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Location Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan autonomous region
Central coordinates 58o 31.22' East  43o 28.97' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 46,467 ha
Altitude 50 - 156m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description The IBA is located in the Muinak district of the Kungrad region of the Autonomous Republic Karakalpakstan, 220 km from the town of Nukus. Sudochie consists of a large number of small and four large reservoirs (Akushpa, Karateren, Begdulla-Aydyn and Bolshoe Sudochie) and adjoining areas. Akuspa covers 11,600 ha. The southern and western shores of the lake have a poorly indented coastline; the northern and eastern shores are strongly indented and boggy. The lake is surrounded by reedbeds. Open water makes up about 60% of its general area. Karateren lake extends around the Urga cape of the Ustyurt plateau and covers an area of 475 ha. The shoreline adjoining the Ustyurt plateau is poorly indented, whereas the opposite shore, especially its northern part, is characterized by many indentations and a boggy shoreline. The lake is surrounded by continuous reedbeds and reed-mace. Begdulla-Aydyn lies in the central part of the wetland and covers an area of 1,850 ha. The Kungrad collector channel enters the lake on its western side while on its eastern side a kilometre long channel connects it with Lake Bolshoe Sudochie. There is scattered vegetation throughout the open water areas but there are dense thickets of reed-mace along the shore. Bolshoe Sudochie lake lies in the southeastern part of the wetland and covers 5,100 ha. The lake in general, especially its southern and eastern part, has a poorly indented shoreline, overgrown by a solid wall of reed. Reed is also dense along the northern shore but the open water area is largely devoid of surface vegetation. Other parts of the shoreline are dominated by reed-mace associations. The Sudochie wetland remains one of the most ecologically intact zones of the Amudariya river delta. It is a place of preservation and maintenance of the biodiversity of this region. The lake supports many breeding waterbird species plus many migrants, including rare and disappearing species, using the Western-Asian migratory route.

