Caspian Sea shore between Volga and Ural River Deltas


Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2013)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 175,000 ha

Protection status:

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)
2017 not assessed very unfavourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here


Site description
The northern coast of the Caspian Sea – very unique habitat, it so small, what even when walking deep into the seas on 2-5 km level of sea water won't be above a knee. The salt content of the sea in this northern part of the sea is rather low thanks to the freshwater influx from the Volga and to a lesser extend the Ural River. Owing to fluctuations of level of sea water from time to time extensive areas of the coast or are bared, or completely become covered by sea water. Sea level changes of the Caspian Sea have had a profound impact on the current shape of the site and the distribution of habitats. (During the period since 1930-1978 the sea level fell, and then since 1978 - increased more than by 2 m. Owing to what, the coastline appeared on 5-10 km farther far inland, than it was in 1978, and now the most part of area any more doesn't admit on cards (as that were used). The wide belt of reeds still notes the old coastline, but now maintains about 5 km from the coast in the sea middle The shoreline has now been protected through an about 80 km long dam running from the village of Zhanbay east up to Atyrau. This dam provides at places good observation points, although it is difficult to count all birds present due to the large distances involved and the huge extension of the site. The seaward side of the dam is dominated by large expanses of salicornia salt-meadows. In the SW of the site near the village of Zaburunye is slightly steeper, so that direct access to the open sea is possible here (and only here!). One of the best and most accessible observation points is the Maspinsky peninsula SW of the village of Zhanbay.

Key biodiversity
A 5 km wide belt (between the reed and the dam) of open sand- and mudflats has developed providing ideal feeding and resting places for very large numbers of waterbirds and waders. The SW-NE directed shoreline in the SW of the site near the village of Zaburunye is slightly steeper, so that direct access to the open sea is possible here (and only here!). The shoreline here seems to be followed by many migrating birds like ducks and terns, but also curlew species and visible migration can well be observed here. At the area concern, several species of rare or threatened with the extinction birds may be fond.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Caspian Sea shore between Volga and Ural River Deltas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2019.