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Location Kazakhstan, Karaganda region
Central coordinates 68o 20.00' East  46o 30.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 49,690 ha
Altitude 197 - 314m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The site is situated on the north-western outskirts of the Betpak-Dala desert region, 100 km north-north-east of the district centre of Zhezkazgan. The landscape is a combination of rough, eroded clayey plains and sands. The area includes the western fringe of the sand dunes of the Karakoiyn and Zhetikonyr sand massifs extending in a latitudinal direction from an area of alkali soil depressions at the foot of the moderately high Betpak-Dala plateau escarpment to the region enclosed by a large bend of the Sary-Su river. The area represents the distinct frontier zone of prolific sands and clayey semi-desert plain and the narrow strand of alkaline land covered with a patchwork of Lasiagrostis splendens, supportinging on its verges a belt of sparse Elaeagnus and Haloxylon forest.

Key Biodiversity The area’s main importance is the high breeding population of Aquila heliaca. During the mid-April 2007 survey, 10 nests were found and it is estimated that the total population is 15-18 pairs. One extensive area of wetland in the northern part of the site held 2 pairs of Circus macrourus but total numbers for the site are unknown. Beside one derelict cattle farm building 6 pairs of Falco naumanni were found breeding. Buteo rufinus is present, but the overall numbers are thought to be low (<3 pairs - only one nest found and one additional bird seen). At the edge of the sands a pair of Tetrax tetrax was seen once. In the heart of the sand massifs there are large coveys of Perdix perdix.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca breeding  2007  15-18 breeding pairs  good  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis passage  2007  5 individuals  good  A3  Endangered 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus breeding  2007  2 breeding pairs  good  A3  Near Threatened 
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax breeding  2007  1 breeding pairs  good  A3  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2007 high unfavourable not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Desert   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Wooded desert & semi-desert  5%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy  95%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport 5%
Notes: The gas-transportation infrastructure (pipe-lines, power-lines).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Western edge of the Karakoyin and Zhetikonyr Sands. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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