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Location Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan autonomous region
Central coordinates 59o 49.05' East  43o 29.85' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 29,723 ha
Altitude 50 m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description The lake is situated in a former gulf of the Aral Sea at the mouth of the Kazakhdar’ya river. The water is brackish. In addition to river water, the site is also fed by thermal springs. A large dam which will separate the lake from the former sea is under construction. The water level in the lake has substantially stabilized. The lake is rather shallow, consisting of hundreds of open water area of different size and extensive reedbeds. On the shore there are large thickets of tamarisk. Soils are saline and sandy. A state forestry and hunting farm is located on the site and fishing and hunting are actively carried out. The lake is rather remote, the nearest settlement, Kazakhdar’ya, is situated 30 km away. However, during floods, it is necessary to travel 80-90 km to reach the site.

Key Biodiversity This is a large system of reservoirs with a rich fauna of waterbirds. All of the main species of reedbeds and shallow lakes breed: Phalacrocoraх carbo, Phalacrocoraх pygmaeus, Ardeidae, Platalea leucorodia, Plegadis falcinellus, Fulica atra, Anatidae. The rich fauna of wetland Passeriformes includes Remiz macronyx, Panurus biarmicus, Acrocephalus sp., and Locustella luscinioides. Of waders only Himantopus himantopus, Vanellus leucura and Charadrius alexandrinus nest, but on migration about 40 species of waders have been recorded. Predatory birds include Circus aeruginosus (numerous) and many Haliaeetus albicilla occur on migration and in winter. Zholdurbas lake is an unique place in Uzbekistan where Botaurus stellaris regularly nests.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are numerous commercially-traded mammals: Sus scrofa, Canis aureus, Felis libyca and Ondatra zibethicus. In the large thickets of tamarisk are numerous Lepus capensis tolai and Vulpes vulpes. Gazella subgutturosa is common, with breeding females with young noted. Being part of the former bed of the Aral Sea, the terrestrial fauna is rather poor.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  2000-2005  500-10,000 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  2000-2006  26-64 adults only  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2000-2005  10-100 adults only  medium  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus breeding  2005-2008  88-999 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus breeding  2005  80-300 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus breeding  2005-2006  94-3,000 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  2005-2006  200-2,000 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  2008  324 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2000-2005  50,000 individuals  poor  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very 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


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   20%
Desert   10%
Wetlands (inland)   70%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 70%
hunting 100%

Protection status Government forestry and hunting concession.

References Materials of field researches in August 2005 and June 2006. IBA project Field researches and processing of humeral bones, collected on Zholdirbas during autumn hunting in 2003-2004.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Zholdyrbas Lake. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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