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Location Uzbekistan, Navoi
Central coordinates 65o 39.33' East  40o 19.16' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 5,769 ha
Altitude 550 - 1,100m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)

Site description The Sarmish IBA is located in the basin of the mountain river Sarmishsay and in part of the basin of the Karangigursay. It includes typical low mountains of the Kyzylkum desert with an elevation of 1,000-1,100 m above sea level. It is identical in area to the Sarmysh Nature Park. Gentle slopes dominate the landscape and alternate with gorges, rocks, precipices and aligned sites. Vegetation comprises gramineous-wormwood associations; wild thorny almond and other bushes on the stony plots. Hydrophilic vegetation (Tamarix sp., Eleagnus, Tamarix, reed and others) is developed in the gorges on the river banks. There are plantations of mulberry, walnut and other fruit trees. Vegetation cover is heavily degraded as a result of intensive grazing. There are unique rock paintings – petroglyphs - in the Sarmish gorge which is the basis of the nature park. According to different authors they number 3,000 to 5,000 and are about 25,000 years old (Kadyrova, 2000). There are also spectacular weathered rocks which look like people or animals in the gorge. All these give the area high historical and cultural significance.

Key Biodiversity The Sarymsh Nature Park is situated in the southern part of the Karatau ridge, to the south of the Nuratau ridge. The fauna of these mountains are similar. Nuratau ridge has attracted researchers for a long time (Zarudny, 1914; Maklenburtsev, 1937; Kashkarov et al., 1970) and authors mention about 178 species and subspecies of birds, which can be found in Nuratau and Karatau. The IBA project investigated Sarmish in May 2007. 68 species were found, among them about 60 were nesting. Transect counts were carried out and nests of about 20 species were found. Typical species were: on dry mountain slopes Emberiza buchanani, Oenanthe finshii and Galerida cristata; on steppe sites Melanocorypha calandra, Emberiza bruniceps and E.calandra; in gardens Carpodacus grandis (migrating), Acridotheres tristis, Sturnus roseus, Passer indicus and other species. Seven species of raptor were found and nesting Falco tinnunculus and Accipiter nisus were recorded. Coracias garrulus was common. Alectoris chukar and Pterocles orientalis inhabit Sarmish in spite of the high level of grazing and disturbance. Only one previous article on the birds of Sarmish has been published (Bakaev et al., 2003). The author summarized data on the nesting biology of Alectoris chukar, Streptopelia turtur, Bubo bubo, Caprimulgus aegyptius, Corvus monedula, Sturnus vulgaris turkestanicus, Oriolus oriolus, Carduelis carduelis, Sitta tephronota, Lanius minor and Oenanthe pleshanka. In addition, Aegypius monachus, Neophron percnopterus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco naumanni, Falco cherrug, Ciconia nigra, Tetrax tetrax, several species of Oenanthe and other rare species have been recorded in different years and seasons in the IBA and adjacent mountains. The nature park is located on the Central-Asian flyway and serves as a place for resting for many species from the south of Europe, Asia, Siberia and Kazakhstan on their way to wintering places. There is information about this active flyway in the literature (Zarudny, 1914; Meklenburtsev, 1937; Kashkarov et al, 1970).

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna of Sarmishsay has not been well studied and only fragmentary information is published. The animals of the nature park have attracted students and teachers of Bukhara University and Navoi teachers' training institute lately because of summer field studies. Mammals: Hemiechinus hypomelas, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, R.hipposideros, Myotis blythi, Lepus tolai, Hystrix indica, Spermophilus fulvus, Allactaga severtzovi, A.elater, Rattus turkestanicus, Mus musculus, Meriones lybicus, Rhombomys opinus, Ellobius tancrei, Vormela peregusna, Vulpes vulpes, Ovis ammon severtzovi and others. Of these Hemiechinus hypomelas, R.hipposideros and Ovis ammon severtzovi are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan. Amphibia are Bufo viridis and Rana ridibinda. Reptiles include about 20 species including Agrionemys horsfieldi, Trapelus sanguinolentus, Stellio lehmanni, Phrynocephalus helioscopus, Pseudopus apodus, Cyrtopodion fedtschenkoi, C.russowi, Eumeces schneideri, Varanus griseus, Naja oxiana and Vipera lebetina. Naja oxiana and Vipera lebetina are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan. The springs and brooks form the Sarmishsay in the upper part of Sarmish which flows for a distance of 20 km. Four species of fish and other aquatic species have been recorded. 54 species of invertebrate are known including Planaria sp., Anellida, Rotifera, Copepoda and others. Daphia pulex, D. magna, Chydorus sphaericus, Bosmina longirostris, Alona restangula and others dominate the zooplankton (Niyazov, Raimov, 2006; Niyazov et al, 2003). The flora of the nature park has not been studied specifically. Wormwood and iris formations are present on the plain steppe. Where wormwood is scarcer, cereals, Carex and ephemerals are more abundant plus mosses, oleaster, cane, tamarisk and other water-loving species. Spirogyra, Closterium, Ulothrix and others grow on stones near the water. There are 15 species of trees and 3 species of bushes in the orchards. Wild thorny almond, blackberry, locoweed, desert-candle, wheat grass, tulip and others can be found in high rocky places.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  2007  62-86 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Eastern Rock-nuthatch Sitta tephronota resident  2007  150-250 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  2007  400-700 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata breeding  2007  30-50 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani breeding  2007  600-1,200 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 high very unfavourable low
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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution excess energy - noise pollution happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Grassland Steppes & dry calcareous  0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  0 0 very poor (< 40%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable
Rocky areas Scree, boulders & bare rocky areas  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sarmysh Nature Park 5,000 is identical to site 5,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  4%
Grassland Steppes & dry calcareous  73%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Water-fringe vegetation  8%
Rocky areas Inland cliffs; Scree, boulders & bare rocky areas  11%
Artificial - terrestrial Perennial crops, orchards & groves  4%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation 100%
rangeland/pastureland major

Protection status The Sarmish Nature park was created by the Navoi province administration. The main aims of the park are: protection of vegetation and animals, inorganic nature, unique rock paintings and historic-cultural heritage, recreation, and the aesthetic and scientific use of protected objects. In general designating the Sarmish nature park an IBA will increase its cultural, nature protection and educational significance.

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

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