Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 404,000 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 not assessed very unfavourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The site is identical to the Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone of republican importance. It includes the eastern border of the Kyzylkum desert with sand dunes, as well as clay (partly with salty soils) plains on the left and right banks of the Syrdarya river, with desert vegetation and relatively small plots of riparian forests. The site consists of two parts - Karaktau (309,167 hectares, left bank) and Arys (94,833 hectares, right bank). The Karaktau part is more important in the breeding season. The most important bird species is Houbara Bustard.

Key biodiversity
The avifauna is typical for Middle Asia deserts and includes more then 200 species (about 100 breeding). The typical species for sand dunes with saxaul and other bushes are: Emberiza bruniceps, Sylvia curruca, Hippolais rama, Hippolais languida, Scotocerca inquieta, Sylvia nana, Lanius excubitor pallidirostris, Lanius phoenicuroides, Corvus ruficollis, Cercotrichas galactotes, Streptopelia turtur, Buteo rufinus etc.; typical of the plains are: Calandrella pispoletta, Melanocorypha bimaculata, Chlamydotis undulata, Pterocles orientalis, Burhinus oedicnemus, Merops persicus, Coracias garrulus, Charadrius leshenaultii, Charadrius asiaticus. The species included in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan are: Aquila heliaca, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetus, Aquila nipalensis (non-breeding), Grus virgo, and a number of migrating species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Typical mammals: Rhombomis opimus, a number of jerboas and other rodents, Lepus tolai, Vulpes vulpes, Vulpes corsac, Canis lupus, Meles meles, Gazella subgutturosa (this is rare because of poaching). Reptiles: Agrionemys horsfieldi, several species of Eremias, Trapelus sanguinolentus, snakes - Psammophis lineolatum, Agkistrodon halis, Elaphe dione, Coluber ravergiery, Eryx miliaris, Varanus griseus. Amphibia: Bufo bufo, Rana ridibunda. Vegetation. On the sand dunes: saxaul (Haloxylon persicum) with other bushes - Salsola richteri, Ephedra strobilacea, Calligonum aphyllum, C. leucocladum, Acanthophyllum elatius, Ammodendron conollyi. Along the foothills of small low mountain groups: Salsola arbuscula, Arthemisia sp., Astragalus squarrosus, Salsola rigida, Ammothamnus lehmannii, Ferula assa-foetida etc. On the clay plains: arthemisia-ephemeretum formations. Towards the Syrdarya river valley: plots of salty desrt with Halocnemum strobilaceum, Limonium, Halostachys, Tamarix karelinii, Halimocnemis, Suaeda, Petrosimonia, Anabasis salsa, Halocnemum, Alhagi kirghisorum, Karelinia caspica. Along the Syrdarya river there are areas of riparian forest ("tugai") with turanga (Populus diversifolia), Elaeagnus angustifolia, E. orientalis, Salix wilhelmsiana, S. songarica, Tamarix hispida, T. ramosissima, Halimodendron halodendron, with lianes - Clematis orientalis, Cinanchum sibiricum, Calystegia sepium.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone. Downloaded from on 30/01/2023.