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Location Kazakhstan, Almaty region
Central coordinates 79o 15.00' East  43o 13.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 4,700 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 1,750m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The canyon of the upper Charyn river, in the high-mountain (1,600-1,800 m) Zhalanash valley, is near the north-eastern end of the Kungei Alatau ridge. The territory extends from the junction of the Shet-Merke and Orta-Merke rivers, along the Charyn river for 7 km. It includes the canyon with its branches, limited by the Kuluktau mountain slopes to the east and a field road going along the river from the west. The total width of the territory is about 1 km. The depth of the rock canyon is up to 100 m, with an additional 100 m of steep grassy slopes.

Key Biodiversity The area is interesting due to a combination of species of different landscapes and it is unique because of the only known colony of Cinereous Vultures in Kazakhstan. There is also a colony of 4-5 pairs of Gyps himalayensis, and the nests of Aquila chrysaetos, Ciconia nigra and Gypaetus barbatus have being found here too, together with breeding pairs of Falco pelegrinoides, F. naumanni, F.tinnunculus, Buteo rufinus, Circaetus gallicus, Falco subbuteo, Milvus migrans and Corvus corax. Other typical species are: Alauda arvensis, Anthus campestris, Riparia rupestris, Monticola solitarius, M. saxatilis, Oenanthe pleshanka, Sylvia communis, Coracias garrulus, Lanius phoenicuroides, Carpodacus erythrinus, Emberiza bruniceps, E. buchanani, E. stewarti, E. cia, E. leucocephala etc.

Non-bird biodiversity: Of large mammals, Capra sibirica, Vulpes vulpes and Canis lupus are observed here. Rodents are common. Reptiles are: Agkistrodon halis, Ablepharus alaicus. Typical grass of the pastures - Festuca sulcata, in the upper part of the area towards the mountains - tall motley grass. Typical bushes are: Rosa sp., Spirea sp., Cerasus tianschanica, Lonicera sp., Juniperus turkestanica, Berberis sp. In the hollows there are single trees of Crataegus sp., along the river there is a narrow strip of Populus diversifolia, in the upper part of the IBA there are some Picea schrenkiana and Populus tremola.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus breeding  2002-2005  4-7 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2005 high near favourable not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Rocky areas   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   minor
Shrubland   20%
Grassland   50%
Rocky areas   30%
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 50%
agriculture 50%
Notes: cattles (mainly sheeps, horses, partly caws) pasture

Protection status None.

References Sklyarenko, S.L., Mc.Grady, M., Katzner, T. and Kovalenko, A.V.(2003). The group settlement of Black Vulture in Kazakhstan. In: Matherials of IV Conference on birds of prey of Northern Eurasia. Penza: 249-251. (in Russian) Sklyarenko, S.L., Katzner, T., Mc.Grady, M. and Kovalenko, A.V.(2002). Black Vulture and Eurasian Griffon - to the Red Data Book. In: Kazakhstan Ornithological Bulletin. Almaty: 132-133. (in Russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Upper Charyn. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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