Year of compilation: 2005

Site description
Shallow (0.5-3.0 m) saline lake (freshwater in the past) with vast Phragmites, Typha and Scirpus beds, open-water areas linked by channels through reeds, together with saltmarsh fringes and semi-desert islands with Salsola, etc., lying between the Kura and Aras rivers. Surrounding Mil steppe is slightly undulating alluvial plain with semi-desert and desert vegetation. The wetland area has recently decreased in size, having previously increased from 4,400 ha to 10,000 ha as a result of receiving water from irrigation systems. This wetland, together with lakes Boz Koba (IBA 010) and Sarysu (IBA 032), forms the water-body system of the Mil steppe.

Key biodiversity
At least 115 species have been recorded and at least 87 breed, including a colony of Pelecaniformes and Ciconiiformes (20,000-25,000 pairs), also Cygnus olor, Anser anser, Netta rufina, Francolinus francolinus (a few broods each year), Himantopus himantopus, Recurvirostra avosetta, Glareola nordmanni, and Chettusia leucura. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (winter visitor in small numbers). About 300,000 birds (presumably mainly waterbirds˜mostly wildfowl) formerly wintered at the site, with a lower count of 110,000 in January 1991 (50,000-60,000 ducks).

Non-bird biodiversity: There are more than 20 species of fish were noted in the lake. There is Pelobates syriacus B. (Red Data Book of Azerbaijan) from amphibians, Sus scrofa, Felis chaus, Canis lupus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Lepus europeus, Myocastor coypus etc. from mammals also occur on this site.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are fluctuations in the water area and salinity, including the artificial lowering of the water-level in a quarter of the lake in order to create sheep pastures, and the drowning of birds in fishing nets. There is some poaching, but this does not constitute a serious threat. A Zakaznik of 9,173 ha was established in 1964, 4,400 ha being designated as a Zapovednik in 1978 (expanded to 7,000 ha in 1988 or 1989). It is recommended that the size of the reserve be increased by 2,500 ha, creating a buffer zone c.500 m wide, that commercial fishing should cease, and that fresh water be fed into the lake and other measures implemented to stabilize the hydrological regime. Lake Aggel is probably the most important wetland in Azerbaijan since Kizil Agach (IBA 048) lost some of its importance as a wintering site.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Small project of wetland improvement was done by Zukow foundation in 2003-2004. Two-year project (2005-2007) for National Park development was proposed by Zukow foundation and Azerbaijan Ornithological Society.

Protected areas
National Full International Official RAMSAR site. Territory has status of National Park since 2003. Area of IBA is identical to protected area and constitute 17924 ha. All area is under strong protection.

Habitat and land use
The economic use of this territory is prohibited by Government, but it has big potential in development of ecotourism.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Aggyol. Downloaded from on 18/05/2022.