Karakol Lake

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The lake is situated on the southern outskirts of Aktau city (Karakiyanskiy district of Mangistau region), within the Karagye-Karakolskiy zoological reserve. The lake formed following the floodng of a natural hollow by hot water from the nearby thermoelectric power station. The lake is about 12 km long and runs parallel to the Caspian Sea coast, separated from the sea by a strip of land about 1 km in width. Its depth is 0.5-0.8 m and water levels tend to be stable throughout the year. The lake is connected to the sea by two channels at the northern and southern ends. The western border of the site is Caspian Sea shore-line. There is a considerable amount of water fringe vegetation, mainly reedbeds, mostly along the north, north-east and western shores. The bottom of the lake is sandy, with extensive patches of green algae, which provides food for wintering swans and other waterfowl.

Key biodiversity
In winter, 14 species of waterbird have been recorded, including two from the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan – greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) and whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus).

Non-bird biodiversity: Five species of fish and two species of amphibian have been recorded.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Tourists and people from the neighboring Aktau recreation zone (on the sea shore) cause disturbance. There is the potential threat of fluctuating water levels depending on operations at the power station.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The reserve status guarantees some protection measures for waterbirds. Additional surveys in the breeding and migratory periods are required.

Protected areas
All of the IBA is included in the Karagiye-Karakolskiy State Reserve (Zakaznik).

Habitat and land use
The main use of the site is as a reservoir of warm waste water from the heat and power plant. This use ensures the existence of the IBA.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Karakol Lake. Downloaded from on 01/04/2023.