Isei Lake

Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
A shallow fresh-water lake in bunch-grass steppe, in Korgalgin Natural Reserve ("Kurgal'dginskyi Zapovednik"). The lake is a part of the lake system of the Nura river basin. The landscape is typical for Central Kazakhstan dry steppe.

Key biodiversity
In the Natural Reserve, 327 bird species have been recorded (including 126 breeding species). 46 species are included in the Red Data Books of Kazakhstan and IUCN. Within the IBA, several tens of water-bird and passerine species breed (including Dalmatian Pelican, White-headed Duck, Black-winged Pratincole etc), and many species migrate and stop here in great number in spring and autumn, as well as for moulting (swans, ducks, gees etc.).

Non-bird biodiversity: In the Nature Reserve, there are 41 species of mammals, 4 reptiles, 2 amphibians, 14 fishes, about 400 plants.

Habitat and land use
Because the IBA is included in the territory of the Nature Reserve of highest status ("zapovednik"), it is used only for nature protection and research. Limited non-commercial fishing is allowed only during the winter.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Water levels in the lake (and in the whole lake system) is regulated by several dams which sometimes fail due to poor construction and maintenance. This then has a negative influence on bird breeding and feeding capacities of the lakes. There are also occasional fires.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Bird studies were started here in 1925, and there were a number of researches carried out after establishment of the Reserve in 1968: Volkov E. (1972-1981), Andrusenko A. (1977-1982), Khrokov V. (1972-1975), Koshkin A. (2001-2004). Now there are several research programmes of the Reserve on different topics. The most important project is "Integrated Conservation of Priority Globally Significant Migratory Bird Wetland Habitat: A Demonstration on Three Sites" (7-year project of GEF/UNDP, started in 2004).

Protected areas
The IBA is part of the Korgalgin Natural Reserve ("Kurgal'dginskyi Zapovednik") which is included in the Ramsar list.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Isei Lake. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.