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Location Tajikistan
Central coordinates 70o 10.88' East  40o 23.66' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 115,216 ha
Altitude 300 - 700m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Site description The IBA is situated in northern Tajikistan in the inter-mountain depression of the western part of the Fergana valley. Kayrakkum Reservoir is located in the Syrdarya river valley within Tajikistan. The valley is about 300 km in length from east to west and 30-40 km wide in some places. The Syrdarya river divides the IBA into right and left bank sections. The right bank is a semi-desert plain more than 160 km in length, not more than 2 km wide between the Mogoltau foothills and river but 15-30 km wide in the east. The surface of the plain is deeply cut by mudflows in some places. Since the Kayrakkum Reservoir was built the semi-desert zone of the right bank of the Syrdarya River has been heavily developed and now presents a typical anthropogenic landscape. Species such as Buteo rufinus, Otis tarda, Chlamydotis undulata, Pterocles orientalis, Pterocles alchata and others typical for this area lost their natural habitats, sharply decreased in number and are presently under threat of total disappearance in Tajikistan. On the left bank the plain turns into the hilly foothills of the Turkestan range. The littoral zone is also strongly developed. There is one hydroelectric power station (Kayrakkum) on the Syrdarya river. The climate is strongly continental, arid. There is a very strong wind in the narrow entrance to the Fergana valley, with a speed of 24m/sec or more. Kayrakkum Reservoir was built in 1956 on an upper branch of the Syrdarya river 35-40 km to the west of the river's exit from the Fergana inter-mountain trough. According to data of the Central Asian expedition (Ivanov, 1960) the water surface area is 523 square km, length is 56 km, maximum width is 15 km, max depth near the dam is 25m, the average depth is 8 m. The shoreline is slightly indented. There are sandy semi-desert and Kayrakkum sands on the right bank of the reservoir. Kayrakkum sands are separated by the low mountains Akbeltau, Akchelty and Supetau. There are Kanibadam and Hudjand anthropogenic landscapes to the west and east along the left bank of the reservoir. At present the head of the reservoir is silted for a distance of 10-15 km. This process is connected with the building of the Tahtagul hydroelectric power station on the Naryn River in Kyrgyzstan. Silted areas of the Kanibadam massif with many lakes and shallows, tamarisk, oleaster, poplar thickets and reeds serve as a wintering place for many thousands of Anseriformes, Pelicaniiformes, Charadriiformes and Falconiformes.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos winter  2004-2006  10,301-17,856 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  2004-2006  396-693 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2004-2006  30 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  2004-2006  12 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  2004-2006  rare  A3  Not Recognised 
Great Bustard Otis tarda passage  2004-2006  20 individuals  medium  A1  Vulnerable 
Common Crane Grus grus passage  2004-2006  2,800-3,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Yellow-eyed Pigeon Columba eversmanni breeding  2004-2006  25 breeding pairs  good  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Pallid Scops-owl Otus brucei breeding  2004-2006  5-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2004-2006  3-4 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2004-2006  75 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 
White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus resident  2004-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Great Tit Parus major resident  2004-2006  120-150 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  2004-2006  3-4 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2004-2006  2-3 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2004-2006  5-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2004-2006  5-6 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Saxaul Sparrow Passer ammodendri resident  2004-2006  5-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus resident  2004-2006  3-5 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds 2004  present  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kayrakum Reservoir Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 52,000 protected area contained by site 52,000  
Syrdarya Nature Refuge/s (Zakaznik) 4,000 protected area contained by site 4,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   4%
Shrubland   23%
Desert   14%
Wetlands (inland)   38%
Artificial - terrestrial   21%
Introduced vegetation   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 45%
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry 10%
hunting 5%
nature conservation and research 100%
urban/industrial/transport 10%
water management 18%

Other biodiversity Fish: there are 34 species of fish, 13 of them are marketable - Esox lucius, Rutilus rutilus, Scardinius erythrophthalmus, Aspius aspius, Barbus brachycephalus, Barbus barbus, Schizothorax intermedius, Abramis brama, Abramis sapa, Capoetobrama kuschakewitschi, Pelecus cultratus, Cyprinus carpio and Silurus glanis. Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi has not been found for the last 15-20 years. Acipenser nudiventris also hasn't been recorded for the last 40-50 years in the Syrdarya river. Amphibia: Bufo viridis occurs on the plains of the Syrdarya river valley up to the upper border of the forest-steppe zone, and sometimes to the alpine meadows. Rana ridibunda inhabits all freshwater bodies, marshlands, irrigation canals and rice fields. Reptiles: there are 11 species of snakes, 17 species of lizards and 1 species of tortoise. Testudo horsfieldi inhabits the clayey sandy semi-deserts, hilly foothills, and sometimes mountains up to 1,200 m above sea level. As a result of the intensive development of the foothills zone for cereal production the number of Testudo horsfieldi is reduced everywhere. Varanus griseus is an inhabitant of sand dunes and pebble hills in semi-deserts. Vipera lebetina and Naja oxiana both occur. Mammals: Erinaceus (Hemiechinus) auritus is a typical inhabitant of semi-deserts, Crocidura leucodon keeps to places with sparse wood-shrub vegetation. Rodentia are represented by 11 species. Citellus relictus and Meriones tamariscinus occur in semi-deserts. Hystrix leucura also occurs. Many rodents and Leporidae serve as a food for birds of prey and predatory mammals. Carnivora include Canis lupus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Meles meles, Lutra lutra, Mustela nivalis and Felis chaus. Artiodactyla include Sus scrofa and Gazella subgutturosa, Ovis orientalis severtzovi and Cervus elaphus bactrianus were common in the past but do not occur at present. Vegetation: there are more than 3,000 species of plant recorded. Littoral and anthropogenic zones are represented by cultivar plants, reed, cattail, sedge and others. There is a zone of desert ephemeral vegetation. Spring ephemeral vegetation is very rich and beautiful. There are Poplar forests (tugay), dominated by Populus pruinosa, and thickets of tall grasses (Phragmites australis, Saccharum spontaneum, different species of Typha) in the river floodlands. In the foothills ephemeral vegetation is represented by couch grass. There are associations of Artemisia mogoltavica (A. cina) and a rich layer of ephemerals in spring (mainly Poa bulbosa, Carex pachystylis, Carex physodes, Anisantha tectorum) on pit-run fine soil. Convolvulus hamadae (C. subsericeus) dominates on sandy soils.

Protection status The Syrdarya State zakaznik was created to save the biodiversity of the Syrdarya river basin in Tajikistan. Nature conservation measures and good forage reserves will maintain the rich summer avifauna and more than 40 species of wintering waterbirds arriving at the end of August and September and leaving to breed in February, March and April.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kayrakkum Reservoir. Downloaded from on 23/08/2014

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