Uil River and Taysoygan Sands

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The IBA consists of the lower reaches of the Uyl river and adjoining Taisoigan Sands on the left bank, between the villages of Akkura and Balabeiyt, and covers a length of 20 km with a width of the sands and floodplain of about 5-6 km. Here the Uyl river occurs as separate reaches or deeps (30-40 m in diameter) with narrow streams between them and reedbeds on the banks. There are no high cliffs and only single bushes or trees of Russian olive (Elaeagnus sp.). Along the river, high-grass vegetation of Sophora, licorice and gramineous plants predominates with, in some places, Tamarix thickets. The dominant floodplain vegetation is fescue, wormwood and Limonium. It is more similar aa dried floodplain meadow than to steppe. The Taisoigan Sands consist of undulating dunes almost completely and evenly covered with tall grass (including dark wormwood, Sophora and alhagi) and low bushes, mainly Calligonum. There are scattered groups of bushes and even trees (mainly poplars).

Key biodiversity
In June 2006, 59 species were recorded in 3 days, though 70-80 species ae thought to breed. The breeding avifauna is characterized by desert species (Pterocles orientalis, Calandrella larks, Oenanthe isabellina, Lanius excubitor pallidirostris, L. phoenicuroides, Sylvia curruca), floodplain bush species (Emberiza bruniceps, Lanius minor), steppe species (Melanocorhypha yeltoniensis, M. calandra, Alauda arvensis) and waterbirds (Vanellus vanellus, Tringa ochropus, Numenius arquata, Sterna hirundo, Chlidonias leucopterus, Anas strepera, A. querquedula etc.). A number of species here are at the north-western border of their distribution in Kazakhstan and others on the south-eastern. Generally, the avifauna of the area is insufficiently studied.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include susliks and gerbils which are common and the major prey of Imperial Eagles. In the sands, lizards are common, and near the river Natrix natrix and N. tesselata occur.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Illegal hunting.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity

Protected areas

Habitat and land use
Mainly cattle grazing. Cutting of trees for fire-wood in the Taisoigan Sands. The Uyl river between Miyaly and Akkura is regulated by an earth dam now overgrown with tall willows and there are several irrigation channels, and a large high-grass water-meadow. The Taisoigan Sands have a mainly natural look.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Uil River and Taysoygan Sands. Downloaded from on 24/08/2019.