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Location Kazakhstan, West-Kazakhstan region
Central coordinates 50o 25.00' East  49o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 175,315 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The IBA is a fragmented wetland complex in the lowest reaches of the Kushum river and occupies part of the left bank of the Ural river, approximately 90 km to the west of main course. It is positioned in the centre of the Dangaly district of the West-Kazakhstan region. The site is formed by flooding from the Kushum river. The majority of the area consists of shallow stretches of water overgrown by dense reedbeds. Only the peripheral waterbodies (Edelsor-1 and Edelsor-2, for example) appear to be devoid of extensive vegetation. At present, due to naturally changing water cycles, exacerbated by man-made deflection of water through a network of artificial canals, a substantial part of the reedbeds are unflooded. The system contains a few major lakes (Byrkazan, Oryskopa, Sholokhovskoye, Khankol and Zhaltyrkol) that are included in the Zhaltyrkulsky (Zhaltyrkol) State Nature Reserve (Zakaznik). The fragments of dry land between the waterbodies are composed of plots of common to northern semi-desert with sparse vegetation on loamy and sandy soils. The flora is restricted to predominantly halophytes (70% representation), with motley-herbage-Artemisia complexes gradually replaced in hollows by patches of annual Salsola.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2007  872 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina passage  2007  3,530 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2007  350 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2007  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Jalturkulskiy Zakaznik 19,000 protected area contained by site 19,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy  60%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  35%
Artificial - terrestrial Other urban & industrial areas; Ruderal land  5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 50%
fisheries/aquaculture 20%
hunting 30%

Protection status The core of the IBA is the Zhaltyrkol State Nature Reserve (Zakaznik). This protected area encloses several of the largest lakes, corresponding to 40% of the Reserve’s area.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kushum Lakes. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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