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Location Tajikistan
Central coordinates 72o 13.66' East  37o 0.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 113,623 ha
Altitude 2,400 - 6,723m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Site description The IBA is situated 120 km from the provincial centre, Horog, and 52 km from the district centre, Ishkashim. It is located in the south part of the Shohdara range and is a rather wide part of the Vahan valley and a large proportion of the south mountainside of the Shohdara range. The lowlands of the IBA are represented by flood-lands of the Pyandj river which were formed as a result of the Pamir and Vahandara rivers confluence, situated 10 km to the east of the eastern border of the IBA. The most interesting part of the IBA are the flood-lands of the Pyandj river in the Vakhan valley. This is the widest part of the Pyandj valley in Badahshan. The river forms several branches and as a result many islands, some of which are covered with tugay thickets, were formed. There are many pebbly shoals and sandy islands with rare plants. The mountain part of the IBA, located on the south mountainside of the Shohdara range, is divided by more than 14 gorges of a primary level and more than 22 gorges of a secondary level. There are rivers in all gorges. These are the Pyandj river's side tributaries, more than 40% of which flow throughout the year. The total area of waterbodies in the IBA is 1.1%. The maximum depth of the Pyandj river is 12m. There are tugay thickets and watermeadows in the floodlands of the Pyandj river and the low parts of the side gorges. The density and variety of vegetation decreases as altitude increases.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis resident  2000-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  2000-2006  50-60 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2000-2006  2-6 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus passage  2000-2006  15-20 individuals  medium  A1  Vulnerable 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  2000-2006  2-7 breeding pairs  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii resident  2000-2006  3-4 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2000-2006  40-60 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus resident  2000-2006  100-200 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Hume's Lark Calandrella acutirostris breeding  2000-2006  50-60 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria resident  2000-2006  8-10 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus breeding  2000-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis breeding  2000-2006  70-80 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-streaked Accentor Prunella himalayana breeding  2000-2005  8-9 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta breeding  2000-2005  10-12 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus breeding  2000-2006  20-25 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Mountain-finch Leucosticte nemoricola breeding  2000-2006  120-125 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Rhodopechys sanguineus breeding  2000-2006  50-60 individuals  medium  A3  Not Recognised 

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 45%
forestry -
tourism/recreation -

Other biodiversity Fish: there are 2 species in the Pyandj river and its tributaries - Schizopygopsis stoliczcai and Schizothorax intermedius. Amphibia: Rana ridibunda and Bufo viridis. Reptilia: Vipera lebetina, Coluber ravergieri and Agama himalayana. Mammals: these are diverse with many endemic species. Common Rodents include Marmota caudata, Mus musculus and Alticola argentatus. From Leporidae: Lepus tolai and Ochotona roylei. Capra sibirica occurs in the mountains. Carnivores include Uncia uncia, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Mustela nivalis and Mustela erminea.

Protection status There is no protected area.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ishkashim. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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