North-western cliff faces of the Ustyurt Plateau

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The IBA is located in the north-west part of the vast Ustyurt Plateau, 30 km north-east of Beyneu (Beyneu district) and consists of a limestone-gypsum desert plateau and neighbouring plains with steep cliffs (“chinks”) in the western and northern parts of the IBA. The IBA includes the Mynsualmasy plateau with cliffs up to 200 m in height, and parts of the Bogatay-Benike tract of piedmont stony desert and of the Aschyktaypak saltmarsh at lower altitude to the west. The surface of the plateau is slightly undulating clay northern desert with fragments of semidesert and saltmarsh. The vegetation is mainly Artemisia-Salsola associations and about 10% of the area is covered with sparse saxaul (Haloxylon) woodland. Of water sources, there are only several springs and wells, small streams run in the spring but dry out in summer.

Key biodiversity
A typical assemblage of desert species and a high density of breeding birds of prey.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Moderate disturbance from the operation and taking of materials for use in the neighbouring road and pipeline constructions - south-western part only.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity

Protected areas

Habitat and land use
The area is almost unused. In some areas, material has been extracted for use on neighbouring roads and pipeline construction (only in the south-western part of the site).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: North-western cliff faces of the Ustyurt Plateau. Downloaded from on 24/05/2022.