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Location Kazakhstan, Akmola region
Central coordinates 70o 22.00' East  50o 38.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 20,360 ha
Altitude 328 - 342m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)



Site description The site consists of a group of waterbodies 80 km to the south-west of Astana and just to the east of Korgalzhyn village, 15 km to the south of the motorway connecting these two points. The lakes form part of the eastern periphery part of the Tengiz lake system and consist of Zhanybekshalkar, Uhyalyshalkar, Zhylandyhalkar and Shiyshalkar Lakes, arranged in a line stretching 25 km, along the course of the Nura river not far from the point where it enters Tengiz lake. Although the edges of the wetland complex were long ago damaged by ploughing, the relative abundance of swampy areas and patches of waterlogged saline land, especially in the environs of Shiyshalkar, hampers further encroachment and the land around the shores of the lakes are still largely intact. Away from the lakes there are numerous cultivated fields, predominantly wheat, though some are abandoned. Rarely the surrounding plain retains sparse dry steppe and semi-desert vegetation. The shores and shallows of the lakes sustain an exuberant growth of reed.

Key Biodiversity Autumn counts in 2004 recorded 23 species of waterbird. The commonest species were Fulica atra and Anser albifrons (65.7%). Congregations of Podiceps cristatus and Phalacrocorax carbo were found on the fish-rich waters of Zhanybekshalkar lake, known to be the site of a small-scale fishing industry. The majority of the local Casmrodius albus population was concentrated in the large reedbeds of Shiyshalkar lake. The most impressive record was more than 600 Cygnus cygnus. In 2005 the lakes were visited twice by ornithologists (01.07 and 07.09.05). At these times, 7,800 individuals of 40 species of waterbird were counted, and the most numerous species was Aythya ferina (about 2,500 birds), followed by Fulica atra (1,400) and a combined flock of Anas platyrhynchos and A. clypeata (1,200 birds). The satisfactory state of the local fish populations was indicated in 2005 by the presence on the lakes of 240 Pelecanus crispus.

Non-bird biodiversity: The typical dry steppe faunal communities are supplemented in the areas of the shoreline depressions and marshes by wetland complexes. The natural vegetation complexes have been preserved on a small portion of the lakes’ environs: Stipa, Festuca and Artemisia are the main species. Groups of Karagana and Spirea sp are not uncommon.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  2005  12,000-50,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  2005  3,000-3,500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2005  360-3,180 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  2004  1,200 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos passage  2005  9,500-10,860 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Smew Mergellus albellus passage  2005  1,250 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2005  54 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus passage  2005  2,670-2,740 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba passage  2004  37-588 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  2005  146-838 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo breeding  2005  < 50 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo passage  2005  2,100-8,400 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  2005  1,340-1,350 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius passage  2007  30-227 individuals  medium  A1, A4i  Critically Endangered 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2005  2,545-5,360 individuals  medium  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Ruff Calidris pugnax passage  2005  22,530 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus passage  2005  24,600-32,500 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni breeding  2006-2007  100-144 breeding pairs  good  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Black Lark Melanocorypha yeltoniensis breeding  2005  260 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2005  21,200-83,300 individuals  good  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2005 medium unfavourable not assessed
  Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Artificial - terrestrial   0 0 moderate (70-90%) good (> 90%) near favourable
Grassland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  5%
Shrubland Low bushes  minor
Grassland Humid; Steppes & dry calcareous  25%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  70%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 5%
rangeland/pastureland 20%
fisheries/aquaculture 30%
hunting 40%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Uyalyshalkar Lake System. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife