The IBA is in the south of Turkmenistan between the Tedjen and Gushgy rivers, in Akhal and Mary regions. The borders of the IBA are: in the west the Turkmen-Iranian border, in the east the Gyzyljar pass, in the north the border of Badhyz state reserve, and in the south the road between Akrabat and Chaynuri wells. The site extends 73 km from west to east, and 37 km from south to north.
The landscape consists of solitary or groups of foothills, ranging in height from 20 to 200 m. In the north the hills adjoin the higher Duzenkyr and Ellibir mountains, in the west the average height is 80 m. The southern part of the IBA is the closed Yeroylanduz depression, running 20 km from east to west, 10 km wide and 500 m deep, and containing a salt lake. There are three additional depressions – Kagazly, Tekeduz and Nemeksar. On the eastern border is the 18 km long very deep and wide ravine – Gyzyljar. The ravine has abrupt and steep walls with ledges and large patches of rubble-sand.
Soils are sandy-loams (sierozem) with light, typical and dark subtypes, all conforming to various forms of relief. The Tedjen and Gushgy rivers, and also the Egrigek, lie outside the IBA. There are only two freshwater springs - Akarcheshme and Nerdevanly - and scattered wells. The area has a dry arid climate but, in comparison with typical desert, it is humid. The average annual precipitation is about 280 mm, with a maximum of 420 mm and a minimum of 130 mm. The average annual temperature is 16.3°C - July average 28.9°C, January average 2.6°C. Winds are frequent and often strong, mainly from the north and north-east. Winters are very short and mild, with occasional snow lasting from several days to 1-2 weeks, but snowless winters are common. In some years the snow cover reaches 20 cm. The short spring is replaced by a long hot summer with 4-5 months (April/May to August/September) of hot weather and little cooling winds.
Many years of research has shown that the avifauna totals 255 species, 47 non-migratory, 68 passage and nesting, 92 passage, 43 wintering and 5 vagrant (Suhinin, 1979). The equivalent figures from IBA data are non-migratory – 45, nesting - 110, passage - 121 and wintering - 32.
Galliformes - 3 species, the non-migratory Alectoris chukar and Ammoperdix griseogularis occurring in moderate numbers, and the relatively regular breeding migrant Coturnix coturnix.
Columbiformes - Columba livia is common and nests in the walls of wells, usually 2-3 pairs per well. In anthropogenic habitats Streptopelia senegalensis and Streptopelia decaocto are observed occasionally.
The dense and tall vegetation at Badhyz explains the absence of breeding Pterocles orientalis and Pterocles alchata. However, Cursorius cursor, Burhinus oedicnemus and Vanellus indicus all breed. Cursorius cursor arrives in the middle of April and departs in September - October and is usually double-brooded. Burhinus oedicnemus is more numerous. In Central Asia Vanellus indicus only occurs in the south of Turkmenistan, including Badhyz. There are no others breeding waders though Tringa glareola, Tringa ochropus, Charadrius alexandrinus and others Charadrii occur on passage. Chlamydotis undulata is a rare breeding and wintering species.
Falconiformes - 32 species, Strigiformes 7 species - of which 22 nest (Suhinin, 1971). This high number of birds of prey is explained by the abundance of rodents. Falco cherrug and Falco pelegrinoides are rare. Falco cherrug breeds in Gyzyljar and Yeroylanduz and on the Gezgedyk ridge. Falco tinnunculus, Falco naumanni, Gyps fulvus, Aegypius monachus, Gypaetus barbatus, Aquila chrysaetos and Circaetus gallicus also breed. Some species of eagles, harriers and hawks winter. In "mouse" years many different species of owls are present. Bubo bubo is a regular nester, and Asio otus and Asio flammeus occur in winter. Passeriformes: starlings, finches, sparrows, buntings, larks, wagtails, pipits, nuthatch, tit, shrikes, flycatchers, warblers, wheatears, swallows. Galerida cristata, Melanocorypha calandra and Oenanthe isabellina are numerous. The pistachio forest supports breeding magpies, warblers and Lanius excubitor, Lanius minor, Lanius phoenicuroides and Lanius vittatus (Lanius vittatus nests only here and in the Garachop IBA). Sitta tephronota occasionally breeds. Emberiza bruniceps arrives in the middle of April and occurs on passage in small flocks or alone.
Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) species recorded at the site include: Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Vanellus indicus, Ciconia nigra, Buteo buteo, Circaetus gallicus, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos, Gypaetus barbatus, Aegypius monachus, Falco cherrug, Falco pelegrinoides, Falco naumanni, Grus virgo, Chlamydotis undulata, Tetrax tetrax, Burhinus oedicnemus and Bubo bubo.
Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA’s fauna is rich and various, including many endemic species. There are species of Iranian-Afghan and Indian origin, and also species typical of the mountains and deserts of the Central Asia.
1,323 species of invertebrates have been recorded including many endemics. Among them are 1,167 species of insects (Atamuradov, 1981). Vertebrates - 358 species. Spiders – 93 species (Michailov, Fet, 1994). Acaridans - 44 species, phalanxes – 3, scorpions – 7, including, motley and black scorpions. Tenebrionidae - 108 species, Carabidae – 113 species, Curculionidae – 94, Chrysomelidae – 54, Buprestidae – 31 species. Lepidoptera, in particular, Noctuidae – 113 , butterflies – 46, moths – 42. Acrididae - more than 35 species. Red Data Book (1999) invertebrates are: Bolivaria brachyptera, Magrettia mutica, Uvarovium desertorum, Carabus miles, Lacon kryzhanovskyi, Zophohelops badghysi, Capnodis jacobsoni, Tetramorium nitidissimum, Axiopoena maura, Madais fausta and Anapheis mesentina.
Amphibians – Bufo viridis laurenti, breeds near springs and pools, otherwise occurs far from water. Reptiles more than 40 species: one turtle (Agrionemys horsfieldi), 18 species of snakes including Naja oxiana, Vipera lebetina and Echis carinatus, and non-poisonous Coluber rhodorachis and Coluber nummifer (common) and Spalerosophis diadema and Coluber karelini (rare). The smallest snake is Typhlops vermicuaris Merrem. Psammophis lineolatum lives in the desert-steppe biotope. Lizards include geckoes, racerunners, agamas, skink, and Pseudopus apodus, Mabuya aurata and desert monitor - Varanus griseus. 8 species of reptiles are included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Bunopus tuberculatus, Cyrtopodion longipes, Chalcides ocellatus, Ophiomorous chernovi, Varanus griseus, Naja oxiana (cobra) and Vipera lebetina.
Mammal – 46 species. There are historical records of Panthera tigris, Acinonyx jubatus (cheetah), Cervus elaphus (tugai deer), Capra aegagrus and Siberian Ibex (Sokolov, 1990). Of the remaining species 4 are ungulates including Gazella subgutturosa, Ovis vignei and Sus scrofa; 11 are predators - wolf, jackal, fox, corsac fox, weasel, marbled polecat, ratel, steppe cat, caracal and leopard. 16 species of rodents occur: jird, souslik, voles, mice. Rhombomys opimus and Blanfordimys afghanus are common, often very numerous, while Spermophilopsis leptodactylus is solitary. Large rodents are porcupine and Lepus capensis tolai, both in small numbers. Insectivores are Hemiechinus auritus and Hemiechinus hypomelas, some shrews and three species of bat.
Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) species: Myotis emarginatus, Tadarida teniotis, Mellivora capensis, Hyaena hyaena, Felis caracal, Panthera pardus , Ovis vignei, Hystrix indica, Calomyscus mystax, Meriones zarudnyi.
The flora consists of Iranian-Afghan and Central Asian species - about 900 vascular plants. The basic assemblages are: Carex-Poa-herbs, Artemisia shrub, saltwort, pistachio, saxaul. The pistachio forest is of special interest, with the Pulihatum pistachio grove – a state zakaznik - covering 15,000 ha and protected. Rare and endangered species of plants listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Trichostomopsis aaronis, Atraphaxis badghysi, Ficus afghanistanica, Astragalus vassilczenkoi, Astragalus kuschkensis, Malacocarpus crithmifolius, Pistacia badghysi, Phagnalon androssovii, Tulipa kuschkensis, Tulipa lehmanniana and others.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The establishment of the Badhyz reserve in the south of Turkmenistan was first proposed by M.P.Rozanov (1937); this was supported, particularly, by M.K.Laptev and G.I.Ishunin, with eventual designation in December 1941. In the middle of the last century Badhyz was studied by such well-known scientists as the botanists I.A.Linchevsky and V.I.Lipskyy; zoologists V.G.Geptner, M.K.Laptev, G.P.Dementyev, K.A.Vorobyov and A.G.Bannikov. Forester V. I. Kravchenkos, on his initiative, organised zakazniks as watering places for culan-onager (Equus hemionus) and gazelles. Other researchers include A.I.Suhinin, E.I.Sherbina, Yu.K.Gorelov, T.G.Gorelova, H.I.Atamuradov and many others, who have provided a considerable contribution to studying the wildlife of the Badhyz reserve. Under a WWF Programme there are counts of hoofed animals and leopard.
Badhyz state reserve.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Badhyz. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/01/2021.