Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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67o 31.50' East 40o 39.72' North
A1, A4i, A4iii
240 - 289m
Year of IBA assessment
Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)
Site description The IBA is located 35 kilometres west of the regional centre Dustlik in Djizakh region. It is a wastewater reservoir fed from the Kly and Akbulak collector channels and from Aydar lake. The general area is more than 600 sq. km. The shores of the northern and southwestern parts of the lake are steep; the east is more flat, and the western is prone to flooding in recent years. In the northeastern and southeastern parts of the lake the shoreline is indented. Here there are many narrow long shallow gulfs with riparian forests and reed. The lake freezes, but not annually.
The whole of Tuzkan Lake is in need of protection. Strict protection (state reserve) for the southeast part has already been proposed by the GEF/UNDP "Creating of Nuratau-Kyzylkum biosphere natural sanctuary as a model of preservation biodiversity of Uzbekistan" project. A seasonal (wintering) natural sanctuary is suggested for the northwestern part which should include limitation of some kinds of activities eg fishing (contols and methods), hunting (species restrictions), reed management etc.
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 Tuzkan lake is located on an historical migration route therefore when in the 20th century its water area increased there was a rapid colonisation by many fish-eating species and waterfowl. Gradually it also has developed as a place for wintering and a stop over for migrants. The waterbirds of the southeastern part of the lake were studied in 1979 by E.A. Muchina (1983) in the vicinity of Arnasay reservoir, and she recorded 60 species, 16 of them nesting.
IBA research of the lake’s water areas in January 2003 and 2004 and of the lake and contiguous desert areas in July and November 2006 recorded 110 species. In summer during a survey of the coastal part of lake including the western, southern and eastern shores 73 species were recorded in one week.
Tuzkan Lake is of international importance for wintering of waterbirds supporting between 26,000 and 61,000 birds of more than 50 species. Globally threatened species included on the IUCN Red List are Pelecanus crispus, Haliaeetus leucoryphus and Aegypius monachus (coastal areas). In summer Ferruginous Duck breeds in the bays, and small flocks of Limnodromus semipalmatus occur on migration.
Non-bird biodiversity: Typical desert mammals include gerbils, jerboas, Spermophilopsis leptodactylus, Vulpes vulpes karagan, Vulpes corsac, Felis libyca and Felis chaus, Meles meles and Sus scrofa. The number of Canis aureus is increasing. Myocastor coypus is increasing in both distribution and numbers. IUCN listed animals are Agrionemys horsfieldi and Varanus griseus.
On the shores and islands there are thickets of desert plants (Haloxylon persicum, Populus ariana, P. proinosa, Alhagi psendalhagi, Ammodendron argentum, Astragalus amarus, Ferula caspica etc); scrub and grass vegetation; along the shoreline Phragmites communis and Typha angustifolia; in the water - Potomogeton lucens, P. pectinatus, Myriophyllum spicatum, Ceratophyllum demersum etc.
Protection status Arnasay State Natural Sanctuary - a specially created natural sanctuary for the protection of birds - was created after the liquidation of the Arnasay State Reserve. The reason for liquidation was the intensive development of fisheries. The Natural Sanctuary has less restrictions with only hunting prohibited. According to the plan of organization of the Nuratau-Kyizylkum Biosphere Natural Sanctuary a part of the lake (the delta of the Kly river and Akbulak collector channel) has been proposed as a reserved zone. Thus its importance as a place of concentration for waterfowl at different seasons of the year was taken into account.
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.
Busuttil S. An ornithological survey of globally threatened birds. INTERIM REPORT. UZBEKISTAN REPORT. January and April 2000 // OSME, Sandgrouse (engl).
Wetland International IWC Data Base (2003-2005)
Report on field surveys of IBA on Tuzkan and Arnasay, 2006 (in Russian)
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BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tuzkan Lake. Downloaded from
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