The gorge of the Kondara river is situated in the south spurs of the Gissar range 36 km to the north of Dushanbe. This river is a right bank tributary of the Varzob river and flows in at an altitude of 1,100m above sea level. Its length is 12-15 km, medium width is 2 km and it is oriented west to east. The slopes of the gorge vary between gentle with a fine, loose surface to very steep and rocky. In the upper course the gorge is blocked by the thick steep cliff of the watershed of the Luchob and Varzob rivers, which is known as Ruidasht. This is a slightly sloping plateau 10-12 km long and 6-7 km wide covered with a thick layer of fine surface material. The eastern edge of the plateau facing the Kondara gorge is very steep and rocky. The height of the Ruidasht plateau varies from 2,400 to 2,850 m.
The IBA includes all of the gorge from the mouth (Varzob river banks) to the eastern slope of the Ruidasht, the eastern part of the plateau, and Kvak and Tereakba tracts. The main part of the IBA is situated in a wood-shrubby vegetation zone, which extends from 1,000-1,200 to 2,500 m above sea level on its southern slopes. In this zone of the Gissar range the highest amount of atmospheric precipitation falls – more than 1,000 mm a year.
The list of the birds of the Kondara gorge includes 146 species from 11 orders and 44 families. Among them 34 species are residents, 87 breeding, 28 migrants and 20 wintering.
Typical residents: Gypaetus barbatus, Aegypius monachus, Gyps fulvus, Aquila chrysaetos, Tetraogallus himalayensis, Alectoris chukar, Streptopelia senegalensis, Dendrocopus leucopterus, Cinclus pallasii, Chaimarrornis leucocephala, Rhyacornis fuliginosus, Turdus merula, Turdus viscivorus, Myophonus caeruleus, Enicurus scouleri, Garrulax lineatus, Parus bokharensis, Sitta tephronota, Tichodroma muraria, Pica pica, Corvus corone, Corvus corax, Acridoteres tristis, Passer montanus, Carduelis caniceps, Coccothraustes coccothraustes and Mycerobas carnipes.
Typical breeding species: Milvus migrans (decreasing), Hieraaetus pennatus, Falco tinnunculus, Falco subbuteo, Falco cherrug, Streptopelia turtur, Streptopelia orientalis, Cuculus canorus, Otus scops, Merops apiaster, Upupa epops, Caprimulgus europaeus, Coracias garrulus, Calandrella acutirostris, Alauda arvensis, Riparia rupestris, Hirundo daurica, Luscinia pectoralis, Cettia cettia, Hippolais rama, Sylvia hortensis, Phylloscopus griseolus, Leptopoecile sophiae, Tersiphone paradisi, Parus flavipectus, Certhia himalayana, Remiz coronatus, Oriolus oriolus, Lanius phoenicuroides, Lanius schach, Lanius minor, Sturus roseus and others.
Typical wintering species: Circaetus gallicus, Accipiter gentilis, Accipiter nisus, Bubo bubo, Falco columbarius, Charadrius dubius, Scolopax rusticola, Regulus regulus, Sturnus vulgaris, Fringilla coelebs, Fringilla montifringilla, Carduelis spinus, Loxia curvirostra and Carpodacus erythrinus.
There is a spring and autumn migration of Falconiformes, Galliformes, Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, Coraciiformes and Passeriformes.
The following species are listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan - Gypaetus barbatus, Neophron percnopterus, Aegypius monachus, Gyps himalayensis, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug, Columba palumbus, Chaimarrornis leucocephala, Myophonus caeruleus, Enicurus scouleri, Leptopoecile sophiae, Tersiphone paradisi and Garrulax lineatus.
Seasonal changes in the avifaunal composition, which is characteristic and inherent in mountain areas, is clearly exhibited.
Non-bird biodiversity: 1,800 species of animal (including invertebrates) have been recorded in the IBA.
Fish: Glyptosternum reticulatum and Schizothorax intermedius.
Amphibia: Bufo viridis.
Reptiles: Ablepharus brandtii, Agama lehmanni, Eumeces schneideri, Eryx tataricus, Coluber rhodorhachis, Coluber ravergieri, Elaphe dione, Typhlops vermicularis, Vipera lebetina; in higher areas Ancistrodon halys and Natrix tessellata.
Mammals: Ellobius talpinus, Mus musculus, Apodemus sylvaticus, Rattus turkestanicus, Histryx leucura, Dyromys nitedula, Ochotona rutila, Marmota caudata, Cricetulus migratorius, Microtus carruthersi, Crocidura suaveolens, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Eptesicus serotinus. Carnivora: Vulpes vulpes, Canis lupus, Felis ocreala, Ursus arctos, Lutra lutra, Mustela ermine, Meles meles. Ungulates: Sus scrofa and Capra sibirica.
Vegetation: the main part of the IBA consists of a woody-shrubby belt. The lower part of this belt is at 1,600 m above sea level and typical species are Acer turkestanicum, Prunus divaricata, Crataegus turkestanica, Rhamnus dolychophylla, Malus hissarica, Celtis caucasica and Juniperus seravschanica. Juglans regia only occurs in river valleys. In the IBA (7-8,000 hectares) and between 1,100-2,850 m above sea level botanists have recorded 756 species of pteridophyte and spermatophyte from the following families: Compositae – 102 species (13.64% of the total), Gramineae – 83 species (11%), Leguminosae – 61 species (8%), Liliaceae – 40 species (5.3%), Caryophyllaceae – 40 species (5.3%), Umbelliferae – 38 species (5%), Labiatae – 38 species (5%), Rosaceae – 37 species (4.9%), Cruciferae – 35 species (4.6%), Ranunculaceae – 29 species (3.84%), Scrophulariaceae – 23 species (3.04%), Boraginaceae – 21 species (2.8%), Cyperaceae – 19 species (2.5%), Poligonaceae – 10 species (1.3%), Rubiaceae – 16 species (2.1%) and others.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Poaching and anthropogenic factors.
Habitat and land use
The Varzob mountain botanical station, located in the Kondara Gorge and operated by the Botanical Institute of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, was established in 1935 and has been carrying out long term observations ever since. Investigations of animals have also been conducted. All of the territory of the station is protected and therefore the plant and animal life of the gorge has been well conserved. The Varzob mountain botanical station (protected area) and "Kondara Gorge IBA" will assist each other.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kondara Gorge. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/10/2019.