Amudarya floodlands near Termez

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The IBA is situated 23 km to the NW of Termez town, in the first floodplain terrace of the Amudarya river between Kaptarhona and Sholiker villages (on the border with Afghanistan). It is 1.5-6 km wide and about 30 km long. The Amudarya river is on the south and south-west boundary, loess precipices which border the first and second floodplain terraces, waterlogged areas and reedbeds are the natural borders of the site. There are also rice and winter wheat fields, sandbanks, rivers, stream, marshes, canals and roads.

Key biodiversity
Investigations on the adjoining areas were carried out at the beginning of the 20th century (Zarudny, Bilkevich, 1918), and in 1960s-70s (Salihbaev, Ostapenko, 1964; Stepanyan, 1972, Ostapenko and others, 1978). As a result the bird list of this region is about 230 species. Winter IBA surveys in 2003-2005 recorded 59 species, including the globally threatened Pelecanus crispus, Anser erythropus, Aythya nyroca, Aquila clanga, Aquila heliaca and Tetrax tetrax. Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, Ciconia nigra, Ciconia ciconia, Haliaeetus albicilla, Aquila chrysaetos and Aquila nipalensis are included in the National Red Data Book. This site is internationally important for wintering and migratory waterbirds. 55,868 birds of 30 species wintering here in 2003. The dominant species were: Anser anser (31,010 individuals), Anas platyrhynchos (5,728) and Grus grus (11,652). There were 68,881 birds of 38 species in 2004. The dominant species were: Anser anser (17,512 individuals), Anas platyrhynchos (14,057), Grus grus (22,169) and Vanellus vanellus (2,193). 39,811 birds of 40 species were recorded in 2005. Dominant species were: Anser anser (5,942 individuals), Anas platyrhynchos (9,360) and Grus grus (10,745). Local rangers reported flocks of several tens of Marmaronetta angustirostris regularly in September.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals recorded in the area include jackal (Canis aureus), wild cats (Felis chaus and Felis manul), wild boar and the globally endangered Bukhara Deer. There are House Mice and Green Toads in the fields. Dice snake can be seen in the canals. There are catfish, Crucian carp, Common carp and the introducted Snakehead. There are also 2 rare species of Shovelnose sturgeon. There are reeds and tamarisk bushes on the banks. Wild poplar and clematis are reminders of former tugai forests. There are bushes of Iriantus along the canals and Karelinia in wet places. The majority of the site is covered with cultivated rice and winter wheat fields. Uncultivated fields are overgrown with reed and wormwood.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat is the reduction of the area of cultivated land which may lead to the reduction of suitable habitats for feeding and roosting. Another danger for early nesting species is spring reed burning. Sometimes poachers visit the area.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Some expeditions were organized with the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fishing through its embassy in Moscow in 2001-2003. Their purpose was to search for the wintering areas of Anser erythropus. International winter counts of waterbirds were carried out in 2003-2004 within the framework of the WWF- Russia and Wetlands International project "Working out the strategy of protection of wintering waterbirds and wetlands on the Central-Asian flyway". Research into the ecological conditions of the site and the dynamics of bird numbers and distributions in winter was carried out in 2004-2005 as part of the project "Ecological survey and monitoring of the Common Crane in wintering grounds in Southern Uzbekistan" supported by ICF.

Habitat and land use
Habitats are represented by the river bed with sandbanks and littoral reedbeds. There are many canals overgrown with reed and waterlogged areas with small areas of surface water encircled with dense reeds. There are small saline lands. Main communication routes within the IBA are a network of canals and earth roads. Agricultural fields occupy the rest of the area. Rice and winter wheat are grown on the fields. Water from the Amudarya enters the canals via a large pumping station. This site is a national border area and protected by the military. Access to the IBA is limited for everyone. This provides good protection for both habitats and birds.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amudarya floodlands near Termez. Downloaded from on 21/03/2023.