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Location Tajikistan
Central coordinates 74o 27.68' East  38o 30.23' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 161,206 ha
Altitude 3,600 - 4,300m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Site description The Rangkul valley IBA is situated in the eastern part of the Pamir upland 60 km from the district centre of Murgab. It is a inter-mountain trough. The central part of the IBA is occupied by Rangkul and Shorkul lakes connected to each other by the Izyuk channel. Rangkul is a freshwater lake with an area of 8 km² and a depth of 6 m. Shorkul's area is 7 km² and the lake is brackish. These are closed lakes which are located at an altitude of 3,600-4,000m. Because both lakes freeze in winter there are no fish in them but there are lots of Gammarus, beetles, mosquito (Culex) larvae and other invertebrates. Vast areas of the valley, except the littoral zone of Rangkul and Shorkul lakes, are typically alpine semi-desert with strong winds and scattered vegetation of absinth and eurotia bushes. For the last 15 years in a radius of 30-40 km from settlements and summering areas all eurotia has been uprooted. This intensifies desertification, makes wind erosion more active and could lead to an ecological catastrophe in Pamir.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Tibetan Snowcock Tetraogallus tibetanus resident  2000-2005  2-4 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis resident  2000-2005  50-60 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus breeding  2000-2005  8-10 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  2000-2005  200-2,500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug breeding  2000-2005  2 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis resident  2000-2005  2-4 individuals  medium  A3  Near Threatened 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus breeding  2000-2005  20-30 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus breeding  2000-2005  5-7 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Tibetan Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes tibetanus resident  2000-2005  20-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus resident  2000-2005  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Hume's Lark Calandrella acutirostris breeding  2000-2005  150-200 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria resident  2000-2005  2-3 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus breeding  2000-2005  5-7 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis resident  2000-2005  20-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-streaked Accentor Prunella himalayana breeding  2000-2005  2-3 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens breeding  2000-2005  8-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Mountain-finch Leucosticte brandti resident  2000-2005  2,000-3,000 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla breeding  2000-2005  40-60 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-fronted Rosefinch Carpodacus puniceus breeding  2000-2005  1-2 breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Shorkul and Rangkul Lakes Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,400 protected area contained by site 2,400  
Tajik National Park National Park 2,600,000 protected area contains site 55,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Desert   95%
Wetlands (inland)   5%
Rocky areas   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 55%
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity Mammals are most varied. 3 species of Rodent are present: Marmota caudata, Microtus juldaschi and Alticola argentatus. Lagomorphs are Lepus tolai and Ochotona roylei [macrotis]. Wide valleys are the typical biotope for Ovis ammon. Rocky slopes are inhabited by Capra sibirica. Predators are Ursus arctos isabellinus, Uncia uncia, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Mustela nivalis and Mustela erminea. Ursus arctos isabellinus, Uncia uncia and Ovis ammon polii are globally threatened species and are included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan (1988) and "Kitobi surkhi Tochikiston" (1997). Vegetation: the vegetation of the IBA has a xerophilous character and the common vegetative cover is considered to be desert. Subalpine zone 3,500(3,600) – 4,100(4,200)m is characterized by a dominance of the sub-shrub Ajania tibetica. In wetter places, the cryophilic Oxitropis immersa, Oxitropis poncinsii and Smelovskia calycina are typical. Alpine zone 4,100(4,200)- 4,700(4,800)m has similar vegetation but with small differences. A desert association with Krascheninnikovia ceratoides, Artemisia skorniakowii and Ajania tibetica dominant is typical of the low alpine zone. Perennial grasses compose the basic vegetation of water-logged ground. Stipa orientalis, Alopecurus mucronatus, Trisetum spicatum, Poa calliopsis, Poa pamirica, Poa relaxa, Poa tremuloides, Poa litvinoviana, Puccinellia hackeliana, Puccinellia humilis and Puccinellia pamirica dominate (Ikonnikov, 1963; Stanyukovich, 1949).

Protection status The IBA is located in the Tajik National Park.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rangkul valley (Rangkul & Shorkul Lakes). Downloaded from on 24/10/2014

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