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Location Uzbekistan, Navoi
Central coordinates 62o 59.97' East  42o 4.85' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 2,033 ha
Altitude 50 - 100m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description A brackish lake artificially created by artesian wells situated in the lowest part of the Minbulak hollow in the Central Kyzylkum. Water levels are affected by atmospheric precipitation and show a small amount of seasonal fluctuation. However, in general, there appears to be a steady increase, both in water levels and the general area of the lake. Throughout the observation period the area of reedbeds has increased. As the lake is up to 15-20 m. deep, the borders of the reedbeds are well defined. On the shore water-tolerant shrubby and grassy vegetation is well developed. The lake is surrounded by barkhan sands. Aksay lake is located in the central part of the Kyzylkum desert, 50 km to the west of Uchkuduk city and 25 km to south-east of Minbulak settlement.

Key Biodiversity Aksay lake has a typical community of wetland birds of the arid region reservoirs of Central Asia. Common breeding species are Podiceps cristatus, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Fulica atra, Gallinula chloropus, Netta rufina, Anas platyrhynchos, Ardea cinerea, Vanellus leucurus and Recurvirostra avosetta. Typical passerines are Acrocephalus scirpaceus, Acrocephalus agricola, Cettia cetti, Acrocephalus melanopogon and Locustella luscinioides. Panurus biarmicus and Remiz macronix are very common. Many desert species visit the lake to drink including Pterocles orientalis and Pterocles alchata (the latter is a popular target for poachers throughout the year). During migration, a very wide variety of species occur, and it is the only site with Central Kyzylkum records of Crex crex, Pluvialis squatarola and Pluvialis fulva. On autumn migration there are numerous species of waterbird. The lake, which is rich in fish, is a key oasis in the extensive desert, and so of immense importance for migrants. During observations which cover the period 1970-2005, approximately 300 species have been recorded including almost all desert-biome and migrants listed in the national Red Data Book.

Non-bird biodiversity: Sus scrofa was formerly numerous in the reedbeds being met in hundreds, but is now practically exterminated. Gazella subgutturosa subgutturosa regularly drink from the lake. In the coastal dunes Varanus griseus is typical. They concentrate here especially during droughts and hunt mainly on birds. In the vicinity of the lake are rare species of jerboas – Jaculus turcmenicus, Allactaga bobrinskii and Eremodipus lichtensteini. Red Data Book species are: mammals - Gazella subgutturosa; reptiles – Varanus griseus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris passage  2006  40-100 individuals  poor  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  2005-2006  10-150 adults only  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2005  2-30 adults only  poor  A1  Endangered 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus passage  2005-2006  55-400 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus passage  1993  50-270 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Corncrake Crex crex passage  1993-2006  2-40 adults only  poor  A1  Least Concern 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo passage  1993-2006  100-2,000 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus breeding  2006  5 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Parus bokharensis resident  2006  20-40 adults only  good  A3  Not Recognised 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2006  15-25 adults only  good  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2006  50-100 adults only  good  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2006  20-50 adults only  good  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus resident  2006  30-50 adults only  good  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2006 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   57%
Wetlands (inland)   43%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 100%
Notes: On southern coast of lake there is a personal farm of herder. Its territory is enclosed by material at hand.
tourism/recreation 10%
Notes: The artesian chink with hot water functions. In 1970-1990 the lake was a summer pleasure resort for people from Uchkuduk city, in autumn and winter – for fishers and hunters. Now it’s not a pleasure resort any more. Earth roads became difficult to traverse and visiting the lake by people sharply reduced. Sometimes fishers (it is introduced a lot of fish in the lake) and hunters come.

References Notes of field researches in August 2005 and June 2006. Notes of Mitropolsky O.V.'s field researches in 1970-1999.

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

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