Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)
Site description The IBA is situated in the south-eastern part of the Kyzylkum desert far from any settlements. It is located 50 km north-west of the district centre of Nurata, in Navoiyskaya province, and 60 km to the north-north-west of the district centre of Yangikishlak, in Djizakskaya province. The area includes islands, the shore zone (varying in width from 500 m to some kilometres), bays and surrounding desert (again varying in width from 500 m to 3.5 km). The IBA is covers the northern shore of the lake and adjoining desert from 500-700m to 2,5-3,5 km wide. Aydarkul lake is the largest waterbody in the Aydar-Arnasay lake system. The lake formed in 1969 as a result of emergency water evacuation from the Chardara water reservoir. At present it is fed by water from Tuzkan lake and Arnasay water reservoir. The total area of the lake is 2,020 km2, its length is about 140 km (aligned west to east), and its width is 25-27 km. The average depth is 12m, maximum depth is up to 30m. The shores are gently sloping and strongly indented with many narrow, shallow bays, isolated small lakes with tugai vegetation and reed. Some lakes are up to 15-20% overgrown. The lake freezes but not annually. Freezing-over can occur from December-January until March. Mineralization is low near the Arnasay inflow but high in the western part of the lake. The shoreline desert has a good growth of young Halaxylon persicum, Ammodendron cannolyi, tamarisk and Karelinia sp. in hollows.
Aydarkul is included in the list of waterbodies of regional importance - Agreement about conservation and use of migrating species of birds and mammls and their habitats (МЭС, Agreement А.25 from 09.09.1994).
Key Biodiversity According to the literature and IBA survey data about 220 species of 14 orders have been recorded since th 1970s. Aydarkul lake is the largest area of habitat for more than 100 species of waterbirds in the region. There are 13 species included on the International Red List, 10 of them connected directly with wetlands. 24 species are included in the National Red Data Book, 10 species are included on Appendix I and 77 on Appendix II of the CMS. Aydarkul is located on the Central Asian flyway and is a concentration place for migrating and wintering waterbirds. It is a dominant waterbody in the boundary zone between cold and warm wintering grounds. 192,000 birds of 37 species were recorded during aerial counts in 2000, 32,000 of 43 species in 2004 (by foot count) and 24,000 of 72 species in 2007 (by foot count). According to Ramsar Convention criteria this waterbody has international significance as a stable wintering place and place of concentration for migrating waterbirds.
The most numerous species are Fulica atra, Egretta alba, Netta rufina, Aythya ferina, Anas platyrhynchos, Phalacrocorax carbo and Anser anser. Birds with international protection status (IUCN RL) are Chlamydotis undulata, Pelecanus crispus, Oxyura leucocephala, Aythya nyroca, Aquila heliaca, Haliaeetus leucoryphus and Aegypius monachus. Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Cygnus olor, Cygnus cygnus, Aythya nyroca, Oxyura leucocephala, Milvus migrans, Aquila nipalensis, Aquila heliaca, Haliaeetus albicilla, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aegypius monachus and Larus ichthyaetus have national protection status and are included in the National RDB.
Non-bird biodiversity: Typical representatives of desert fauna occur: Varanus griseus, Testudo horsfieldi, Agamidae, Meriones meridianus, Rhombomys opimus, Spermophilopsis leptodactylus, Dipodidae, Lepus capensis tolai, Vulpes vulpes caragan, Vulpes corsac, Felis libyca and Felis chaus. Sus scrofa, Meles meles, ondatra and Myocastor coypu are representative of the wetlands. Numbers are generally stable and changes are not connected with human activities. Gazella subgutturosa has been regularly recorded recently.
Threatened species include Alsophilax laevis, Varanus griseus, Testudo horsfieldi, Vulpes corsac, Gazella subgutturosa, and the plant Cousinia polimetica tschernea.