email a friend
printable version
Location Kazakhstan, North-Kazakhstan region
Central coordinates 68o 44.00' East  54o 14.50' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 3,410 ha
Altitude 130 - 131m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The site is located on the right bank of the Ishym river valley in the Akkaiyn district of the Northern Kazakhstan region. Lying on the notional line connecting the major Astana-Kokchetav interregional motorway with the north-north-easterly course of the Ishym river, Zhalyndy Lake is positioned 25 km to the west of the former and approximately 20 km to the east of the latter. The waterbody occupies the central part of the area between Dmitriyevka and Zhanalyk. Another two large settlements, Ortalyk and Alka, connected by the line of a major country road, lie to the north of the lake. The lake is situated close to the southern boundary of the large Smirnovsky State Nature Preserve. The IBA forms part of the expansive lake country occupying the entire outer edge of the southern West-Siberian Lowlands. The major land form and vegetation is forest-steppe. About 50 years ago, during the process of agricultural development, more than half of the regional virgin land (mesophylic steppe) was ploughed and converted to agriculture. As a result, nowadays, the major part of the area around the lake is crop-fields. The remaining fragments of steppe and a meadow depressions are used as pasture. Very large numbers of migrating waterfowl use the area, benefitting both from forgaing opportunities on the fields and relative protection from the preserve status. Despite its relatively small size, Zhylandy is one of the more important lakes in the region. The lake has almost solid reed cover over 85-90% of its surface. The dense reed benefits some breeding species but the lack of open water reduces the number of passage birds.

Key Biodiversity Owing to its ecological characteristics, special geographical position and the particular agriculture on the surrounding land, the moderately sized Zhylandy lake has always been a reliable stop-over site for many hundreds of thousands of migrating waterbirds crossing this area. In addition to supporting several globally threatened or rare birds (Branta ruficollis, Melanitta fusca, Cygnus cygnus, Anser erythropus, Haliaeetus albicilla, Casmerodius albus, Grus grus and others), the site is important for the large number of common species of waterfowl it holds, many of which are being intensively exploited by man for hunting interest. Without such refuges, the presently plentiful game species might be severely reduced in number in a matter of years. Owing to its well-developed and expansive reedbeds the site is favoured by many breeding waterbirds. A recent attempt (2007) to verify the appropriateness of conferring the A4iii criterion on the site for the regular occurrence of species such as Anser albifrons was thwarted because of unseasonal meteorological conditions. A protracted spell of mild weather encouraged geese to pass straight over the region rather than settling which is the normal trend.

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal fauna is poorly diversified. Murine rodents are most abundant and include Apodemus agrarius and Microtus arvalis and, in the wet habitats, Ondatra zibethica and Arvicola terrestris. Erinaceus europaeus, Neomys fodiens, Lepus timidus, Lepus europaeus, Mustela erminea and Mustela eversmanni are often encountered. Capreolus pygargus, Vulpes vulpes and Vulpes corsac are encountered occasionally. The dominant emergent vegetation is Phragmites australis. It occurs in some areas together with Typha angustifolia and Scirpus lacustris, while the muddy shoals are covered by Carex. A few patches of steppic meadows, featuring an assortment of rich-herbage-motley-turf-grass associations, remain. The major constituents of these floral compositions are Filipendula hexapetala, Rumex confertus, Achillea millefolium, Poa sp., Bromus inermis, Agrostis alba and Alopecurus sp. On saline areas Salicornia and Limonium sp occur. The isolated stands of deciduous forest are comprised, in general, of a few species of birch (including Betula verrucosa and B. pubescens) and aspen, the underbrush is Rosa sp.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  2007  6,000-15,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis passage  2007  200-300 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2007  1,500-2,500 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2007  20,000-40,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - trend unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Artificial - terrestrial   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Wooded steppe  10%
Wetlands (inland) Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  40%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved reseeded grasslands  50%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
rangeland/pastureland 50%
nature conservation and research 100%

Protection status The lake is situated close to the southern boundary of the large Smirnovsky State Nature Preserve (Zakaznik).

References 1. Ryabintsev V.K (2001) Birds of Ural with adjacent territories and of Western Siberia. Ekaterinburg. Publishing of the Ural University. (in Russian) 2. Vilkov V.S. (2005) Birds of Northern Kazakhstan Region. Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan: Publishing of the Northern Kazakhstan Region State University. (in Russian) 3. Gubin S.V. (2004) Revision of Ornithofauna of Northern Kazakhstan Region. (Not published).

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 (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zhylandy Lake. Downloaded from on 28/03/2015

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