,461 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2005

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is located on the coast of the Caspian Sea between the Garshy (80 km to the north of Turkmenbashy) and the border with Kazakhstan. The site covers a narrow strip of coast (no more than 2-3 km wide) and includes the following areas: from Cape Sue to Garbogazgol (650 hectares); from Garabogazgol to Cape Duldulata (330 hectares); from Cape Duldulata to the Garabogazgol passage (660 hectares); from the Garabogazgol passage to Aim (397 hectares); and from Aim to Garshy (415 hectares). The site, especially the last mentioned, abounds with small coves and bays alternating with underwater and surface stony ridges. In general the coast is low lying and sandy, 50 to 100 m wide with scattered areas of pebbles and bordered by a strip of hilly ridges with fixed sand, in some places forming large barkhan ranges, in the hollows of which there are occasional small patches of saltmarsh (solonchaks).

Key Biodiversity The avifauna includes not less than 280 species, of which 240 (86%) are passage-wintering birds, including 120 (43%) species of waterbirds. These represent 46 and 23% from the total avifauna of Central Asia respectively. Passeriformes are the most common (96 species), followed by Haematopodidae (45), Anseriformes (28), Falconiformes (27) and Laridae (16). The most typical, only on migration, are coots and ducks (Netta rufina, Aythya ferina, Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya fuligula, Aythya marila, Anas penelope, etc.), plus waders, gulls and terns. The IBA is located on a major migratory flyway along the east coast of the Caspian. In spring there is a high turnover rate of waterbirds, with migration from the middle of March to the end of April. In autumn the migration shows several peaks and is prolonged lasting from the end of August to the beginning and middle of November. The following species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) have been recorded: Platalea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus roseus, Anthropoides virgo, Buteo buteo, Pandion haliaetus, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Falco peregrinus, Circaetus gallicus, Burhinus oedicnemus, and also the non-migratory Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo. The globally threatened Vanellus gregarius and Aquila heliaca have also been recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna includes 40 species of mammal, half of which are rodents (21 species), the others are predators (8), chiropterans (5), insectivores (4) and ungulates (2). Reptiles are represented by 30 species, the most significant are snakes Natrix natrix and Natrix tessellata and the Central Asian agama (Agama sanguinolenta). The flora includes more than 370 species of higher plants. The vegetation of the coast is represented by halophytic and salsolas communities. Some sandy areas have fixed vegetation, but this is rare with ephedra, a few species of Calligonum, Salsola richteri, and saxaul (Haloxylon persicum). Carex physodes together with sparse ephemerals also occurs rarely.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  2005  133-3,160 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis winter  2005  8-1,010 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  2005  312 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug winter  2005  1 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei passage  2005  9-1,888 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2005  min 20,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2005 high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   5%
Desert   5%
Wetlands (inland)   50%
Sea   35%
Artificial - terrestrial   5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 70%
Notes: border zone
agriculture 5%
Notes: livestock
hunting 15%
urban/industrial/transport 5%
unknown 5%

Protection status Not protected.

References A.G. Aganbegyan. (1988) Gara-bogaz-gol yesterday, today, tomorrow. - Ashkhabad: Ylym,. (in Russian). H.I. Atamuradov (1999) Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. - V.1. - Ashkhabad: Turkmenistan, (in Russian). M. Rajapov. (2002) Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. (in Russian). M. Rajapov. (2002) Turkmenistan. Country Study on the Status of Biodiversity. Ashgabat. (in Russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Garabogaz - Garshy. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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