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Location Uzbekistan, Navoi
Central coordinates 64o 28.50' East  41o 40.03' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 4,306 ha
Altitude 600 - 974m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description Aktau mountain (974 m) is located in the Tamditau mountains in the central part of the Kyzylkum desert. It is the highest point in the desert area between the Amudariya and Sirdariya rivers. Steep slopes, cut by gorges, make it inaccessible for people and cattle. Therefore despite its proximity to large settlements it is seldom visited by people. The northeast foothills are 6-8 km from the regional center Tamdi city. In the western foothills is a winter hut which is sometimes visited by shepherds. The mountain is occasionally visited by hunters after Alectoris chukar and Ovis ammon. In summer the area is visited by tourists from Zarafshan city located 35 km to the west. The gorges of of the maountain have well-developed shrubby vegetation, and there are some springs and rain pits. Aktau is located in the center of the 70 km long Tamditau mountain chain and has a concentration of the main representatives of mountain fauna. Being a very ancient formation, Aktau mountain is a habitat for many partly endemic species of flora and invertebrates. Although only a few sites have been formally proposed under the A3 biome-restricted criteria (for biome CA04b Eurasian Desert and Semi-desert), many of the IBAs in the Kyzylkum Desert region support populations of biome-restricted species and, effectively, form a network of sites throughout the area.

Key Biodiversity Apart from the rare species that the site supports, Aktau has a unique ornithological value because of the presence of isolated populations of several species nesting to the south in the Pamiro-Alay mountains and found in the Kyzylkum only here: Sitta tephronota, Sylvia hortensis and Emberiza buchanani. Additionally, Rhodopechys sanguinea and Montifringilla nivalis have been recorded outside the breeding season. The complex of nesting birds at Aktau is the most representative of the birds of the desert low mountains of the Central Kyzylkum. Wheatears are especially rich – 5 species in three colour morphs, plus Scotocerca inquieta, Lanius phoenicuroides and Bucanetes mongolicus. In the mountains Alectoris chukar is numerous.

Non-bird biodiversity: There is a relic population of Ovis ammon severtzovi, which is possibly a full species. The relic areas of natural habitat support Hystrix indica and Microtus sp., well isolated from the main part of their natural ranges. Other mammals of note include Gazella subgutturosa subgutturosa and possibly Felis manul. Of reptiles, there are numerous species of Gekkonidae; of amphibians, Bufo viridis is numerous and its precise taxonomy is not yet established. Aktau mountain has no less than ten endemic species of plants and numerous endemic species of insects, but the invertebrate fauna is very poorly known.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  1971-2006  17-33 individuals  poor  A1  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  1971-2000  2-10 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  1970-2006  8-24 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  1971-2007  present  A1  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2006 high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   10%
Rocky areas   90%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 10%
tourism/recreation 5%

References Private archives and field notes of Mitropolsky O.V. for the period 1970-1999.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mount Aktau. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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