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Location Tajikistan
Central coordinates 67o 34.25' East  39o 30.72' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 4,280 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The IBA is situated on the left bank of the Zeravshan river, which rises in the mountains and joins with a large tributary of the Magiyan river, joining at Duoba. Upon leaving the mountains the Zeravshan river divides into many branches, with a variety of permanet and temporary islands between them. 80% of the area is covered with flood-plain forest consisting of thickets of Elaeagnus orientalis, Hippophae rhamnoides, Tamarix arceuthoides, some species of Rosa, Populus bachofenii, Populus tadahikistanica, Salix capusii and others. The soil is loamy-sandy overgrown in wet areas with herbs forming dense meadows in some places. This area of tugay are the only flood-plain forests in Northern Tajikistan. They form dense thickets, impassable in places. The tugay ecosystem of the Zeravshan river valley differs from the ones of Vahsh, Syrdarya and Kafirnigan rivers in several features. The IBA overlaps with the Zaravshan zakaznik which is near Sarazm. IBA creation and maintenance of regulations will help in the conservation and reconstruction of tugay and the fauna of the region. It will be the determinative factor for the stabilization of breeding, migrating and wintering species of birds.

Key Biodiversity The rich herb, bushy and tree vegetation and nearness of springs create favourable conditions for 124 species of bird including residents – 41, nesting – 61, migrant – 11, wintering – 2, vagrant – 2. The composition of the avifauna of the IBA changes seasonally. 9 species are included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan (1988, 1997). Nesting birds: Ardea cinerca, Ibidorynchos struthersi, Mergus merganser, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas crecca, Falco cherrug, Falco subbuteo, Falco tinnunculus, Aegypius monachus, Gyps fulvus, Neophron percnopterus, Gypaetus barbatus, Aquila chrysaetos, Aquila clanga, Hieraaetus pennatus, Buteo rufinus, Circus aureginosus, Phasianus colchicus, Burhinus oedicnemus, Tringa hypoleucos, Tringa ochruros, Sterna hirundo, Columba livia, Streptopelia turtur, Streptopelia orientalis, Streptopelia senegalensis, Streptopelia decaocto, Merops apiaster, Coracias garrulus, Alcedo atthis, Apus melba, Upupa epops, Caprimulgus europaeus, Athene noctua, Bubo bubo, Asio otus, Otus scops, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Corvus corax, Corvus corone, Corvus manedula, Pica pica, Sturnus vulgaris, Sturnus roseus, Acridotheres tristis, Oriolus oriolus, Galerida cristata, Riparia riparia, Hirundo rustica, Hirundo daurica, Delichon urbica, Motacilla cinerea, Motacilla alba, Luscinia megarhynchos, Saxicola torquata, Oenanthe pleschanka, Oenanthe isabellina, Turdus merula, Acrocephalus dumetorum, Hippolais rama, Sylvia nisoria, Sylvia althea, Phylloscopus trochiloides, Scotocerca inquieta, Parus bokharensis, Tichodroma muraria, Remis coronatus, Passer domesticus, Passer montanus, Passer hispaniolensis, Emberiza bruniceps, Emberiza cia and others. Wintering birds: Phasianus colchicus zerafschanicus, species of Turdus, also Falco vespertinus, Accipiter nisus, Buteo buteo and others. More than 60 species migrate through Sarazm in spring (from the end of February until the middle of May) and autumn (September/October). There are many Passer domesticus and Passer hispaniolensis. Charadriiformes, Anseriformes, Pelicaniformes, Falconiformes and Passeriformes are common along the Zeravshan river. Bubo bubo, Otus brucei, Asio otus, small Passeriformes and waterbirds inhabit the tugay. Sarazm is the only place in Tajikistan where Phasianus colchicus zerafschanicus has survived and the main wintering site of Ibidorhinchos struthersi.

Non-bird biodiversity: Fish: Leuciscus leuciscus, Rutilus rutilus, Gobio gobio, Varicorhinus capoeta, Barbus brachycephalus, Schizothorax intermedius, Alburnoides bipunctatus, Capetobrama kuschakewitschi, Cyprinus carpio, Carassius auratus, Nemachilus stoliczkai, Cobitis taenia, Silurus glanis, Gambusia affinis occur in the Zeravshan river and its large tributaries. Amphibia are Bufo viridis and Rana ridibunda. Reptiles include Testudo horsfieldi, Gymmodactylus russowi, Gymmodactylus fedtschenkoi, Agama sanguinolenta, Agama lehmanni, Varanus griseus, Ophisaurus apodus, Lacerta agilis, Eremias velox, Eremias nikolskii, Ablefarus brandti, Eryx tataricus, Natrix tesselata , Vipera lebitina, species of genus Coluber and others. Mammals: Lepus tolai, Mus musculus, Nesokia indica, Ellobius talpinus, Rattus rattoides. Carnivores are Canis lupus, Canis aureus and Vulpes vulpes. Artiodactyla are Sus scrofa and Cervus elaphus bactrianus. 80% of the IBA is covered with well conserved flood-plain forest formed by thickets of Elaeagnus orientalis, Hippophae rhamnoides, Tamarix arceuthoides and some species of Rosa. Populus bachofenii, Populus tadahikistanica, Salix capusii and others can also be found.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2003-2006  2-4 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Yellow-eyed Pigeon Columba eversmanni breeding  2003-2006  30-40 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2003-2006  5-8 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2003-2006  60-65 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus resident  2003-2006  4-6 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Parus bokharensis resident  2003-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Not Recognised 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta breeding  2003-2006  4-6 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2003-2006  8-10 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2003-2006  30-35 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Zeravshansky (Sarezmsky) Nature Refuge/s (Zakaznik) 5,000 protected area contains site 4,280  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   71%
Shrubland   6%
Wetlands (inland)   14%
Artificial - terrestrial   9%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 90%
agriculture 9%

Protection status The issue regarding the creation of the Sarazm IBA, including the Zeravshan game-reserve, was discussed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Nature Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan in 2006.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sarazm. Downloaded from on 13/10/2015

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