Key Biodiversity Three years of ecological monitoring at Sudochie lake and its environs recorded 230 species of 17 orders. Approximately 110-120 (average 117) species were breeding representing about 52.2% and 26.5% respectively of the ornithological fauna of Uzbekistan. Of the cliffs of the Ustyurt plateau and desert area around the lake, the most typical species are: Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetus, Falco cherrug, F. naumanni and F. tinnunculus, Bubo bubo and Athene noctua, Bucanetes githagineus, Corvus monedula and Corvus corax. The first nest of of Haliaeetus albicilla in Uzbekistan was also found here (Krejtsberg-Muchina and others, 2004). In the ravines of the cliffs Alectoris chukar, Coracias garrulus, Merops superciliosus, Upupa epops, Tadorna ferruginea and Tadorna tadorna nest. In the desert Chlamydotis undulata, Burhinus oedicnemus, Pterocles orientalis, Caprimulgus aegyptius, Galerida cristata, Calandrella rufescens, Oenanthe isabellina, Lanius excubitor, Sylvia nana and Rhodospiza obsoleta all breed. On the shore of the reservoirs and nearby saline soils are Charadrius dubius, Ch.alexandrinus, Ch. asiaticus and Ch. leschenaultii. On the islands and marshes nest Vanellus leucurus, Himantopus himantopus, Recurvirostra avosetta, Glareola pratincola, Larus cachinnans, Gelochelidon nilotica, Sterna hirundo, S. albifrons and S. caspia. In the damp areas near the lakes with tamarisk, reed and coastal meadow cereals typical species are Phasianus colchicus, Cuculus canorus, Motacilla personata, Motacilla flava, Erythropygia galactotes, Panurus biarmicus, Hippolais rama, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, A. stentoreus, A. dumetorum and A. agricola, Remiz coronatus, Emberiza schoeniclus and Corvus corone. The IBA is located in the central part of the Central Asian flyway and is a stopover location for waterbirds from the north of Europe and Asia, Western Siberia and Kazakhstan on migration to wintering areas on the southern Caspian Sea, and in Africa, India and Pakistan. Spring migration begins in the middle of March and ends in the middle of May. During monitoring 24 rare and vulnerable species were recorded, 13 of them included in the International Red Book of IUCN (2000), and 18 in the Red List of Uzbekistan (2003). Aythya nyroca was formerly a usual breeding species on reservoirs near the Aral Sea (Kashkarov, 1987) but it is now rare. Although it was recorded on the wetland’s reservoirs practically throughout all of the monitoring period, numbers were insignificant. Of note was the discovery of Oxyura leucocephala, classed as Endangered by iucn in 2000, in significant migratory concentrations and also the first breeding record for Uzbekistan. Previously the species was known only as a rare and insufficiently studied migrant, possibly nesting (Kashkarov, 1987, Krejtsberg-Muchina, 2003). Special attention should also be given to the occurrence of Numenuis tenuirostris, Critically Endangered, on migration (Krejtsberg-Muchina, Lanovenko, 2004). Other interesting records include Limnodromus semipalmatus and Glareola nordmanni which occur during spring migration and in the summer. Thus, the Sudochie wetland has huge value for the preservation of globally threatened species and species in the National Red Book. It is desirable to establish a protected area with the borders of the wetland and observations suggest that Akushpa lake woulkd be the most appropriate location.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals - 25 species of 6 orders: Insectivora - 2 species, Chiroptera - 4 species, Carnivora - 9 species, Artiodactyla - 3 species, Rodentia - 11 species, Lagomorpha - 1 species. The National Red Book (2003) includes 1 species (Gazella subgutturosa); the IUCN Red List 3 species (Felis caracal, Gazella subgutturosa and Saiga tatarica) and CITES appendices 4 species (Canis lupus, Felis libyca, Felis chaus and Felis caracal). Historical hunting records indicate the presence of Ondatra zubethicus around the reservoirs next to the Aral Sea in 1944. Amphibious represented by 2 species: Bufo viridis and Rana ridibunda. Reptiles – more than 15 species. Presence of Agrionemys horsfieldii, Natrix tessellata, Varanus griseus, 3 species of Eremias, 3 species of Phrynocephalus, and 2 species of racers (Coluber ravergieri and Coluber karelini), Teratoscincus bedriagai, Cyrtopodion caspius and Crossobamon eversmanni, Trapelus sanguinolentus is exactly established. Fish fauna of the wetlsnd is represented by 24 species and subspecies of fishes. Much of them concern to Cyprinidaes – 16 species. Coastal vegetation of Sudochie is represented by 71 species of higher plants. Coastal vegetation of Bolshoe Sudochie’s lake is the richest – 59 species. Vegetative cover in modern delta almost everywhere has traces of people’s activity.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta passage  1999-2002  90-15,680 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  1999-2002  15-6,200 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Mute Swan Cygnus olor passage  1987-2005  17-3,000 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos passage  1987-2002  200-29,000 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata passage  1999-2002  29-13,260 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina passage  1987-2005  2,000-39,000 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  1999-2005  1-204 adults only  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  1999-2008  1-4,000 adults only  medium  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena passage  1999-2002  152-343 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus passage  1999-2002  10-1,160 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis passage  1999-2002  3-2,477 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus passage  1999-2002  54-917 adults only  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba passage  1999-2005  5-1,220 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus passage  1999-2005  2-6,500 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  1999-2002  20-434 adults only  good  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  1999-2005  4-2,800 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  1999-2005  112-5,894 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug breeding  1999-2002  1-6 adults only  medium  A1  Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga passage  2000-2002  2-5 adults only  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  2000-2002  1-2 adults only  poor  A3  Not Recognised 
Common Coot Fulica atra passage  1987-2003  8-30,900 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus passage  2000-2002  110-1,200 adults only  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  2000-2002  common  A3  Least Concern 
Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus breeding  2000-2002  common  A3  Least Concern 
Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus passage  2000-2002  1-10 adults only  poor  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2000-2002  2-2,430 adults only  poor  A4i  Near Threatened 
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris passage  2000-2001  1-4 adults only  poor  A1  Critically Endangered 
Ruff Calidris pugnax passage  2000-2002  4,200 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Larus cachinnans passage  2000-2002  500-2,400 individuals  good  A4i  Not Recognised 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2000-2002  1 adults only  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2000-2002  1-14 adults only  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2000-2002  1-2 adults only  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  2000-2002  4 adults only  poor  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1999-2000  11,400-86,000 individuals  medium  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) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sudochye Wildlife Refuge 50,000 is identical to site 41,940  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   4%
Desert   -
Wetlands (inland)   92%
Rocky areas   4%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 20%
forestry 10%
hunting 50%
fisheries/aquaculture 30%
nature conservation and research 20%
Notes: Sudochie natural sanctuary
water management 40%

Protection status Sudochie natural sanctuary.

References Lars Lachmann and Axel Braunlich (2002) Criteria for the identification of Important Bird Areas in Kazakhstan. Atadjanov A., Filatov A., Lanovenko Y., Safronov L., Zagrebin S., Kashkarov D., Khodjaev J., Goncharov G. Sammary of Existing Data on Past Waterfowl Surveys in Uzbekistan. Phase 2. Report of the project “Protection on Uzbekistan’s Wetlands and their Waterfowl”. Tashkent, 1999, 56p.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sudochye Lake. Downloaded from on 02/12/2015

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