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Location Kazakhstan, Kostanay region
Central coordinates 65o 42.00' East  54o 10.50' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 3,026 ha
Altitude 173 - 179m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The lake is situated in Kostanai region, 30 km north-east of the district centre, Uzynkol (Leninskoye), in a natural hollow. Its northern and southern shores have a gentle flat relief, the eastern and western shores are sloping. The southern and eastern corners of the lake have a complicated shoreline with many small promontories, emergent and permanent bars; the remainder of the shoreline is smooth. There are two additional waterbodies to the north of the lake, Ortakol and an un-named lake. Both appear to be unsuitable for birds being small and shallow. Akzhan lake is subject to natural hydrological variations related to climate conditions: after winters with much snow the average depth reaches 3-3.5 m, compared with 1.5-2 m in dry years. As a rule, for 2-3 years immediately following high water levels, the lake is fresh. One small rivulet enters the lake in the southern part but its capacity seems to be inadequate for the sustaining optimal water levels. The fringing vegetation, Phragmites and Scirpus sp, is most developed along the southern and south-eastern shores. The main body of open water contains an impressive scattering of small reedbeds. Approximately 1-2 km from the western and eastern shorelines there are scattered isolated forest stands mixed Birch-Aspen. The majority of the land between these woody plots is crops. The most important local agricultural product is wheat.

Key Biodiversity The lake is an important stop-over site for migrating waterbirds (being visited by no less than 50 species per season) with concentrations up to 40,000 birds. It also supports nesting and moulting populations of waterbirds: more than 5,000 pairs of 35 species of waterbirds are reckoned to breed and about 20,000, or more, birds moult. National Red Data Book species include: Pelecanus crispus, Cygnus cygnus, Branta ruficollis, Anser erythropus and Haliaeetus albicilla. The harvested fields surrounding the lake serve as the foraging areas for geese, swans, Philomachus pugnax and Numenius arquata. Interesting terrestrial breeding species include Lagopus lagopus, Lyrurus tetrix and Aquila heliaca.

Non-bird biodiversity: The shores of the lake are frequented by a few large mammal species: Nyctereutes procyonoides, Meles meles, Vulpes vulpes and Capreolus capreolus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus passage  2004  36 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  2004  12,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  1998  7,500 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis passage  2004  102 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus breeding  1998  1,500 breeding pairs  good  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2004  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2012 medium favourable not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) 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%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Standing fresh water  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Water-fringe vegetation  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Wooded steppe  5%
Shrubland Low bushes  minor
Grassland Steppes & dry calcareous  20%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  60%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved reseeded grasslands  15%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 15%
Notes: Wheat production.Hey-fields.
rangeland/pastureland 20%
fisheries/aquaculture 10%
forestry 5%
hunting minor

References Erokhov S.N. Species composition and numerical representation of water-birds on the water-bodies of Kostanai Region in spring-season of1997. The Report, 35 p. (in Russian) Erokhov S.N. et al. Anser erythropus and concomitant species in Kazakhstan during migration. Bulletin of the working group on Geese and Swans of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, “Kazarka (Brant-goose)”, #6, Moscow, 2006, P. 121-158. (in Russian) W.Cresswell , S. Yerokhov et al. Important wetlands in northern and eastern Kazakhstan. Wildfowl. (1999) 50: 181-194. (in English)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Akzhan Lake. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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