Tyulen’i (Seal) Islands

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The IBA consists of an archipelago of 7 islands dispersed over an area of c. 52 x 28 km, in the north-eastern part of the Caspian Sea, to the north of the Tiup-Karagan promontory and extending westerwards towards Mangyshlak Bay. The largest island in the group, the elongated and sickle-shaped Kulaly Island, 25 km in length and 2 km in width, is largely semi-desert, with a negligible amount of grass growth. The western shore is an exposed, sandy area; the eastern (leeward) side consists of creeks, coves and bays, with all of the littoral overgrown with reeds. There are two state service establishments on the island: a meteorological observatory and a border guards’ post. The other islands of the archipelago – Morskoy, Rybachy, Novy, Podgorny and two without names – are predominantly extensively waterlogged areas with solid reed overgrowth. The configuration of the shoreline and amount open ground of the islands are determined by the current water levels.

Key biodiversity
The archipelago supports very large numbers of breeding Sterna sandvicensis. Tens of thousands of waterfowl use the islands for resting during migration. The most numerous species are Fulica atra, Anas penelope, Anas strepera, Anas crecca, Anas plathyrhynchos, Anas acuta, Anas clypeata, Netta rufina, Aythya ferina and Aythya fuligula. Waders, gulls, terns and Passerines also occur in significant numbers. The islands also support significant populations of Cygnus olor and Egretta alba.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Tiulen’y Islands support good numbers of Caspian Seal. In winter the area is frequented by wolves and jackals which often stay all summer.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There is incidental disturbance from the activities of the service-related staff. More serious are the effects of climatic changes and the alteration of the water level regime within the Caspian.

Protected areas
The IBA is situated in the waters of the National Protected Zone (State Reservation) "Northern Part of Caspian Sea".

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tyulen’i (Seal) Islands. Downloaded from on 16/04/2021.