Akpetky lakes and surrounding Aralkum Desert

Country/territory: Uzbekistan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2011)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 39,146 ha

Protection status:

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2010 medium not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Akpetky lake system is located 70 km to the north of Karauzyak village between the northwestern Kyzylkum and Aralkum in the area of the former Akpetky archipelago. Aralkum is a sand desert that has formed on the former Aral seabed. A number of salt oxbow lakes are located along the Kokdarya riverbed. Some of these are fairly deep (5-7 meters). The largest among them are Ashykul, Akshoky, Orda and Soraly. The lake system is fed by the KS-4 collector and the Kokdarya River. The water bodies have great fishery potential and are leased.

Key biodiversity
The avifauna of the Akpetky lake system is quite varied. The site is proposed as an IBA based on the analysis of data collected during expeditions on 16-28 October 2010 and 9-17 June 2008, and data obtained by Matekova G.A. in 2007 and 2008. 156 species of bird have been recorded, of which 19 species are rare, with 17 species included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan (2006) and 8 in the IUCN Red List: Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, Egretta garzetta, Plegadis falcinellus, Phoenicopterus roseus, Cygnus olor, Anser erythropus, Aythya nyroca, Oxyura leucocephala, Haliaeetus albicilla, Aquila heliaca, Aquila nipalensis, Aquila chrysaetos, Circaetus gallicus, Tetrax tetrax, Numenius arquata, Pterocles alchata, Coracias garrulus. Habitats (sandy desert and waterbodies)are in good condition as can be seen from the abundance of biome species. Of all of the desert and semi-desert biome IBAs, this site has the highest variety of biome species. Eleven biome species have been recorded and two others– Pallas’s Sandgrouse and Houbara Bustard – may breed but data is insufficient to confirm this.

Non-bird biodiversity: The vegetation of the desert around the Akpetky lake system is sparse. Around the water bodies saltworts, camel's-thorn and tamarisk bushes can be found. Reedbeds between 3-7 metres deep surround the lakes within which there are patches of reed mace. There are numerous rush islets on the open parts of the lakes and islands in the shallows. In addition to birds, the following vertebrates are common: • 8 fish species: Channa argus, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Abramis brama, Silurus glanis, Carassius carassius, Cyprinus carpio. • Amphibians: Rana ridibunda. • Reptiles: Trapelus sanguinolentus, Phrinocephalus interscapularis, Eremias velox, Natrix tesselata. • 15 mammals: Lepus tolai, Mus musculus, Alactagulus acontion, Dipus sagitta, Allactaga elater, Meriones tamariscinus, Meriones meridianus, Meriones libycus, Ellobius tancrei, Canis lupus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Felis chaus, Meles meles, Sus scrofa. In recent years Gazella subgutturosa has been regularly recorded. According to rangers the population is estimated to be approximately 50-60 individuals.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Akpetky lakes and surrounding Aralkum Desert. Downloaded from on 29/11/2020.