Dengizkul Lake This is an IBA in Danger! 

Country/territory: Uzbekistan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2006)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 49,658 ha

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2019 not assessed very high medium
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2006 baseline)
Dengizkul lake is situated 75 km south-south west from Buhara town near the border with Turkmenistan. It is surrounded by mainly sandy desert with large sand dunes and bushes of saxaul and acacia – the northern part of the Sundukli sands. Hilly sands are most typical for the boundary region with Turkmenistan. The lake is situated in a natural low-lying landscape. The water is strongly salty and supplied by a collector-drainage channel. In former times it was the final reservoir of the Zarafshan river. The IBA consists of the open water area and coastal strip 500 metres wide.

Key biodiversity
The list of birds of Dengizkul Lake was compiled from personal records and the literature and includes 133 species. 53 species breed, 9 are resident, 14 wintering and 57 migrants Lanovenko, 2001). In August 2001 a brief survey of the coastal northern and northeastern part of the lake was carried out (Lanovenko, 2001) and this provided the information on the biome-restricted species used for this account. Winter counts in 2000 and 2003-2005 recorded 44 species, with the number of wintering birds ranging from 19,277 to 286,634 birds. The dominant species also changed between counts. These figures are comparable to those of winter aerial counts 1987, 1986 and 1990-91 when numbers ranged from 21,297 to 504,000 birds (Shernazarov, Nazarov, 1991; Asian Waterfowl Census 1990, Asian Waterfowl Census 1991). Nevertheless the total number of birds always exceeded 20,000. Important wintering species are Pelecanus crispus, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Aythya nyroca and Oxyura leucocephala.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include badger and jackal and there are colonies of gerbils and jerboas. Reptiles include Teratoscincus scincus, Varanus griseus (IUCN Red List species) and Phrynocephalus interscapularis. Amphibians include Bufo viridis. There are many different spiders here including karakurt and phalanx. Fish include Stizostedion lucioperca and Cyprinus carpio. There are numerous small sandhoppers which provide plentiful food for fish and birds. Vegetative associations consist of coastal thickets of reed and reed mace. On the shore there are several associations of desert vegetation and a poorly developed tugai association.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Dengizkul Lake. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.