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Location Uzbekistan, Bukhoro
Central coordinates 64o 32.12' East  40o 36.86' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 32,854 ha
Altitude 150 - 260m
Year of IBA assessment 2011

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (Affiliate)



Summary Ayakagytma is a drainage lake about 11000 hectares and is located at the bottom of the Ayakagytma depression. The lake is surrounded by cliffs. Water is supplied through the drainage canal flowing into the lake from the south. The shoreline vegetation is poorly developed and consists of scattered patches of reed and tamarisk. There is intense fishery activity with 7 fishing teams. There is a small village Ayakagytma with 50 families. The local people are mainly engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries.The vegetation is very sparse and consists mainly of desert and semi-desert species. The climate is characterized by mild winters and very hot summer. Strong winds are frequent in February and June and are accompanied by dust and sand storms.

Site description Ayakagytma is a drainage lake covering about 11000 hectares and is located at the bottom of the Ayakagytma depression to the south-east of the Kuljuktau ridge. The lake is surrounded by cliffs, up to 60 m high, which are closest to the shore in the north. Water is supplied through the drainage canal flowing into the lake from the south. The water level in the lake is not stable, the water is brackish and it does not freeze in winter. The shoreline vegetation is poorly developed and consists of scattered patches of reed and tamarisk. Macrophytes are most developed in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the lake (not far from the village) and at the canal mouth.The lake formed in the late 1980s. There is intense fishery activity with 7 fishing teams. There is a small village, Ayakagytma, on the shore of the lake, which is home to about 50 families. The local people are mainly engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries.The territory adjacent to the lake consists of extensive salt marshes in the west and east, and sandy desert with fixed dunes and clayey-gravelly desert in the east. The vegetation is very sparse and consists mainly of desert and semi-desert species. There are scattered groups of saxaul and Ammodendron canolyi, Calligonum bushes are common and sands are fixed by herbaceous vegetation such as Carex arenaria and meadow-grass. Most vegetation dies back by late May.The loess cliffs bordering the Ayakagytma depression are good for nesting birds of prey (Egyptian Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Saker Falcon, Eagle Owl, Little Owl) and other cliff-nesting species.The climate is characterized by mild winters with a predominance of cloudy weather. Winter daytime temperatures range from -1 to +5 °C and at night down to -5 °C (rarely to -15 °C). Precipitation usually falls as drizzle and sometimes snow, though the latter never settles. The summer is hot, very dry, with cloudy and clear weather. The air temperature during the day often rises to 40 °C and above and 20-25 °C at night. The summer heat is combined with very low humidity. Autumns are warm. Night frosts start in late October. Strong winds are frequent in February and June and are accompanied by dust and sand storms.

Key Biodiversity Due to having a rich food supply and remaining unfrozen in winter, Ayakagytma Lake is of international significance for wintering waterfowl (in accordance with the Ramsar criteria). According to the results of the winter aerial census by IWC on 10.01.2000, the lake held 23281 birds of 23 species. The extensive salt marshes adjacent to the lake attract many shorebirds. Together these make the lake of great value as a resting place for migratory wetland birds. Breeding species include Greylag Geese, Marsh Harriers, Mute Swans, Grey Herons, Red-crested Pochards, and several species of terns, gulls and waders. In 2006-2007 there were reports of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris. However, there is no reliable evidence to support these observations and a special survey in 2008 did not record this species.Surveys between 2000-2011 have recorded 197 bird species - 22 of them are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan and 11 are globally threatened species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals recorded: Badger Meles meles, Fox Vulpes vulpes caragan, Tolai Hare Lepus tolai, Great Gerbil Rhombomys opimus, Yellow and Long-clawed Ground Squirrels Spermophilus fulvus and S. leptodactylus, Goitered Gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, etc. Reptiles: Desert Monitor Varanus griseus, Asian Tortoise Testudo (Agrionemys) horsfieldii, Sunwatcher Phrynocephalus helioscopus, Striped Racerunner Eremias lineolata and Rapid Fringetoed Lizard Eremias velox, Steppe Agama Trapelus sanguinolentus. In the western part of the shore the very rare Saxaul Haloxylon aphyllum occurs, with closer to the lake - Tamarisk Tamarix sp.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  2000  4,016 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  2009  4 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  2000  451 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus passage  2011  28-452 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  2011  1-130 individuals  medium  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  2000  827 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  2011  3-4 breeding pairs  good  A1  Endangered 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  2006-2011  4-35 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta breeding  2011  min 1 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2006-2008  min 14 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana breeding  2008  min 14 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  2008-2011  3-23 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2000  23,281 individuals  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2011 very high not assessed negligible
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution agricultural and forestry effluents and practices happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  5%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy; Desert & semi-desert - stony  57%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish & salt water  33%
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  5%

Land ownership the 7 fisheries teams take Ayakagytma lake under lease.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 67%
fisheries/aquaculture 33%

Protection status There is no protected area. It is recommended that a seasonal ornithological reserve, of national importance, be established.

Acknowledgements This information was gathered in frames of CLP project "Survey of three potential IBAs in Uzbekistan in collaboration with students" and support from UzSPB.

References Zakhidov T.Z., Meklenburtsev R.N. Ed. 1969. Nature and wildlife of Central Asia. Vertebrates. Volume 1. "Ukituvchi". Tashkent. (in Russian)Mitropolskiy O.V., Mitropolskiy M.G. Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris): new records and problems of conservation. Ornithological studies in Northern Eurasia. XII International Ornithological Conference in Northern Eurasia. Abstracts (Stavropol, 31 January-5 February 2006). Stavropol, 2006. PP. 360-361. (in Russian)Atadjanov, A., Filatov, A., Lanovenko, Y., Zagrebin, S., Chernogaev, E., Khodjaev, J. Aerial Survey of Wetlands in Uzbekistan (winter 2000). Report of the project RSGF "Protection of Uzbekistan's Wetlands and their Waterfowl". Part 3. Tashkent, June 2001.Lanovenko E.N. Report on field research from 2 to 15 June 2006 within the framework of IBA Uzbekistan. Tashkent, 2006Lanovenko E.N. The results of the winter aerial census on Ayakagytma.Mitropolskiy M. Report UzSPB on field studies of lake Ayakagytma from 29 April to 5 May 2007 Tashkent, 2007Geoff Welch Bird observation on lake Ayaqaghitma, Report UzSPB. Uzbekistan – April/May 2008.Turaev M. Oral report on the record of stifftail in January 2010 on Ayakagytma.Ten A. Report on research on Ayakagytma Lake, April 2011. Tashkent 2011

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ayakaghytma lake and surrounding desert. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2014

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