Sulukol Lake

Year of compilation: 2007

Site description
The lake is situated 60 km to the south-west of the district centre, Ahuliyekol, of Kostanai Region, and 3 km to the west of Diyevka village. 2 km to the south there is a section of the Kostanai- Druzhba motorway. Sulukol lake lies in a natural depression within a moderately undulating plain. The lake is an almost regular circle in shape, with a maximum diameter of 3.5 km and a minimum of 2.8 km; the shoreline is even. The waters of the lake are subject to natural hydrological fluctuations related to climatic conditions. The lake has a small rivulet entering it in the south-east but this freezes in winter. The volume of this stream in summer and autumn is limited to 0.3 m3/sec. Only during spring floods are the waters of this rivulet fresh, in mid-summer their salinity increases at least threefold. Through most of the year, the waters of the lake are brackish to moderately saline. The average depth is 2.5-3 m. Just to the east of the lake lies a small salty lake prone to drying out in dry years. Along the western and northern shores there are stretches of reed. There is a medium-sized, 40-50 year old pine plantation running horizontal to the northern shore, approximately 1-1.5 km in width. Two operational fishermen's dwelling quarters are positioned on the western shore.

Key biodiversity
The lake is known as a regular resting site for the large numbers of waterbirds (at least 50 species) migrating through Northern Kazakhstan. In periods of highest passage the number of birds on the lake can reach 80,000 birds. Species protected at the national or/and global level are Anser erythropus (more than 1% of the world population), Branta ruficollis, Oxyura leucocephala (also A4i) and Cygnus columbianus (1% of the Caspian Sea population). Anser anser and A. albifrons are common and numerous. On a regular basis the site is visited by approximately half of the known Kazakhstan population of Mergus serrator.

Non-bird biodiversity: The shores of the lake are inhabited by a few burrow-dwelling mammals: Meles meles, Vulpes vulpes, Vulpes corsac. There is also an isolated colony of Marmota bobak. The major components of water fringe vegetation are Phragmites and Scirpus sp. A few strips of land on the banks of the rivulet are covered by sparse thickets of Salix and Tamarix. A little way inland from the northern shore there is a small plantation of pines.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The hazards are linked to the natural cycles of the hydrological regime; fishing (when water levels are high); illegal hunting; and disturbances linked to intensive cattle grazing.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
During the last decade, the site has been repeatedly visited, especially during autumn migration, by an international scientific team conducting a series of observations within the Finn-Kazakhstan Project “Monitoring of autumn migration of Anser erythropus in Kostanai Regon, North-Western Kazakhstan”.

Habitat and land use
The shores of the lake, along with contiguous plots of dry land, are used for moderate intensity grazing. A fraction of the western coast (2-3 km from the shore) is occupied by a sepulcher.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sulukol Lake. Downloaded from on 20/09/2021.