email a friend
printable version
Location Uzbekistan, Bukhoro
Central coordinates 63o 29.18' East  40o 23.78' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 64,242 ha
Altitude 180 - 208m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description Karakyr lake system is situated in the SW Kyzylkum desert 30 km to the N of Gazly town and 120 km to the NW of Bukhara town. Nearby there are some large hills with the same name. Karakyr was created in the 1970s and consists of two large wastewater lakes and a large area of floodplain located along the collector channel supplying the lakes. The lakes have open water areas surrounded by reed. Seepage and flooding of the sandy desert surrounding the lakes and floods is resulting in the growth of grassy vegetation and the sands are becoming fixed. The water supply of lakes is excess water from the Northern collector. The main period of inflows is in March-April. Karakyr lakes system consists of three separate lakes: Big Karakyr, Small Karakyr and Aquarium. The general area (with a buffer zone) is about 50,000 ha. The maximal depth is 4.0-5.0 m (10-15 % of all area), the average depth is 2.3-3.0 m (65-75 %). In summer due to the high rate of evaporation and a reduction of water inflows most of the reservoir (40-50 %) dries up and there is eutrophication. The bottom of the lake is basically firm but there are oozy sediments in some areas. The general mineralization is rather high: from 5,360 mg/l in winter-spring up to 12,842 mg/l in summer-autumn. 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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus winter  2005  30 adults only  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  2000-2005  115-27,695 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  2000-2005  917-12,332 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  2000-2005  1,102-41,700 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  2000-2005  184-34,050 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  2004  50 adults only  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula winter  2000-2004  1-790 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Smew Mergellus albellus winter  2000-2005  2-491 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  2004-2006  30-5,000 adults only  medium  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena winter  2004-2005  1-300 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  44 adults only  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  2000-2005  23-5,560 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  2000-2005  3-2,040 adults only  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  1998-2000  2-14 individuals  good  A3  Not Recognised 
Common Coot Fulica atra winter  2000-2005  5,206-46,000 adults only  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  1998-2006  2-14 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Turkestan Ground-jay Podoces panderi resident  1998-2006  1 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta breeding  1998-2006  1-5 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  1998-2006  3-20 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus resident  1998-2006  2-6 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  1998-2006  1-7 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2000-2004  85,070-144,173 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Karakir Wildlife Refuge 30,000 protected area overlaps with site 20,195  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   3%
Shrubland   3%
Desert   10%
Wetlands (inland)   79%
Artificial - terrestrial   5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 30%
fisheries/aquaculture 40%
forestry 5%
hunting 20%
nature conservation and research 10%

Other biodiversity Various mammals occur in the adjacent desert including Gazella subgutturosa (included in the Uzbekistan Red Data Book). Huntable species include Lepus tolai and Sus scrofa. Vulpes corsac, Felis chaus and Felis libyca also occur. Rodents are represented by gerbils and jerboas. Introduced species include Ondatra zibethicus and Myocastor сoypus. Of reptiles Varanus griseus and Teratoscincus scincus are included in the Uzbekistan Red Data Book. There are also various lizards, agamas and Trapelus sanguinolentus. In the lakes Barbus capito conocephalus, Cyprinus carpio, Silurus glanis, Stizostedion lucioperca and other fish can be found. Rana ridibunda and Bufo viridis are numerous. Zooplankton in the lakes includes 15 species. In shallow water areas reed is common. There are Potamogeton sp., on the shore thickets of tamarix. In the sandy desert characteristic vegetative associations consist of bushes of saxaul and sandy acacia.

Protection status Karakyr state reserve was created by Decision of the Bukhara regional executive committee № 15/1 from 25.01.1992.

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). Wetlands International IWC Data Base (2003-2004)

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Karakyr Lakes. Downloaded from on 26/10/2014

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