The area of the IBA is 19,031 hectares representing more than 6% of the area of the Central Kopetdag (279,100 hectares). The eastern border of the IBA is situated to the south of Gyaurs station on a channel of the small river Sherlok up to the settlement of Shamli at the foot of Zerakev mountain; it then turns west along the Tekenchengasy ridge to the settlement of Manysh and continues westwards to the settlement of Komarovskiy. The northern border bends around the Etimbair ridge (456m) and follows the road to Gyaurs.
The avifauna includes 170 species (15 orders, 38 families, 101 genus). The Orders Passeriformes (17 families, 53 genus, 99 species) and Falconiformes (2 families, 12 genus, 26 species) represent the largest number of species. Less numerous are the Orders Pelecaniformes, Cuculiformes, Caprimulgiformes, Upupiformes (1 family, 1 genus and 1 species).
The different habitats of the IBA (semi-desert, tugai, stony-rocky etc.) support several characteristic communities of birds which represent the avifauna of the Central Kopetdag (Mishenko, 1986). Nesting is confirmed for 82 species (48.2% of the total). During migration (spring-autumn) and winter 85 species have been recorded - 50% of the total (Efimenko 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2005).
The site supports several nesting species on the IUCN Red List (2004): Falco cherrug, Falco naumanni and also the species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Ciconia nigra, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco peregrinus, Falco cherrug, Falco naumanni and Bubo bubo. The A1 criterion applies for these species.
On migration: Aquila heliaca, Buteo buteo, Aegypius monachus, Aquila clanga, Branta ruficollis, Crex crex, Columba eversmanni, Hieraaetus fasciatus and Gypaetus barbatus occur and are also listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999).
The A3 criterion applies for species of the Irano-Turanian mountains (Biome CA06): Ammoperdix griseogularis, Oenanthe finschii, Oenanthe picata, Oenanthe xanthoprymna, Emberiza buchanani, Irania gutturalis and Sitta tephronota.
Nesting species (Biome 04b): Columba eversmanni, Ammomanes deserti, Hippolais rama, Scotocerca inquieta, Rhodospiza obsoleta, Emberiza bruniceps and Sylvia nana.
Migration and passage species include: Aquila nipalensis, Falco vespertinus, Anthus spinoletta and Phoenicurus erythronota.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals are represented by more than 24 species (Zykov, Korshunov, 1986; Mammals of Turkmenistan, 1995). Hyaena hyaena, Panthera pardus, Ovis vignei and Capra aegagrus are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999).
Amphibians and reptiles consist of 22 species including: Bufo viridis turanensis and Bufo danatensis, Rana ridibunda (Amphibians), Agrionemys horsfieldi, Gymnodactylus caspius, Trapelus sanguinolenta, Mabuya aurata, Varanus griseus, Eumeces schneideri, Ophisaurus apodus, Eremias velox, Eumeces taeniolatus (Reptiles), Typhlops vermicularis, Eryx miliaris, Eirenis persicus, Coluber rhodorhachis, Coluber ravergieri , Naja oxiana, Vipera lebetina, Oligodon taeniolatus, Psammophis sehokari and Psammophis lineolatum (snakes).
The flora of Gurykhoudan includes 616 species (441 genus and 88 families). Almost 86.5% of the flora is more or less regularly distributed throughout the area (Kamahina, 2005). Specific features of the region include the local endemics: Leymus nikitinii, Popoviolimon turcomanica, Colutea atabaejevii, Paracaryum crista-galli, Jurinea kultiassowii and Centaurea androssowii.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
An analysis of threats and their importance for the IBA shows that the most important are overgrazing, cutting of trees and shrubs, fires and illegal hunting all of which cause an irreparable loss of natural ecosystems and habitats for birds.
Parts of the IBA are used as a hunting area.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Two national projects have been concerned with the problems of this region:
2003-2006 - Project GEF-UNEP-WWF « Projecting ECONET for long-term biodiversity protection » (WWF - the executive organization, the partner - the Ministry of Nature Protection);
2003-2005 - Project UNDP « Improvement of protected areas system in Turkmenistan (ECONET) » (the executive organization - the Ministry of Nature Protection).
The Gurykhovudan Zakaznik is administered by the Kopetdag state reserve. The Gurykhovudan Zakaznik is in a zone of active agricultural development with an extremely high grazing pressure.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gurykhovudan. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 12/08/2022.