Achinskoe Lake

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The site is located on the border of the reclaimed zone and Avazchul desert not far from the border with Turkmenistan, 60 km from Karshi city (Kashkadariya region). The relief is flat. In some damper places there are saline areas with thickets of tamarisk but generally the site has only sparse grass cover. There are thickets of tall saxaul on the south-east bank of the lake. Achinskoe lake is a water storage reservoir, with a length of about 20 km. and a maximum width of about 4 km. The banks are flat. Surface vegetation is represented by a narrow strip of reeds. There is a little reed-mace. Water comes to the lake from the Southern collector canal. Although only a few sites have been formally proposed under the A3 biome-restricted criteria (for biome CA04b Eurasian Desert and Semi-desert), many of the IBAs in the Kyzylkum Desert region support populations of biome-restricted species and, effectively, form a network of sites throughout the area.

Key biodiversity
Winter ornithological research of Achinskoe lake has been carried out together with a group of specialists from the Institute of Zoology for 3 years. In 2000 52,660 waterbirds of 21 species were recorded. The most numerous species were: Anas platyrhynchos (4,757), Aythya ferina (3,860) and Fulica atra (35,220). In 2004, 28,711 birds of 17 species were counted. The principle species were: Anser anser (18,712), Anas platyrhynchos (2,367) and Grus grus (2,882). In 2005, 175,687 birds of 16 species were recorded. The main species were: Anas platyrhynchos (12,034), Netta rufina (4,646) and Fulica atra (155,560). Results of winter counting on Achinskoe lake in 2000, 2004 and 2005- 2000: Pelecanus crispus - 6, Phalacrocorax carbo - 4, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus - 33, Ardea cinerea - 12, Casmerodius albus - 21,Anser anser - 202, Tadorna ferruginea - 5, Anas crecca - 100, Anas platyrhynchos - 4,757, Netta rufina - 308, Aythya ferina - 3,860, Aythya nyroca - 24, Mergellus albellus - 3, Mergus merganser - 5, Anatinae spp. - 8,090, Fulica atra - 35,220, Circus cyaneus - 1, Circus aeruginosus - 5, Haliaeetus albicilla - 1, Aquila heliaca - 1, Aquila nipalensis - 2, Total – 52,660. 2004: Tachybaptus ruficollis - 5, Pelecanus crispus - 12,Phalacrocorax carbo - 168, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus - 473, Ardea cinerea - 1, Casmerodius albus - 17, Anser anser - 18,712, Tadorna ferruginea - 8, Anas strepera - 10, Anas crecca - 1,500, Anas platyrhynchos - 2,367, Aythya ferina - 220, Grus grus - 2,882, Fulica atra - 1,982, Vanellus vanellus - 260, Tetrax tetrax - 91, Lanius cachinnans - 3, Total - 28,711. 2005: Tachybaptus ruficollis - 14, Podiceps cristatus - 17, Podiceps nigricollis - 1,066, Phalacrocorax carbo - 6, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus - 485, Ardea cinerea - 3, Anser anser - 20, Anser spp. - 58, Anas platyrhynchos - 12,034, Netta rufina - 4,646, Aythya ferina - 1,335, Aythya fuligula - 398, Mergellus albellus - 2, Grus grus - 5, Fulica atra - 155,560, Larus ichthyaetus - 38, Total - 175,687. In June 2006 within the framework of the IBA project surveys of the water areas and contiguous territories of Achinskoe lake were carried out and recorded 38 species. Five of them are characteristic of the Eurasian desert and semi desert biome.

Non-bird biodiversity: Typical representatives of desert fauna include: great and midday gerbils, jerboas and corsac fox. Reptiles include Phrynocephalus interscapularis and snake-eyed lizard. There are many nocturnal ground beetles and grasshoppers/crickets. Fish include common carp, pike-perch, snake-heads and roach. In the evenings green toads can be heard. The shoreline vegetation is represented by a narrow strip of reed. In some area there are thickets of tamarisk. The southeast shore is one of the few places in the Kashkadariya region where large contiguous stands of saxaul remains.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
In January 2000 within the framework of the RSGF project “Protection of Uzbekistan's Wetlands and their Waterfowl" a winter aircraft count of waterbirds was carried out. As a result Achinskoe lake was recognised as a reservoir of international importance as it fulfilled the Ramsar criteria. In 2004 within the framework of a joint WWF-Russia and Wetlands International project "Development of a strategy for the protection of waterfowl and wetlands on the Central - Asian flyway", the site was counted by an international team. In 2005 within the framework of the project "Ecological survey and monitoring of the Common Crane in wintering grounds in Southern Uzbekistan" supported by ICF, the area was surveyed for wintering Grus grus. In summer of 2006 within the framework of the Uzbekistan IBA project, the lake and adjoining areas were surveyed to help determine the borders of the proposed IBA.

Habitat and land use
The lake is moderately brackish and therefore does not freeze, it is also rich in food resources. It has open water areas which are necessary for safe roosting by waterfowl and thickets of a reed. On the adjoining areas there are irrigated agricultural fields and fields with winter crops and lucerne. In winter these fields provide good feeding areas for geese, dabbling ducks and cranes. The land in the immediate proximity of the reservoir is used only as pasture and for watering cattle. Achinskoe lake, being a wastewater reservoir, is heavily utilised in a wide variety of ways. Fishing is virtually uncontrolled with the effects on not taken into account. For example, nets are set in shallow water; rules regarding the removal of unusable nets are ignored; and there is almost constant activity by people and boats.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Achinskoe Lake. Downloaded from on 03/04/2020.