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Location Kazakhstan, Akmola region
Central coordinates 69o 53.00' East  50o 43.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 12,490 ha
Altitude 320 - 330m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (Affiliate)

Site description The site consists of the group of waterbodies situated 90 km south-west of Astana and 20 km to the north of the Nura river, lying in the 5 km-wide strip of land next to the road connecting Korgalzhyn with Astana. The lake group represents the eastern periphery of the Tengiz lake system. The waterbodies are arranged in two distinct clusters running east-north-east from Maly (Small) Tengiz lake for a distance of 30 km. The system consists of 6 major lakes, Zhumai, Baibota, Temirastau and Maishukyr, and the larger Saumalkol (7 x 1.8 km) and Kumkol (3.8 x 1.7 km). Though the edges of the wetland complex were ploughed long ago, the relative abundance of swampy areas and patches of waterlogged saline land limit further agricultural development. However, the land nearest the shore is being impacted by cattle- and poultry-rearing activities. Further inland of the shores, there are cultivated fields (mostly wheat), and some recently abandoned fields. A few fragments of steppe and semi-desert vegetation survive on the surrounding plain. The shores and shallows of the lakes support an exuberant growth of reed.

Key Biodiversity Autumn counts in 2004 recorded 23,000 waterbirds of 32 species. The commonest species was Anser albifrons (26.3%), counted as the geese returned to the lakes after foraging on the adjacent fields. Other common species were Fulica atra (16.3%) and Anas clypeata (3.6%). Of particular note was the significant number of Oxyura leucocephala (2.4 %) which was present in more than a half of the areas inspected. In 2005 the site was counted on three occasions: 29.06, 02.09 and 17.09.2005. 42,500 birds of 46 species of waterbird were counted. Although precise data on species composition and numbers at the site in spring is lacking, reports suggest that significant numbers of migrants also occur on spring passage. For example, in May the site is known to hold flocks of Phalaropus lobatus numbering tens of thousands of birds that are prone to linger for weeks. Significant numbers of other northern waders occur at the same time. Also in some years in early May, groups of feeding Phoenicopterus roseus can be found on the temporary areas of flooding. Within the lake system, one area that is of particular importance is the small seasonal lake situated at the outskirts of Maishukur. A small island in the middle of this lake, prone to drying up, is a regular nesting site for gulls including Larus ichthyaetus, L. cachinnans, L. genei, L. minutus and others. The importance of the lake system in general for autumn migrants is demonstrated by counts from autumn 2005. The most numerous species were Fulica atra (16,700) and Aythya ferina (16,500). Dabbling ducks were also common, the commonest being Anas platyrhynchos (about 2,000). Two key species were Oxyura leucocephala (1,500; with 2,270 birds on 01.08 05) and Cygnus cygnus (more than 500, including 3 broods).

Non-bird biodiversity: Typical dry steppe faunal communities are common in the surrounding areas, with wetland species around the lakes. The natural vegetation complexes have been preserved on a small portion of lakes’ environs, with Stipa, Festuca and Artemisia being 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
Northern Pintail Anas acuta passage  2005  15,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  2004  6,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2005  300-500 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  2005  1,450 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera passage  2005  5,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope passage  2005  15,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos passage  2005  11,000-15,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata passage  2005  35,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina passage  2005  8,200-38,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula passage  2005  9,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula passage  2005  290-1,110 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala passage  2005  121-2,270 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis passage  2005  290-950 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Coot Fulica atra passage  2005  30,000-50,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius passage  2006  80-84 individuals  medium  A1, A3, A4i  Critically Endangered 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius breeding  2005-2007  2-10 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A3, A4i  Critically Endangered 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa breeding  2004-2005  4-20 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001  610 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Little Stint Calidris minuta passage  2005  11,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax passage  2005  37,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus passage  2005  37,000-55,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni breeding  2006-2007  100-124 breeding pairs  good  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus breeding  2004-2005  130-300 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Black Lark Melanocorypha yeltoniensis breeding  2005  150-200 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2005  23,000-106,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

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

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve 543,171 protected area overlaps with site 1,870  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  minor
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Other urban & industrial areas  10%
Grassland Humid; Steppes & dry calcareous  30%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water; Standing fresh water; Temporary water bodies; Water-fringe vegetation  60%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 5%
rangeland/pastureland 30%
hunting 10%
fisheries/aquaculture 40%

Acknowledgements The compilers express their sincere appreciation of the timely provision of expertly executed supplementary records on Zhumai lake by Scherbakov B.V, an employee of Ust-Kamenogorsk Regional Ethnography Museum and a professional ornithologist.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zhumay-Mayshukyr Lake System. Downloaded from on 27/11/2014

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