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Location Uzbekistan, Bukhoro
Central coordinates 64o 6.68' East  39o 7.52' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 49,658 ha
Altitude 183 - 267m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description Dengizkul lake is situated 75 km south-south west from Buhara town near the border with Turkmenistan. It is surrounded by mainly sandy desert with large sand dunes and bushes of saxaul and acacia – the northern part of the Sundukli sands. Hilly sands are most typical for the boundary region with Turkmenistan. The lake is situated in a natural low-lying landscape. The water is strongly salty and supplied by a collector-drainage channel. In former times it was the final reservoir of the Zarafshan river. The IBA consists of the open water area and coastal strip 500 metres wide.

Key Biodiversity The list of birds of Dengizkul Lake was compiled from personal records and the literature and includes 133 species. 53 species breed, 9 are resident, 14 wintering and 57 migrants Lanovenko, 2001). In August 2001 a brief survey of the coastal northern and northeastern part of the lake was carried out (Lanovenko, 2001) and this provided the information on the biome-restricted species used for this account. Winter counts in 2000 and 2003-2005 recorded 44 species, with the number of wintering birds ranging from 19,277 to 286,634 birds. The dominant species also changed between counts. These figures are comparable to those of winter aerial counts 1987, 1986 and 1990-91 when numbers ranged from 21,297 to 504,000 birds (Shernazarov, Nazarov, 1991; Asian Waterfowl Census 1990, Asian Waterfowl Census 1991). Nevertheless the total number of birds always exceeded 20,000. Important wintering species are Pelecanus crispus, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Aythya nyroca and Oxyura leucocephala.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include badger and jackal and there are colonies of gerbils and jerboas. Reptiles include Teratoscincus scincus, Varanus griseus (IUCN Red List species) and Phrynocephalus interscapularis. Amphibians include Bufo viridis. There are many different spiders here including karakurt and phalanx. Fish include Stizostedion lucioperca and Cyprinus carpio. There are numerous small sandhoppers which provide plentiful food for fish and birds. Vegetative associations consist of coastal thickets of reed and reed mace. On the shore there are several associations of desert vegetation and a poorly developed tugai association.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  2000-2005  187-10,670 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  2000-2005  4-120 adults only  medium  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  2000-2005  18-4,550 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  2000-2005  250-29,100 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  2000-2005  8-245 adults only  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Smew Mergellus albellus winter  2000-2005  18-350 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  2000-2005  185-5,135 adults only  good  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2000-2005  1-35 adults only  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Common Coot Fulica atra winter  2000-2005  1,820-208,036 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2001  2 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  2001  1 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Great Tit Parus major resident  2001  6 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta breeding  2001  1 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  1997-1998  5 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2001  1 adults only  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2000-2005  19,277-286,634 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Dengizkulskiy Wildlife Refuge 50,000 protected area contains site 49,658  
Lake Dengizkul Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 31,300 protected area contained by site 31,300  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   6%
Desert   9%
Wetlands (inland)   77%
Artificial - terrestrial   8%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 15%
military 70%
nature conservation and research 100%
other 15%

Protection status Dengizkul Ornithological Reserve was created by a Decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR №530 in 1973. Validity of this was prolonged by a decision of the Buhara Regional Executive Committee №157/11 from 26.06.90. In October 2001 Dengizkul lake was included in the list of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar site No.1108).

References Atadjanov, A., Filatov, A., Lanovenko, Y., Zagrebin, S., Chernogaev, E., Khodjaev, J. Aerial Survey of Wetlands in Uzbekistan (winter 2000). Report of the project RSGF "Protection of Uzbekistan's Wetlands and their Waterfowl". Part 3. Tashkent, June 2001. IWC National data base (2003-2005) Wetland International IWC Data Base (2003-2004) Busuttil S. An ornithological survey of globally threatened birds. INTERIM REPORT. UZBEKISTAN REPORT. January and April 2000 // OSME, Sandgrouse (engl).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dengizkul Lake. Downloaded from on 28/11/2014

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