The Arkaly range is situated in the frontier zone of south-eastern Kazakhstan, close to the Chinese border. The mountains constitute the southern branch, or rather a cut-off, of major Tarbagatai mountain range. The southern extremity of this small mountain chain lies on the eastern edge of the extensive Barmankum sands stretching further south-west to the eastern shore of Lake Alakol.
The mountains are generally low, oriented south-west/north-east and approximately 26.6 x 8.4 km in size. The range lacks woody growth other than a negligible amount of sacttered willows growing by the side of infrequent and widely dispersed springs. The southern slope is cut by multiple gorges. The summit of the range has occasional outcroppings of rock ledges.
During a three year period of intra-seasonal ornithological study, 100 species were recorded. Passerines are typical with wheatears and buntings being the most numerous. The commonest breeding birds of prey are Saker, Steppe Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard.
Non-bird biodiversity: The harsh semi-desert landscape is relieved in a few places by scattered willow trees. Patches of Spirea bushes cover the floor of the gorges, as well depressions on the slopes.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Fires and illegal trapping have a negative effect on the local population of Saker. The falcons are being trapped either for sale as hunting birds in the Arab states or for catering to the Chinese market in exotic foods.
In respect to the welfare of murine rodent populations – directly connected to the problem of their accessibility as a food resource - the occurring in recent decade large-scale under-grazing could be defined as a negative circumstance leading to deterioration of major rodents’ stock which fenomenon, in its turn, may redound on the numbers of inhabiting the place birds of prey.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Arkaly Mountains. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 12/04/2021.