email a friend
printable version
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.

Key Biodiversity There are about 100 species recorded. Residents include: Anas platyrhynchos, Mergus merganser, Gypaetus barbatus, Aegypius monachus, Gyps himalayensis, Aquila chrysaetos, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, Corvus corax and Montifringilla nivalis. Breeding species include: Tadorna ferruginea, Tringa totanus, Columba rupestris, Caprimulgus europaeus, Calandrella acutirostris, Riparia rupestris, Motacilla citreola, Motacilla alba, Prunella himalayana, Phoenicurus erythrogaster, Oenanthe isabellina and Carduelis flavirostris. Migrants include: Ardea cinerea, Anas strepera, Anas crecca, Fulica atra and Upupa epops during the spring and autumn migrations. Rare species: resident species included in the National Red Book are Gypaetus barbatus, Gyps himalayensis, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, Ibidorhyncha struthersii and Chaimarrornis leucocephala. IUCN Red Listed species are Aythya nyroca, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aegypius monachus, Aquila clanga, Aquila heliaca, Circus macrourus, Falco cherrug and Coracias garrulus.

Non-bird 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.

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 

IBA Monitoring

2007 high not assessed not assessed
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%) slow but significant deterioration high
Agricultural expansion and intensification wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

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 -

Protection status There is no protected area.

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ishkashim. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

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