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Location Tajikistan
Central coordinates 70o 24.27' East  40o 52.64' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 47,421 ha
Altitude 1,700 - 3,000m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Site description The Aktash massif IBA is situated in nothern Tajikistan on the southern mountainside of the Kuraminskiy ridge on the border with the Republic of Uzbekistan, which forms the western, northern and eastern borders of the IBA. The site is located at the head of the Aktash and Ashtsay rivers (tributaries of the Syrdarya river). Many streams, starting as springs, and snowfields located on the southern mountainside of the Kuraminskiy ridge inflow in these rivers.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna includes 162 species. There are 38 resident species including Gypaetus barbatus, Aegypius monachus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, Falco pelegrinoides, Tetraogallus himalayensis, Alectoris chukar, Columba livia, Streptopelia decaocto, Streptopelia senegalensis, Bubo bubo, Alcedo atthis, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Galerida cristata, Cinclus cinclus, Parus bokharensis, Sitta tephronota, Tichodroma muraria, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, Corvus corax, Acridotheres tristis, Passer montanus, Carduelis caniceps and Mycerobas carnipes. The most numerous nesting species include Milvus migrans, Neophron percnopterus, Circaetus gallicus, Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Falco subbuteo, Falco peregrinus, Coturnix coturnix, Burhinus oedicnemus, Charadrius dubius, Columba palumbus, Streptopelia turtur, Streptopelia orientalis, Cuculus canorus, Athene noctua, Apus melba, Coracias garrulus, Upupa epops, Jynx torquilla, Calandrella acutirostris, Alauda arvensis, Eremophila alpestris, Riparia rupestris, Hirundo rustica, Delichon urbica, Anthus campestris, Anthus spinoletta, Motacilla cinerea, Motacilla alba, Motacilla personata, Prunella fulvescens, Prunella atrogularis, Prunella collaris, Luscinia megarhynchos, Luscinia svecica, Phoenicurus caeruleocephalus, Phoenicurus ochruros, Phoenicurus erythrogaster, Chaimarrornis leucocephala, Saxicola torquata, Oenanthe isabellina, Oenanthe pleschanka, Monticola saxatilis, Monticola solitarius, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, Hippolais rama, Hippolais pallida, Sylvia hortensis, Sylvia curruca, Sylvia communus, Sylvia althaea, Phylloscopus trochiloides, Phylloscopus humei, Tersiphone paradisi, Muscicapa striata, Certhia himalayana, Remiz coronatus, Oriolus oriolus, Lanius phoenicuroides, Lanius schach, Lanius minor, Corvus corax, Sturnus roseus, Passer domesticus, Passer hispaniolensis, Petronia petronia, Serinus pusillus, Carduelis chloris, Carduelis flavirostris, Leucosticte nemoricola, Rhodopechys sanguinea, Carpodacus erythrinus, Carpodacus rhodochlamys, Carpodacus grandis, Emberiza calandra and Emberiza stewarti. Migrants include Anas crecca, Anas platyrhynchos, Circus cyaneus, Aquila heliaca, Grus grus, Jynx torquilla, Lanius cristatus and Lanius excubitor. Wintering birds include Accipiter nisus, Falco vespertinus, Fulica atra, Tetrax tetrax, Vanellus indicus, Vanellus vanellus, Gallinago gallinago, Gallinago solitaria, Scolopax rusticola, Tringa totanus, Tringa ochropus, Regulus regulus, Corvus monedula, Fringilla coelebs and Fringilla montifringilla. Aegypius monachus, Circus macrourus, Aquila clanga, Aquila heliaca, Falco naumanni, Falco vespertinus, Falco cherrug and Coracias garrulus are globally threatened. Falco cherrug, Falco peregrinus, Chaimarrornis leucocephala and Tersiphone paradise are included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Non-bird biodiversity: Fish: Schizothorax intermedius (native) and Cyprinus carpio (acclimatized). Amphibia: Rana ridibunda, Bufo viridis. Reptilia: Testudo horsfieldi, Gymnodactylus russowi, Agama sanguinolenta, Phrynocephalus felioscopus, Ophisaurus apodus, Ablepharus alaicus, Erix tataricus, Natrix tessellata, Coluber karelini, Coluber rhodorhachis, Coluber ravergieri, Elaphe dione, Vipera lebetina and others. Mammals: Sus scrofa, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Citellus relictus, Hystrix leucura, Rattus turkestanicus, Ellobius tancrei. Marmota menzbierii inhabited the Aktashskiy Zakaznik in the 1990s but has now disappeared from Tajikistan. It is included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan. Mountain forests formed by Juniperus zeravschanica and J. semiglobosa are located in the high mountain belt. Juniper forests consist largely of old trees. There is no regeneration due to overgrazing so the canopy is relatively open. In the mid-mountain belt Amygdalus bucharica, Amygdalus spinosissima, Rosa fedtschenkoana, Rosa maracandica, Rosa ecae, Rosa divina, Lonicera bracteolaris, Lonicera korolkowii, Lonicera nummulariifolia, Cotoneaster suavis, Cotoneaster nummularis, Cerasus verrucosa, Cerasus erythrocarpa and others grow. On the river floodplain Salix excelsa, Salix linearifolia, Populus tadshikistanica, Crataegus turkestanica and Crataegus fischeri can be found. The foothills are used for agriculture with orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens and fields.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis resident  2000-2006  7-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2000-2006  1-2 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  2000-2006  2-6 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria breeding  2000-2006  2-4 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2000-2006  30-40 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus resident  2000-2006  20-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Hume's Lark Calandrella acutirostris breeding  2000-2006  15-18 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus breeding  2000-2006  5-6 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria resident  2000-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis breeding  2000-2006  8-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens breeding  2000-2006  7-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta breeding  2000-2006  8-10 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus breeding  2000-2006  20-25 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Rhodopechys sanguineus breeding  2000-2006  30-40 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Not Recognised 
Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys breeding  2000-2006  10-15 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes resident  2000-2006  10-20 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 very high not assessed low
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Aktashsky Nature Refuge/s (Zakaznik) 15,000 protected area contained by site 15,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   7%
Forest   26%
Grassland   18%
Wetlands (inland)   18%
Rocky areas   11%
Artificial - terrestrial   20%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 21%
nature conservation and research 72%
urban/industrial/transport 7%
forestry -

Protection status The Aktash Zakaznik is included in the IBA. This zakaznik was created for the conservation of Marmota menzbierii as it was the only place in Tajikistan where the species occurred. It has now disappeared from Tajikistan.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Aktash massif. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2014

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