Talimardzhan Reservoir This is an IBA in danger! 

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The site is situated 45 km southwest of the town of Karshi, on the border of reclaimed land and the desert. The length of reservoir is 14 km; average width, 5.5 km (widest point 7 km); average depth is 20.0 m (deepest point 40 m). The reservoir is fed by water from the Amudarya river through the main Karshi canal. Water quality depends on that of the Amudarya river. Water salinity is constant in the region of 0.7-0.8 g/l. The reservoir does not freeze and has limited vegetation cover. The gently sloping shores are covered with sparse arid vegetation impoverished as a result of overgrazing by cattle. Thickets of tamarisk occur in some places.

Key biodiversity
Observations carried out in the vicinity of the reservoir (steppe sites) in the last few years have revealed Chlamidotis undulata on migration and it is possible that the species also breeds. The breeding bird community of the reservoir is poor, which is connected with the instability of the hydrological regime. In winter, the situation significantly changes. In the course of two years of winter counts, 23 species of waterfowl were recorded wintering on the reservoir, including the globally endangered Aythya nyroca. Two national Red Data Book species were also recorded - Haliaeetus albicilla and Larus ichthyaetus. The number of water birds concentrated here in winter corresponds to Ramsar and IBA criteria as a site of international importance. In January 2000 and 2004, the number of waterbirds recorded were 66,698 and 57,022 respectively.

Non-bird biodiversity: The following species inhabiting desert and semi-desert areas were recorded: rodents by gerbils and Long-clawed Ground Squirrel; Muskrat inhabits areas bordering canals and collector water courses; predators by Vulpes vulpes karagan, Golden Jackal and Steppe Cat; and reptiles by Steppe Agama. Fish in the reservoir include sazan and, cat-fish. Tree-shrub vegetation in the coastal zone has almost been lost to agricultural development, collection of firewood by local residents and overgrazing by cattle. Small areas of sparse thickets of tamarisk, saltwort and Artemisia sp. can be found and Koreleniya grows in the damp depressions.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The reservoir is significantly affected by water management conditions. Water abstraction, depending on agricultural needs, can reach 80%. This prevents birds nesting on the reservoir. The use of fixed nets in shallow water areas, uncontrolled quantity and quality of the nets, as well as neglect of regulations on the removal of useless nets are all direct threats for birds. The constant presence of boats and people on the reservoir is a significant disturbance factor.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A winter aerial count of waterfowl was carried out in January 2000 within the framework of the Ramsar project 'Protection of Uzbekistan's Wetlands and their Waterfowl’. This identified Talimarjan reservoir as site of international importance. In 2003-2004, an international winter count of waterbirds was carried out as part of a project of WWF Russia and Wetlands International entitled “Development of the strategy of the protection of waterfowl and wetlands on Central Asian Migration Route”. In 2005, a winter ornithological survey of the reservoir with the aim of revealing the wintering grounds of Eurasian Crane was conducted within the project ‘Ecological survey and monitoring of the Common Crane in wintering grounds in Southern Uzbekistan’ under the aegis of ICF.

Habitat and land use
The reservoir tends not to freeze, has rich food supplies for birds, open areas for safe day time roosting and some reed cover. Nearby, there are irrigated agricultural fields (irrigation is necessary to combat increasing salinity), as well as areas used for growing winter crops and alfalfa which provide excellent feeding grounds safe from natural enemies. Lands in the coastal part of the reservoir are used as pasture for cattle and the reservoir is used for watering cattle all year round. There is the risk that fisheries will be allowed on long-term rent which it is considered likely would result in non-regulated and uncontrolled catching of fish.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Talimardzhan Reservoir. Downloaded from on 02/10/2022.