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Location Uzbekistan, Surkhandarya
Central coordinates 67o 29.25' East  37o 24.90' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 2,987 ha
Altitude 330 - 380m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description Aktepe Reservoir, and adjoining lakes, are situated in the south of Uzbekistan, 22-25 km NE of the town of Termez and 7 km SE of the town of Jarkurgan, in the valley of the River Surkhandarya. It is situated in the sandy desert on the border of developed land. The area is hilly and the coastline is indented; in some places, it is precipitous. There are three islets with precipitous shores in the reservoir. Around the reservoir, there are shoreline thickets of reed, tugai forest and a sandy desert. A small canal flows into the SE part of the reservoir, feeding it with the water from the Amuzang canal. The average depth is 6.5 m. The water flow is regulated. There is a wastewater canal in the SE part of the reservoir. There is a chain of small lakes situated 7 km to the south of the reservoir, which include the so-called Three Lakes. The water level and salinity in these lakes have not been studied. In winter, these water bodies are not frozen. It is suggested that the IBA will include two sites. The first will cover the water area of the reservoir and the coastal strip 200-300 m in width (a buffer zone), which will stretch along the border of the Akteoe Natural Park of local importance (1,300 ha). The second site will cover the territory of the Three Lakes (1,300 ha). Although only a few sites have been formally proposed under the A3 biome-restricted criteria (for biome CA04b Eurasian Desert and Semi-desert), many of the IBAs in the Kyzylkum Desert region support populations of biome-restricted species and, effectively, form a network of sites throughout the area.

Key Biodiversity From 25 February to 15 May 1975, spring migration surveys were made in the flood plain of the River Surkhandarya, situated 20 km from Termez, by associates of the Institute of Zoology of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences. This recorded 160 bird species. This included the following globally endangered species: Aquila heliaca (migrating), Circus macrourus, Numenius tenuirostris (a sole bird on 5 and 6 May), Aegypius monachus (migrating) and Coracias garrulus (breeding). A flock of 20 migrating Greater Flamingo which is included in the National Red Data Book was also noted (Ostapenko, Kashkarov, Lanovenko, 1978). In recent years, 96 species (mainly waterbirds) have been recorded in the IBA area during winter and breeding. ervoir ktepe together with adjoining lakes is of high importance for wintering birds. Winter counts (2003-2006) resulted in the record of 55 avian species. There are 34 species of waterbirds among them. Six species included in the IUCN Red List are included, namely, Pelecanus crispus, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Aythya nyroca, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aquila heliaca and Tetrax tetrax. During the 2006 summer survey (7 to 10 June 2006), 69 species were recorded, of which 3 species are included in the IUCN Red List: Marmaronetta angustirostris, Aythya nyrоса and Coracias garrulous, as well as 4 species representing the biome 4b: Caprimulgus aegyptius, Hippolais rama, Parus bokharensis, and Emberiza bruniceps. Five globally endangered species were recorded there but in low numbers Marmaronetta angustirostris and Aythya nyroca are thought to be nesting in summer. Coracias garrulus is a common nesting species in this area. Falco cherrug and Falco pelegrinoides regularly visit the ВОТ area from adjoining territories for hunt. A flock of 30 Tetrax tetrax individuals was recorded in the neighboring fields in the spring 2005.

Non-bird biodiversity: Typical animals of the tugai forest include Wolf, Pheasant, Shikra, Turkestan Tit and Nightingale. Of vertebrates, many widespread fish species occur - rudd, cat-fish, pike perch, sazan, (bred as a result of cross breeding with carp) and introduced Silver Carp. Nutria inhabits the adjoining lakes. Grass snake, as well as marsh frog and common toad can be encountered near the water. Yellow souslik, small and large jerboas, tolai hare, corsac fox, grey monitor, Phrynocephalus interscapularis and Horsfield’s tortoise inhabit areas of sandy desert. National Red Data Book species recorded are the vulnerable, declining and patchily distributed insect species Tugay Blue (Glaucopsyche charibdis) and Turanga Sphinx (Laothoe philerema); the declining endemic subspecies of fish - Barbus capito, Sharpray (Capoetobrama kuschakewitschi) and Aral Goldside Loach (Sabanejewia aurata, included in the IUCN Red List, category DD); and the reptiles, grey monitor (Varanus griseus) and cobra (Naja oxiana included in the IUCN Red List, category DD).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus winter  2003-2006  20-357 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  2003-2006  167-751 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  2003-2006  444-2,687 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2006  30 adults only  poor  A1  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2003-2004  21,267-26,354 individuals  good  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Some of site covered (10-49%)  Unknown  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Natural park Aktepe National Park 1,034 protected area contained by site 1,034  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   2%
Shrubland   2%
Desert   1%
Wetlands (inland)   90%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 85%
nature conservation and research 75%
water management 80%

References Unpublished works Wetland International IWC Data Base (2003-2006) Wetland International IWC Data Base (2003-2005) The report of the field trip of 7 to 14 June 2006 within the project “Most important ornithological territories of Uzbekistan (in Russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Aktepe Reservoir and Three Lakes. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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