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Location Turkmenistan, Akhal
Central coordinates 57o 52.13' East  38o 14.32' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 4,407 ha
Altitude 64 - 155m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA covers the Kopetdag water reservoir and adjoining areas located in the foothills valley of the Central Kopetdag 40 km to the north-west of Ashgabat and 6 km from Geokdepe. The IBA is situated in the Geokdepe district of Akhal region. This is a man-made reservoir functioning since 1976. Its area is not more than 38-39 km2 and it has a shoreline of 42 km. The northern dam is 25 m high. The northern and western parts of the reservoir are deep (maximum depth is not more than 20 m), the southern shore is gently sloping and not more than 2 m deep. Inflow comes from the Karakum channel, usually from the beginning of September. Water is lost in July. The water level fluctuates between seasons and years. There are filtration lakes 50-70 m wide and 2 m deep 200-250 m from the northern dam. The climate is continental, with hot dry summers and mild winters. Minimum precipitation is recorded in July-August, maximum in February-March. Snow cover is 5-10 days a year.

Key Biodiversity More 200 species have been recorded: resident – 17, breeding – 52, wintering - 46 and passage - 182 species. Fulica atra, Anas platyrhynchos, A.clypeata, A.acuta, A.penelope and others and some shorebirds are the most numerous. The IBA is located on the flyway along the Kopetdag foothills. Spring migration of waterbirds is short with rapid turnover beginning in the second part of February and finishing at the end of March. The autumn migration is protracted with noticable peaks. It lasts from the beginning of September until the end of November. In winter birds are present from the middle of November until the middle of February. Species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) are: Рlataea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus roseus, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Circaetus gallicus, Pandion haliaetus, Burhinus oedicnemus, Aquila chrysaetos and Bubo bubo. Criteria: criterion A1 is applicable for Aythya nyroca. Criterion A4iii is applicable as more than 20,000 waterbirds (15-20 species) occur. Numerous species are Anas platyrhynchos, Fulica atra, Netta rufina and Aythya nyroca.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are 30 species of reptiles and more than 30 species of mammals. There are more than 370 species of plants. Shore vegetation consists of thickets of reed and tamarisk. Calligonum, Salsola richteri, Epherda, Astragalus and Stipagrostis karelinii are present on sandy coastal areas.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  2006-2007  45 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  2006-2007  750 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  2006-2007  1,100 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2006  min 20,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

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 small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  10%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - sandy  10%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  80%

Land ownership State.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 10%
fisheries/aquaculture 60%
water management 20%
unknown 10%

Protection status Not protected.

References Rajapov M. R (1999) Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. Volume 1. Invertebrates and vertebrate animals. Ashgabat.Turkmenistan. (in russian). Dementyev P.G. (1952) Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 1. 546p.(in russian). Rustamov A.K. (1958) Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 2. 333p. (in russian). Nurgeldyev O. N. (1969) Ecology of mammals of plain of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. (russian). Kucheruk V. (2005) Lagomorpha and rodents of deserts of Central Asia. Мoscow, GEOS. (in russian). Kuchuruk V., Tashlyev A.O. (1995) Mammals of Turkmenistan. Vol.1, Ashgabat,Ylym. (in russian). Shammakov S. M. (1981) Reptile of plain of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. (russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kopetdagkhovudan. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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