|Central coordinates||68o 20.73' East 39o 4.25' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3|
|Altitude||1,900 - 3,500m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2006|
Ornithological information 169 species of birds have been recorded, 20 of them are residents, 65 are breeding, 78 are migrants, 4 are vagrants and 1 wintering. Iskanderkul lake and surrounding area supports many birds both breeding and on spring (April to June) and autumn (August to November) migration. Biotopes include rivers, riverside meadows with water-logged ground, broad-leaved and Juniperus forests, mountain slopes with bushes and sub-alpine meadows. Each has a distinctive community. Rare species: globally threatened species - Aythya nyroca, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aegypius monachus, Aquila heliaca, Circus macrourus, Falco vespertinus, Falco cherrug, Otis tarda and Coracias garrulus. Species included in the National Red Book: Ciconia nigra, Aquila chrysaetos, Burhinus oedicnemus, Columba palumbus, Myophonus caeruleus, Enicurus scouleri, Leptopoecile sophiae and Garrulax lineatus.
Site description Iskanderkul Lake is situated in the north-eastern part of the Gissar mountain range 60 km to the south-west of Ayni, the district centre. The lake is formed by damming and is freshwater. There are three rivers flowing into the lake: Sarytag, Karakul and Serima. There is one river flowing out - Iskanderkul. This river is a tributary of the Fandarya river which is a main tributary of the Zerafshan river. Dijik, Langar and Saraton villages lie to the north of the lake and Kannoj, Saryrag and Saraton to the south. The IBA is a part of a nature reserve which has an area of 30,000 hectares. This reserve was founded with the purpose of saving the ecological balance of natural complexes and future development of ecological tourism. Good nature conservation work and weak anthropogenic influences promote conservation of this natural complex.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis||resident||2004-2006||4-5 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Saker Falcon Falco cherrug||resident||2004-2006||1-2 breeding pairs||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus||resident||2004-2006||1-4 breeding pairs||medium||A1||Near Threatened|
|Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus||breeding||2004-2006||25-30 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Hume's Lark Calandrella acutirostris||breeding||2004-2006||15-25 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus||breeding||2004-2006||6-9 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria||resident||2004-2006||10-15 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Rubythroat Luscinia pectoralis||breeding||2004-2006||5-8 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus||breeding||2004-2006||10-15 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis||breeding||2004-2006||20-30 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris||breeding||2004-2006||20-30 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Rufous-streaked Accentor Prunella himalayana||breeding||2004-2006||15-20 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens||breeding||2004-2006||30-35 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta||breeding||2004-2006||20-25 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus||breeding||2004-2006||5-8 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Plain Mountain-finch Leucosticte nemoricola||resident||2004-2006||30-40 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguineus||breeding||2004-2006||10-15 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Not Recognised|
|Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys||breeding||2004-2006||7-8 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes||resident||2004-2006||10-15 breeding pairs||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Iskanderkul'sky||Nature Refuge/s (Zakaznik)||28,500||is identical to site||28,500|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||5%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||5%|
Other biodiversity Fish: the lake is very deep and cold so has a poor benthic community. There are only Nemachilus sp. of fish present. There was an attempt to acclimatize Salmo ischchan but it failed. Amphibia: Rana ridibunda and Bufo viridis occur. Reptiles: Stellio lehmanni, Coluber ravergieri, Elaphe dione and Agkistrodon halys. Mammals: Rodents include Marmota cаudata, Dryomys nitedula, Cricetulus migratorius, Microtus carruthersi, Ochotona rutila, Apodemus sylvaticus, Rattus rattoides and Lepus tolai. Predators include: Mustela nivalis, Mustela erminea, Martes foina, Vulpes vulpes, Canis lupus, Ursus arctos, Meles meles, Uncia uncia and Felis lynx. In the upper parts of rocky mountains Capra sibirica may be found. Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is included on the IUCN Red List, and Lynx lynx isabellina and Mustela nivalis in the National Red Book(1988, 1997). Vegetation: geobotanists ascribe Iskanderkul lake to the Zeravshan province of the Middle East Asia geographic natural zone (Stanukovich, 1982). The IBA is situated in desertified steppe and Juniper forests, which are formed mainly by Juniperus zeravshanica and occasionally by J. semibulbosa with differing crown densities. Grass associations have steppe, ephemeral, desert or meadow characters. Artemisia tenuisecta, Artemisia korshinskyi, Stipa caucasica and Stipa kirgisorum dominate. There are many Cousinia, Astragalus sp., Acantholimon tataricum, Acantholimon komarovii, Prangos sp. and Ferula sp. Shrubs include: Rosa ecae, Cerasus verrucosa and Clematis songarica. There are also formations of Aser turkestanicus and Amygdalus bucharicus at lower altitudes. Salix sp., Betula sp. and Populus sp. occur in river valleys. Subalpine steppes and Juniperus bushes occur at higher altitudes.
Management considerations Numerous herds of cattle visit surrounding areas annually which leads to the degradation of the vegetation and soil. This is the main threat for the wildlife of the IBA.
Protection status A zakaznik was established in 1959 with the purpose of saving the unique natural complex of Iskanderkul lake. Rangers of the zakaznik make annual counts of the fauna, mainly game birds. The Forestry agency of the republic keeps the data. The IBA is situated in the Iskanderkul Zakaznik. It is planned to increase the status of the zakaznik to nature park.
Conservation response A.P. Fedchenko made an expedition from Ura-Tyube to Iskanderkul lake in 1870. It was the beginning of the research of the avifauna of Iskanderkul lake. V.F. Russov visited the lake in 1878. Materials from his collections were described and presented in the zoological museum of the Academy of Sciences by F.D. Pleske (1888). A. Regel also visited the lake in 1882 (Bianchii, 1886). D.K. Glazunov collected bird skins which are kept in the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation. There are also materials from the expedition of N. V. Bogoyavlenskiy collected in 1898 (Ivanov, 1969). V. Yu. Gerhner made observations on Iskanderkul lake in 1915 (Ivanov, 1969). Skins of birds were collected by P.F. Rypl from Samarkand Museum from April to August 1934. A.S. Grijbovsky collected birds here in 1933-1934 (Ivanov, 1969). A.I. Ivanov made his researches on the lake in 1948. A.V. Popov worked here in 1950 and published his observations in 1959. A sizeable collection was carried out by I.A. Abdusalyamov in 1959-1962. All materials were published in the book entitled "Birds of Zarafshan mountain " (Abdusalyamov, 1964).
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 (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Iskanderkul lake and mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife