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Location Kyrgyzstan, Ysyk-Köl
Central coordinates 76o 15.30' East  42o 26.90' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 2,700 ha
Altitude 1,609 m
Year of IBA assessment 2010

Public Association NABS (Affiliate)

Site description The territory includes dry steppes and semi-deserts, part of Issyk-Kul lake, foothill- adyr areas. Vertical differentiations of relief, heterogeneity of soil conditions make vary landscapes of dry-steppes and stony-deserts. Territory is close to Balykchy city.

Key Biodiversity Criterion A1 is applied to the site because of Pallas’s sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxys), Saker falcon (Falko cherrug), and wintering species such as Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) and White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).Criterion A4iii is applied because of high number of wintering waterfowl and waterbirds: Anseriformes, Podicipedidae, Laridae and waders during the passage. According to winter counts every year from 25 to 80 thousand individuals of 30 species winter here.Site hosts 267 bird species. Shallows and inlets are used by birds in winter time. Coot (Fulica atra) and Mallard breed here. IBA is wintering ground for Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), Gadwall, Garganey. During the mass passage are seen Northern Pintail, Common Teal and waders. Stony desert areas home of Pallas’s sandgrouse, Lesser short-toed lark, Oenanthe spec.. Foothill-adyr zone hosts Saker falcon, Golden eagle, Egyptian and other vultures.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals dominating in steppes areas are: European suslik, jerboa, vole, Tolai hare, as well as Long-eared hedgehog, predators’- wolf, fox, manul and weasel. Reptiles are presented with 2 species: Steppe runner and Multi-Ocellated Racerunner. Plants are ephedra, nitaria, Pine, Thermopsis genus and sea buckthorn. Lake Issyk-Kul hosts 28 species of fish and 8 of them are endemics such as Naked Osman, Balkhash Marinka and others

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  200-500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  2,000-6,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  400-8,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug breeding  2-6 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  25,000-80,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Issyk Kul UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 4,311,588 protected area contains site 2,700  
Issyk-Kul State Nature Reserve 19,000 protected area overlaps with site 1,350  
Isyk-Kul State Reserve with the Lake Isyk-Kul Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 623,600 protected area contains site 2,700  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  24%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - stony  6%
Wetlands (inland) Standing fresh water; Water-fringe vegetation  63%
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry plantations  5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting 20%
nature conservation and research 50%

Protection status Territory of Issyk-Kul reserve consists of 12 small sites surrounding the lake

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled 24-09-2006 by S. V. Kulagin (NABU), received by BirdLife Cambridge May 2008, translated by Tsovinar Hovhannisyan in summer 2010, entered into WBDB by Rory McCann in autumn 2010.

References Ardamin I. (1976) Wintering waterfowl in Issyk-Kul. Studies of Issyk-Kul reserve. Frunze “Kyrgyzstan” p. 45-62 Kidiraliev A. (1976) Waterfowl and waterbirds of Issyk-Kul reserve. Studies of Issyk-Kul reserve. Frunze “Kyrgyzstan” p. 24-44 Counts of waterfowl. Chronicle “Nature of Issyk-Kul reserve” 1987 Yanushevich A. I. and others (1959) Birds of Kyrgyzstan, vol. 1

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Western Issyk Kul Lake. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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