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Location Turkmenistan, Lebap
Central coordinates 66o 28.36' East  37o 44.25' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 75,289 ha
Altitude 900 - 3,139m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA occupies the southwest slope of the Koytendag (Kugitang) ridge - the southwest termination of the Hissar range of the Pamir-Alay mountain system. Administratively the IBA is located in the southeast of Turkmenistan, and occupies the middle and high mountain zone at heights of 900 to 3,139m above sea level (Ayribaba mountain).

Key Biodiversity The avifauna of the southwest Koytendag slope consists of three ornithological complexes: Turanian deserts, Kopetdag-Khorosanian and Pamiro-Alay mountain system, with biome CA04, CA06 and CA07 species represented. The avifauna includes 144 species (15 orders, 38 families, 89 genus). Nesting birds – 122 species, non-migratory – 55 species, passage-nesting – 67 species, migratory – 18 species and passage – 14 species. Passeriformes (18 families, 53 genus, 91 species) and Falconiformes (2 families, 12 genus, 22 species) are most representative in terms of the number of species. 13 species are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. Species of the Sino-Himalayan temperate forest (Biome CA07) are: Parus rufonuchalis and Parus flavipectus and Certhia himalayana. Those of Biome CA06 are: Ammoperdix griseogularis, Irania gutturalis, Oenanthe finschii, Oenanthe picata capistrata, Sitta tephronota tephronota, Emberiza stewarti and Emberiza buchanani. Biome CA05 is represented by: Rhodopechys sanguinea, Montifringilla nivalis, Сalandrella acutirostris, Anthus spinoletta and Tichodroma muraria and Biome CA04 by: Scotocerca inquieta and Emberiza bruniceps. On migration: Aquila nipalensis and Aquila heliaca occur. Criterion А1 applies for: Aegypius monachus and Falco cherrug. Falco naumanni also occurs but numbers are insufficient to justify inclusion under this criterion.

Non-bird biodiversity: The flora of the IBA is represented by 982 species (430 genus and 86 families). The main plants are angiosperms (99.0%), which include a few ancient representatives: gymnosperms, ferns and Equisetaceae (10 species from 9 genus). Ten main families make up 64.8% of the composition of the flora – a typical feature of ancient-Mediterranean flora. Superpolymorphic genera are: Astragalus (69 species), Allium (32) and Cousinia (25). The list of vertebrate animals includes 10 species of fish, 2 amphibians, 28 reptiles, 144 birds and 51 mammals. In total 226 vertebrate taxa. 30 species of amphibians and reptiles have been recorded, with 2 species of amphibians, 1 - turtle, 15 - lizards and 14 — snakes (Shukurov, 1975, 1976 ; Ataev, 1985; Мakeev, 1987; Habibulov, 1990). 51 species of mammal have been recorded including: insectivores – 4, Chiroptera – 13, lagomorphs – 1, rodents – 10, predators - 11, ungulates – 5. In the Red List of IUCN and the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan are listed 18 rare species, including endemics: Lynx, Cervus elaphus, Capra falconeri and Ovis vignei. The most threatened are Cаpra falconeri, Ursus arctor, Hyaena hyaena, Lynx lynx, and Cervus elaphus bactrianus. The population of leopard (Panthera pardus) in Koytendag has possibly disappeared. (Mammals of Turkmenistan, 1995; Lukarevsky, etc., 2001).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis resident  2003-2006  50-60 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2003-2006  3-5 breeding pairs  good  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus breeding  1967-2006  6-7 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Dark-grey Tit Parus rufonuchalis resident  2003-2006  25-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Parus flavipectus resident  2003-2006  30-32 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Not Recognised 
Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus breeding  2003-2006  10-15 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Rock-nuthatch Sitta tephronota resident  2003-2006  65-70 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Treecreeper Certhia himalayana resident  2003-2006  5-7 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis breeding  2003-2006  20-25 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  2003-2005  15-20 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata breeding  2003-2006  45-50 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes resident  2003-2006  4-5 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-breasted Bunting Emberiza stewarti breeding  2003-2006  25-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Hodjakaraulskiy Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 6,011 protected area overlaps with site 6,011  
Hodjapil Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 31,635 protected area overlaps with site 31,635  
Hordjaburdjibelend Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 17,592 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Karluk Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 40,000 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Kugitang State Nature Reserve 27,139 protected area overlaps with site 27,139  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   11%
Shrubland   9%
Grassland   10%
Desert   14%
Wetlands (inland)   8%
Rocky areas   30%
Artificial - terrestrial   18%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 56%
forestry 9%
military 10%
nature conservation and research 15%
tourism/recreation 7%
urban/industrial/transport 3%

Protection status The territory of the Koytendag reserve together with its zakazniks is represented by a single block which extends along the border of Turkmenistan with Uzbekistan, and is adjacent to Surhandarinskiy reserve (UZ). Koytendag reserve is located on the right bank of the river Amu Darya and situated on the middle and upper zone of the southwest ridge of Koytendag mountain, making up 49% of the area the IBA. Part of the habitats of rare species of animals and plants (15-20%) is outside of the reserve.

References Atayev, Ch.А. (1985). Reptiles of mountains of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Ylym. p. 344 (in Russian). Bukreev S.A. (1997) Ornithogeography and reservation matters of Turkmenistan. Мoscow: 157 p. (in Russian). Efimenko N.N. (2004) Birds of the western part of Koytendag mountains // Problems of desert development, №2. С.56-58. (in Russian). Lukarevskiy V.S., Efimenko, N.N.(2001) Modern condition of a urial population in Turkmenistan. Problems of desert developments. №4: 40-45. (in Russian). Makeev V.M., Bozhansky A.T., (1988). Some results herpetological inspections East Turkmenistan /Rare and little-studied animals of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Ylym. (in Russian). Marochkina V.V. (1993) Materials on chiropterans of East Turkmenistan // Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences. Biology Sciences, №3. (in Russian). Nikitin V.V., Geldyhanov A.M. (1988). Identification guide of plants of Turkmenistan. Leningrad. Nauka, 673. (in Russian). Habibulov M.R. (1990) Reptiles of Kugitang-Tau (East Turkmenistan): Fauna, ecology, protection. (PhD. Thesis). (in Russian). Hodzhakuliev A.R. (1983). Nature complexes of Gaurdak-Kugitang region and questions of their development. (PhD. Thesis). Ashgabat .25 p. (in Russian). Rajapov M. Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Turkmenistan. Ashgabat, 2002. (in Russian, Turkmen and English). Rajapov M. Turkmenistan. Country Study on the Status of Biodiversity. Ashgabat, 2002. (in Russian, Turkmen and English).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Koytendag. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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