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Location Turkmenistan, Balkan
Central coordinates 52o 54.70' East  41o 3.22' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 1,227 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is located in the western part of the large sea lagoon - the Bay of Garabogazgol - which is separated from the Caspian Sea by a long sandy isthmus. In the central part a narrow passage divides the isthmus into northern and southern sections. This passage, with a width of no more than 300 m and length of no more than 10 km, connects the sea to the bay. The bay has no constant inflows and receives water from the Caspian Sea. There is a delta area where deposition of inorganic substances (salts, sand crystals) and organic materials (seaweed, molluscs), create spits and small islands, a dynamic process affecting the delta and animal populations (fish and birds).

Key Biodiversity The avifauna includes not less than 280 species, of which 240 (86%) are passage-wintering birds, including 120 (43%) which are waterbirds, representing 46 and 23% respectively of the total avifauna of Central Asia. Passeriformes are most numerous (96 species), followed by Haematopodidae (45), Anseriformes (28), Falconiformes (27) and Laridae (16). Typical species 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 flyway along the east coast of the Caspian. Waterbird spring migration has a high turnover rate, with migration beginning in the middle of March and finishing at the end of April. In the autumn migration shows several peaks and is prolonged, starting at the end of August and lasting to the beginning and middle of November. Several migratory species 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 non-migratory - Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, 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 from which are rodents (21 species), the others being predators (8), chiropterans (5), insectivores (4), ungulates (2). Reptiles are represented by 30 species, the most significant being the 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 consists of halophytic and salsolas communities. Sandy areas though are fixed by vegetation, but it is sparse: ephedra, a few species of Calligonum, Salsola richteri, saxaul (Haloxylon persicum - rare). Carex physodes also occurs sparsely togther with ephemerals.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula winter  2007  1,000-12,614 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug winter  2007  1 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2007  min 20,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2007 medium not assessed not assessed

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   5%
Desert   5%
Wetlands (inland)   10%
Sea   80%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 89%
Notes: (border zone)
other 5%
urban/industrial/transport 1%
unknown 5%

Protection status Not protected.

References H.I. Atamuradov.(1999) Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Turkmenistan. (in Russian). A.G. Aganbegyan. Gara-bogaz-gol yesterday, today, tomorrow. - Ashkhabad: Ylym, 1988. (in Russian).

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

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