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Location Uzbekistan, Samarkand
Central coordinates 65o 23.82' East  39o 36.63' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 177,156 ha
Altitude 284 - 469m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description The IBA is situated 30 km south of the city of Navoi. Karnabchul is a foothill plain of the Zeravshan ridge, which stretches southwards from Zirabulak and Ziadin mountains. A mountain stream arising in the Zirabulak Mountains crosses the area; the latter is cut with shallow scours, rivulets, and drying beds of temporary streams abounding with small pebbles and crushed stone. There are also salt-marsh depressions and takyrs deprived of any vegetation, and a huge salt marsh named Shorsai. The soil surface mainly consists of loamy-sand and loamy small crushed-stone desert sierozem and gray-brown gypsum soils showing varying levels of salinity.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna consists of 90 species, including 51 nesting species. A large number of species use this area for resting and feeding during migration. The most diverse are waterbirds, with 38 species noted - 11 species are Anseriformes; 13 shorebirds; 4 gulls and terns; 4 Rallidae; 5 Ciconiiformes and 2 species of crane. Five species are included in the IUCN Red Data Book: Falco cherrug, Falco naumanni, Aegypius monachus, Circus macrourus and Chlamydotis undulata. In addition Aquila chrysaetos, Hieraaetus pennatatus, Circaetus gallicus and Pterocles alchata are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan. It is important to emphasize the key role of this site for the protection of Chlamydotis undulata. The number in Karnabchul reaches several dozen during the nesting period.

Non-bird biodiversity: Twenty-seven mammals inhabit the area. The main species are rodents - Citellus fulvus, Spermophilopsis leptodactylus, Allactaga sewertzovi, Allactaga elater, Dipus sagitta, Rattus turkestanikus, Mus musculus, Rhambomys opimus, Meriones lenducus, Ellobius talpinus, Cricetulus migratorius. Also recorded are: Lepus tolai, Vulpes corsac, Felis libyea, Vormela peregusna, Crocidura suaveoleus, Erinaceus auritus and Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Reptiles: Teratoscincus scincus, Gemnodactillus bedtschenkoi, Agama sanguinolenta, Phrynocephalus helioscopus, Phrynocephalus interscapularis, Varanus griseus, Eremias lineolata, Eremias grammica, Eryx tataricus, Taphrometopon lineolatum, Coliber karelini, Coluber tyria, Naja oxiana, and Testudo horsfieldi. Two species are included in the IUCN Red List (Varanus griseus and Testudo horsfieldi). Amphibians are represented by two species: Bufo viridis and Rana ridibunda. The vegetation cover is mainly comprised of wormwood and ephemeral formations. The dominant species are Aretmisia diffusa, Carex pachystylis and Poa bulbosa.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  2003-2006  4-142 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  2006  27,848 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  2006  1,495 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos passage  2006  16,419 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca passage  2006  19,166 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  2006  1,530 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug winter  1967-1980  1-5 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus non-breeding  2003-2005  1-6 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  1985-1989  1-60 adults only  medium  A1, A3  Not Recognised 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2000-2005  1-2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  1990-2006  common  A3  Least Concern 
Parus bokharensis resident  2000-2006  common  A3  Not Recognised 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti breeding  2000-2005  5-30 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2000-2005  common  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2000-2006  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus resident  1980-2006  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  1990-2006  common  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2006  20,000-72,950 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 whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) 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)  
Karnabchul Wildlife Refuge 40,000 protected area contained by site 40,000  
Mubarekskiy Wildlife Refuge 219,534 protected area overlaps with site 18,000  
Nurabad Wildlife Refuge 40,000 protected area overlaps with site 20,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   5%
Desert   63%
Wetlands (inland)   5%
Rocky areas   18%
Artificial - terrestrial   9%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 75%
nature conservation and research 25%

Protection status A state reserve (zakaznik) was set up in 1985 with the purpose of preserving Chlamidotis undulata. During the breeding period of this species, it is advisable to prohibit grazing by cattle to protect the nesting population. It is also desirable to strengthen the level of protection of this species during its seasonal migrations.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Karnabchul Steppe. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife