Country/territory: Turkmenistan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 147,962 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2018 unfavourable not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2007 baseline)
The IBA is situated in the northern foothills of the Western Kopetdag and covers a wide strip of land running along the Garagumdarya from east to west (135 km) between Bami and Bereket. Administratively the site is in Balkan region. The IBA is a clay piedmont plain covering the agricultural zone of the Garagumderya with fields of grain (wheat, barley), fodder crops (lucerne), cotton, roadside strips and fallow. The major waterway is the Garagumderya. There are many small irrigation and drainage channels. In the northern part there are two lakes – Chokrak and Donuzajy - within 0.5 km of one another. The climate is dry and temperate-continental, with low precipitation (170-200 mm/year), and predominantly dry north-east and east winds. Soils are light loess-like sierozems, in some areas salty takyrs and takyr soils, and on the periphery saltmarsh (solonchaks).

Key biodiversity
The avifauna includes 17 non-migratory, 50 nesting, 34 wintering and 159 passage species. The main feature of the IBA is that it constitutes a migration 'bottleneck' for sandgrouse moving from Central Asia to the Middle East. Sandgrouse come to the IBA from the north (from Western Kazakhstan and Northwest Turkmenistan) and from the east (flying along the foothills of the Northern Kopetdag from Uzbekistan), and then migrate south, rounding the foothills of the Western Kopetdag. The IBA is situated at the point where sandgrouse turn from the east to the south. More than 100,000 sandgrouse (mostly Pterocles alchata, with smaller numbers of Pterocles orientalis, and in some years Syrrhaptes paradoxus) occur. Birds feed in the wheat and barley fields during the autumn migration from October-November, sometimes to the middle of December. Birds feed a great deal and for long periods (crop samples contained 600-700 grains) and are not afraid of people, sometimes even feeding in vehicles loaded with grain. More than 20,000 waterfowl can occur in autumn and winter on Chokrak and Donuzajy lakes and irrigated fields. Criterion А1 – Falco cherrug. Criterion A4i – more than 20,000 waterfowl during the autumn-winter season on lakes Chokrak and Donuzajy.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna is impoverished, even more since the expansion of agricultural development. Amphibians - 2 species (green toad and lake frog) and Reptiles - 20 species of whichthe following are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Eryx miliaris, Naja oxiana, Vipera lebedina and previously present, desert monitor. Mammals - 7 species of predator, 8 species of rodent and 2 species of bat. Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Hyaena hyaena and Hystrix indica. Before anthropogenic development of the site, ephemeras-sagebrush semi-desert was the dominant vegetation. Now it is agricultural crops (grain, etc.) and, on fallow land, salsolas, scrubby tamarix and reeds.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Chokrak-Tutly. Downloaded from on 02/12/2023.