email a friend
printable version
Location Kazakhstan, South-Kazakhstan region
Central coordinates 68o 0.00' East  42o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 404,000 ha
Altitude 200 - 388m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The site is identical to the Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone of republican importance. It includes the eastern border of the Kyzylkum desert with sand dunes, as well as clay (partly with salty soils) plains on the left and right banks of the Syrdarya river, with desert vegetation and relatively small plots of riparian forests. The site consists of two parts - Karaktau (309,167 hectares, left bank) and Arys (94,833 hectares, right bank). The Karaktau part is more important in the breeding season. The most important bird species is Houbara Bustard.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  2001-2005  < 50 individuals  medium  A1  Least Concern 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca breeding  2001-2005  5-10 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus winter  2001-2005  5-15 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  2005-2006  500 individuals  medium  A1, A3  Not Recognised 
Chlamydotis undulata passage  2001-2004  1,500-2,700 individuals  medium  A1  Not Recognised 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-eyed Pigeon Columba eversmanni breeding  2001-2005  20-100 individuals  poor  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus resident  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  2001-2005  < 50 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Great Tit Parus major resident  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Saxaul Sparrow Passer ammodendri resident  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2001-2005  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Arys-Karaktau State Reservation 404,000 is identical to site 404,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy  80%
Shrubland Low bushes; Scrub  15%
Forest Flood-plain; Wooded desert & semi-desert  5%
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry plantations; Highly improved reseeded grasslands; Perennial crops, orchards & groves  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
Notes: cattle pasture (mainly sheeps) with low to moderate intensity, in some areas - vegetable gardens etc.
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity Typical mammals: Rhombomis opimus, a number of jerboas and other rodents, Lepus tolai, Vulpes vulpes, Vulpes corsac, Canis lupus, Meles meles, Gazella subgutturosa (this is rare because of poaching). Reptiles: Agrionemys horsfieldi, several species of Eremias, Trapelus sanguinolentus, snakes - Psammophis lineolatum, Agkistrodon halis, Elaphe dione, Coluber ravergiery, Eryx miliaris, Varanus griseus. Amphibia: Bufo bufo, Rana ridibunda. Vegetation. On the sand dunes: saxaul (Haloxylon persicum) with other bushes - Salsola richteri, Ephedra strobilacea, Calligonum aphyllum, C. leucocladum, Acanthophyllum elatius, Ammodendron conollyi. Along the foothills of small low mountain groups: Salsola arbuscula, Arthemisia sp., Astragalus squarrosus, Salsola rigida, Ammothamnus lehmannii, Ferula assa-foetida etc. On the clay plains: arthemisia-ephemeretum formations. Towards the Syrdarya river valley: plots of salty desrt with Halocnemum strobilaceum, Limonium, Halostachys, Tamarix karelinii, Halimocnemis, Suaeda, Petrosimonia, Anabasis salsa, Halocnemum, Alhagi kirghisorum, Karelinia caspica. Along the Syrdarya river there are areas of riparian forest ("tugai") with turanga (Populus diversifolia), Elaeagnus angustifolia, E. orientalis, Salix wilhelmsiana, S. songarica, Tamarix hispida, T. ramosissima, Halimodendron halodendron, with lianes - Clematis orientalis, Cinanchum sibiricum, Calystegia sepium.

Protection status The territory is identical to the Arys-Karaktau Reserved Zone.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone. Downloaded from on 20/10/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife