Lake Van

Site description (2000 baseline):

Site location and context
A soda lake of tectonic origin and the largest lake (371,700 ha, max. depth 451 m) in Turkey. It is fed by several streams and remains ice-free. Annual inflow is higher than evaporation, and the lake level is continuously rising as a result. The four islands are popular tourist destinations. Extensive meadows and arable land cover the flat ground between the lake and the surrounding mountains. Human activities include intensive grazing. This area includes six sites that were treated as separate IBAs in the previous international IBA inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989): `Ahtamar Adasý' (former site TR065), `Bendimahi Deltasý' (former site TR067), `çelebidað Sazlýðý' (former site TR069), `Edremit Sazlýðý' (former site TR070), `Horkum Gölü' (former site TR072) and `Van Sazlýðý' (former site TR077).

Key biodiversity
The site is important for breeding waterbirds and for Otis tarda breeding on the peninsula east of Sodalýgöl (site 094), where up to 32 birds have been seen during the breeding season.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Visitors to the islands cause disturbance to breeding birds, including the taking of gull (Laridae) eggs. Further tourist developments are planned. Untreated urban waste and agricultural run-off enters the lake.

Protected areas
National Partial International NoneThe islands are designated as a SÝT.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Lake Van. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.