email a friend
printable version
Location Turkmenistan, Balkan
Central coordinates 56o 48.30' East  40o 49.90' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 92,513 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is located in the north-west of Turkmenistan, between the Gaplankyr plateau and the Garashor depression. The site is 105 km in length. Administratively the site is located in Balkan and Dashoguz regions. The IBA lies on the western edge of the Gaplangyr plateau and consists of a sharp escarpment of tectonic origin and the Garashor depression. The height of the cliffs in relation to the depression varies from 150 to 320 m, increasing to the north where the cliffs are highest, and the solonchak in the depression the lowest (-19 m). The cliffs are a mixture of stony-chalky strata cut by numerous eolations, jagged edges, ledges, niches, cracks and gullies. The site can be divided into a system of abrupt cliffs (in the upper belt), large deep ravines and gullies (in the middle belt), and the depression (the lower belt). In the depression there are small salty lakes. In the centre of the solonchaks a channel deflects surface water and partially groundwaters, and forms the western border of the IBA. Along to highest areas there is a narrow strip of clay-rubble with Anabasis salsa communities and Artemisia kemrudica, A. diffusa etc lying on grey-brown desert soils. In the numerous ravines and gullies which hold water only during rains, a more varied mix of soil-vegetation is observed. In deep depressions there are solonchaks with rare halophytes and, between them on gentle slopes, hilly sands with ephemerals and small shrubs. However, these usually occupy only a small area in comparison with the solonchaks. The average annual temperature is +12C, with a maximum of +43C and a minimum of –30C. The annual rainfall is about 100 mm.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna consists of 102 species. Non-migratory (resident) - 8 species (Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, Columba livia, Bubo bubo, Athene noctua, Corvus ruficollis and Scotocerca inquieta), 28 passage and nesting species (breeding visitors) (Circaetus gallicus, Neophron percnopterus, Falco tinnunculus, Apus apus and Apus melba etc.), 93 passage and 8 wintering species. Species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Circaetus gallicus, Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Aegypius monachus, Falco peregrinus, Falco naumanni, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include Cuon alpinus, Mellivora capensis, Felis caracal and Hystrix indica. Species in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Mellivora capensis, Hyaena hyaena (possibly extinct), Felis manul (possibly extinct), Felis caracal and Hystrix indica.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2007  4 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  2007  2 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  2007  2 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2007  4 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  2007  6 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  2007  40 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2007  1 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kaplangurskiy State Nature Reserve 282,800 protected area overlaps with site 46,256  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - stony  30%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water  5%
Rocky areas Scree, boulders & bare rocky areas  45%
Shrubland Low bushes  10%
Grassland Dry grassland on sandy soils  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 40%
unknown 10%
nature conservation and research 50%

Protection status Gaplangyr state reserve.

References Bukreev S.A. (1997) Ornithogeography and reserved issues of Turkmenistan. Moscow. Centre of the wild life protection. (in russian). German B.V., Zatoka A.L., Shubenkina E.Yu., Shubenkin V. P. (1990) Kaplankyr reserve. Reserves of USSR. Reserves of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Moscow. Publishing house "Mysl".(in russian). Gorbunov А.В. (1995) Mountain ram of Ustyurt. Mammals of Turkmenistan. Volume I. Ylym. Ashgabat. (in russian). Soyunov O. L., Sopyyev O. S., Shubenkin V.P. (1990) Problems of protection of a unique biocomplex of deserts of Northern KaraKum. Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR. Biology sciences, 5. (in russian). Shubenkin V. P, Antipov S.M. (1990) Ecology and protection of birds of prey of deserts of Southern Ustyurt and the Sarykamysh hollow. Nature protection of Turkmenistan. Edition 8. Ashgabat. p.115-125. (in russian).

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Garashor. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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