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Location Turkmenistan, Balkan
Central coordinates 55o 55.20' East  40o 21.20' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 38,764 ha
Altitude 147 - 488m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (Country programme)

Site description The Koymat-Begarslan IBA is located in the northwest of Turkmenistan, within the so-called Tuarkyr-Ustjurts clay-rubble natural region. The southern part of the IBA is 100 km to the north-east of Bereket and continues in a northerly direction for 105 km. Administratively the site is located in Balkan region. The IBA represents the western edge of the Chelyunkgyr plateau which splits sharply with the tectonic scarp, Koymatdag. The scarp runs north-south and, in the south, adjoins another tectonic scarp, Begarslandag, in the west, with the highest point being 488 m above sea level. All of the site is a system of steep cliffs (in the upper belt), large deep ravines and gullies (in the middle belt) and closed hollows (in the lower belt). Along the narrow and highest cliffs clay-rubble prevails with communities of Anabasis salsa and Artemisia kemrudica, A. diffusa, etc. Cliffs can reach 30-50 m in height. The main cliff is a combination of stony-chalky strata, cut by numerous eolations, jagged edges, ledges, niches, cracks and gullies. There are grey-brown desert soils. In the numerous ravines and gullies where water only runs during rains, more variegated soil-vegetative cover is observed. In deep depressions there are solonchaks with sparse halophytes and, between them on gentle slopes, hilly sands with ephemerals and small shrubs, but these occupy a small area in comparison to the solonchaks. The average annual temperature is 12C, the maximum 43C, the minimum –30C. The annual rainfall is about 100 mm.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2006-2007  26 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis resident  2006-2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta breeding  2006-2007  20 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  2006-2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  2006-2007  40 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps passage  2006-2007  1 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  50%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - stony  30%
Shrubland Low bushes  10%
Grassland Dry grassland on sandy soils  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 10%
not utilised 50%
unknown 40%

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

References Dementyev P.G. (1952) Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 1. 546p.(in russian). Rustamov A.K. (1954) Birds of Kara Kum desert, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, 342 p. (in russian). Rustamov A.K. 1958. Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 2. 333p. (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. Issue 8. Ashgabat. p.115-125. (in russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Koymat - Begarslan. Downloaded from on 22/08/2014

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