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
||Relationship with IBA
||Overlap with IBA (ha)
||protected area contained by site
||Extent (% of site)
||Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy
||Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation
|Artificial - terrestrial
||Other urban & industrial areas; Ruderal land
||Extent (% of site)
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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BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kushum Lakes. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014
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