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Location Turkmenistan, Mary
Central coordinates 63o 16.15' East  35o 55.47' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 140,594 ha
Altitude 420 - 940m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is in the south of Turkmenistan on the Turkmen-Afghan border. The majority of the site is on the right bank of the Murghab river, with the remainder at the Murghab and Kashan confluence. The site extends 110 km from southwest to northeast. The typical landscape is hills, with gradual slopes and watersheds. Soils are sandy-loam (sierozem) with light, typical and dark subtypes. All three subtypes are related to various forms of relief. The principal water sources are the Murghab river and the small Kashan river and there are a few springs and wells. The climate is arid, with an annual average precipitation of about 280 mm, maximum 420 mm, minimum 130 mm. The annual average temperature is +16.3C, July average +28.9C, January +2.6C. Winters are very short and mild, with occasional snow lasting from several days to 1-2 weeks, but there are also snowless winters. In some years the snow cover reaches 20 cm. The short spring is replaced by a long hot summer, with 4-5 months of heat and little cooling winds. The characteristic vegetation is Carex pachystylis + Poa bulbosa, with patches of sparse Calligonum, and in sandy sites, Astragalus and Salsola richteri.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna consists of about 200 species, 41 residents, 98 nesting, 26 passage, 135 wintering. The avifauna is similar to that of the neighbouring IBAs (Garachop and Badhyz), but here there are no birds associated with pistachio. Galliformes - 3 species, non-migratory: Alectoris chukar and Ammoperdix griseogularis occur in moderate numbers plus the relatively usual breeding visitor Coturnix coturnix. Columbiformes - Columba livia is usual nesting in the walls of wells. The dense and high vegetation of Garabil explains the absence of nesting Pterocles orientalis and Pterocles alchata. Cursorius cursor, Burhinus oedicnemus and Vanellus indicus nest along the Murgap river, often being double brooded. Burhinus oedicnemus is more numerous. In Central Asia Vanellus indicus only occurs in the south of Turkmenistan. There are no other nesting sandpipers. Tringa glareola, Tringa ochropus, Charadrius alexandrinus and others Charadrii occur on migration. Chlamydotis undulata is now very rare, seldom nesting and wintering in Garabil. Falconiformes - 20 species, Strigiformes 5 species - of which 12 nest. The high number is explained by the with presence of suitable nesting and feeding conditions, especially an abundance of rodents. Falco cherrug is rare. Falco tinnunculus and Falco naumanni also breed along with Gyps fulvus, Aegypius monachus and Aquila chrysaetos. Some species of eagles, harriers and hawks winter. Circaetus gallicus has bred twice, Bubo bubo is a regular nester, and Asio otus and Asio flammeus occur in winter. Passeriformes: starlings, finches, sparrows, buntings, larks, wagtails, wheatears, swallows. In particular, Galerida cristata and Melanocorypha calandra are very numerous, as is Oenanthe isabellina. Several rare and threatened species are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Vanellus indicus, Ciconia nigra, Buteo buteo, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Aegypius monachus, Falco cherrug, Falco pelegrinoides, Falco naumanni, Grus virgo, Chlamydotis undulata, Tetrax tetrax, Burhinus oedicnemus and Bubo bubo.

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA has many endemic species and includes representatives of Iranian-Afghan and Indian origin, and also species typical of the mountains and deserts of Central Asia. Amphibians: Bufo viridis laurenti, breeds near springs and pools, but the rest of the time is far from water. Reptiles more than 40 species: one turtle (Agrionemys horsfieldi); 18 species of snake, the remainder are lizards, with various geckoes, racerunners, agamas, skink, and also Pseudopus apodus, Mabuya aurata and desert monitor - Varanus griseus. Snakes include Naja oxiana, Vipera lebetina and Echis carinatus, together with the many species of non-poisonous racer. Coluber rhodorachis and Coluber nummifer are common and Spalerosophis diadema and Coluber karelini are rare. Four species of reptile are included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Cyrtopodion turcmenicus, Varanus griseus, Naja oxiana and Vipera lebetina. Mammals: ungulates 3 species – Gazella subgutturosa, Ovis vignei and Sus scrofa. Predators total 11 species - wolf, jackal, fox, corsac, weasel, marbled polecat, ratel, steppe cat, caracal and leopard. 16 species of rodents include jird, souslik, voles and mice. Common, and in some years numerous, species are Rhombomys opimus and Blanfordimys afghanus. Spermophilopsis leptodactylus lives alone. Large rodents include porcupine and Lepus capensis tolai, but in small numbers. Insectivores include Hemiechinus auritus and Hemiechinus hypomelas, some shrews and three species of bat. The flora consists of Iranian-Afghan and Central Asian species - about 900 vascular plants. The basic groupings of vegetation are: Carex-Poa-herbs, Artemisia-shrub, and saltwort. Rare and endangered species of plants listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Astragalus vassilczenkoi, Cousinia tscherneviae and Tulipa kuschkensis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  2007  2 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus resident  2007  6 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  2007  1 individuals  medium  A3  Not Recognised 
Pallid Scops-owl Otus brucei breeding  2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  2007  4-20 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  2007  15-45 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata breeding  2007  25-65 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus resident  2007  15 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2007  6-10 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) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming 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%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Falco cherrug Saker Falcon 6 2 individuals 34 very unfavourable
Aegypius monachus Cinereous Vulture 10 6 individuals 60 unfavourable


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert Desert & semi-desert - sandy  80%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Temporary water bodies  20%

Land ownership State.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 10%
rangeland/pastureland 40%
military 5%
not utilised 25%
unknown 20%

Protection status Not protected.

References Dementiev G.P., Rustamov A.K., Spangenberg E.P. (1947) The Birds of Karabil. Ibis. V.89. p.615-623. (in english). Dementyev G. P., Rustamov A.K., Spangenberg E.P. (1951) Birds of Karabil (Southeast Turkmenistan). Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Ashgabat. (in russian). Dementyev G. P., Rustamov A.K., Spangenberg E.P. (1955) Materials on fauna terraneous vertebrates of Southeast Turkmenistan. Proceedings of the Turkmen agriculture Institute, Ashgabat. (in russian). Gepner V.G. (1956) Fauna of vertebrate animals of Badhyz Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Ashgabat. (in russian). Suhinin A.N. (1971) Ecology of owls and birds of prey of Badhyz (Southeast Turkmenistan). Ashgabat. Ylym. (in russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Garabil. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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