Ashchykol and Barakkol Lakes

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 25,930 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2005 near favourable medium not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2007 baseline)
The area includes Aschikol and Barakol lakes as well as the low Tuzdyk mountain massif in between, situated at the north-western margin of the Kazakh Hilly Land, 25 km to the north-east of Egindy in Ulytau district. Aschikol is a closed, shallow brackish lake (with a maximum depth of just 2 metres even at times of deepest flooding) with a dynamic shoreline. The waterbody is situated in a distinct shallow depression (5 m) and consists of small marshy islets, spits and stretches of open water. Reed growth creates a mosaic of numerous bays and some larger areas of open water. In some areas there are patches of saltmarsh and waterlogged ground. The size of the lake is 6.3 x 3 km. Barakol lake is 14 km NW, 3.5 x 4 km in size and freshwater. It is mainly open water, with reeds along the shoreline. The soils are clay, rubble-loamy and aeolian. The landscape consists of a valley studded with a number of low hills with outcrops of weathered rock and maximum heights of 50-60 m – for example Zheldyadyr, Koyandy and Tuzdyk. The last one is included in the IBA. The predominant types of floral commmunities of the inland parts of the IBA are that of steppe and semi desert, while the shoreline vegetation is of meadow-related types. The most numerous species are Stipa, Festuca and Artemisa. In some places, there is a modest growth of Lasiagrostis splendens and Caragana sp., reaching a height of 1 m, and, in the depressions and on the hillsides, there is Spirea sp., Rosa sp. etc. Not far from the area, there are more lakes of smaller or similar size: Burshyktykol (3.5 km) and Kishkenekol (7.5km), but they are used by much less by birds.

Key biodiversity
In the breeding season the IBA supports an avifauna typical of dry steppes, steppe low mountains and waterbodies, but without important species. The lakes are situated at the south-western end of the Tengiz-Korgalzyhn Trough extending towards the area of Turgai Lakes and further to the maritime zone of the Northern Aral. Therefore they lie on one of the major migratory routes and are important sites for waterbird staging during migration.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ashchykol and Barakkol Lakes. Downloaded from on 24/02/2024.