Zekry Lake

Site description (2006 baseline):

Site location and context
This site is situated 30 km to the SE of Bukhara city. Zekry was formed in the beginning of the 1990s as a result of emergency evacuation of water from a drainage network to the naturally low sand desert. Currently it is a shallow reservoir with a gently sloping shore and well developed reedbeds. There are tamarisk bushes along the lakeside. The water is brackish and comes to the lake through the collector channel. The lake floods extensively during times of high waterlevels. The site is important for concentrations of migrating and wintering waterbirds.

Key biodiversity
During four winter counts 42 species were recorded including the globally endangered species - Pelicanus crispus, Aythya nyroca, Oxyura leucocephala and Aegypius monachus. Phalacrocoraх pygmaeus, Pelecanus crispus, Cygnus olor, Cygnus cygnus, Aythya nyroca, Оxуurа leucocephala, Haliaeetus albicilla, Aquila nipalensis and Larus ichthyaetus are included in the National Red Book. Fulica atra and Anser anser dominate wintering numbers in different years. Subdominant species are Aythya ferina, Netta rufina and Anas clypeata.

Non-bird biodiversity: Jackal, Steppe Cat and Libyan Jird are common in the area. Fish include common carp, rudd, khramulya and zander. In the adjoining sand desert are Tolay hare, Great gerbil, Brandt's hedgehog, Corsac fox, Steppe tortoise, Desert monitor are Phrynocerhalus interscapularis. Desert monitor is included on the IUCN Red List. Plants are represented by typical desert associations.

Habitat and land use
The most important habitat of the IBA is the vegetation of the littoral and riverside zone approximately 300m wide which occurs on saline land in places. There is commercial fishing on the lake. Cattle are grazed and bushes are cut on the adjoining territory. There is hunting of waterbirds in autumn.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat is an unstable hydrological regime. As result nests of waterbirds are flooded in the spring-summer period. The number of nesting birds is also decreasing during droughts. The hydrological regime does not affect wintering birds. There is a definite danger for the plants of the lakeside because of overgrazing by cattle which visit the site for drinking. The level of poaching is small.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A winter count was carried out in 2000 as part of the Ramsar project "Protection of Uzbekistan wetlands and their waterfowl". International winter counts were carried out in 2003-2005 under the guidance of Wetlands International within the framework of the project on the investigation of the West-Asian flyway.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Zekry Lake. Downloaded from on 03/10/2023.