Garabogaz - Garshy

Country/territory: Turkmenistan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2005)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,461 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2005 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA is located on the coast of the Caspian Sea between the Garshy (80 km to the north of Turkmenbashy) and the border with Kazakhstan. The site covers a narrow strip of coast (no more than 2-3 km wide) and includes the following areas: from Cape Sue to Garbogazgol (650 hectares); from Garabogazgol to Cape Duldulata (330 hectares); from Cape Duldulata to the Garabogazgol passage (660 hectares); from the Garabogazgol passage to Aim (397 hectares); and from Aim to Garshy (415 hectares). The site, especially the last mentioned, abounds with small coves and bays alternating with underwater and surface stony ridges. In general the coast is low lying and sandy, 50 to 100 m wide with scattered areas of pebbles and bordered by a strip of hilly ridges with fixed sand, in some places forming large barkhan ranges, in the hollows of which there are occasional small patches of saltmarsh (solonchaks).

Key biodiversity
The avifauna includes not less than 280 species, of which 240 (86%) are passage-wintering birds, including 120 (43%) species of waterbirds. These represent 46 and 23% from the total avifauna of Central Asia respectively. Passeriformes are the most common (96 species), followed by Haematopodidae (45), Anseriformes (28), Falconiformes (27) and Laridae (16). The most typical, only on migration, are coots and ducks (Netta rufina, Aythya ferina, Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya fuligula, Aythya marila, Anas penelope, etc.), plus waders, gulls and terns. The IBA is located on a major migratory flyway along the east coast of the Caspian. In spring there is a high turnover rate of waterbirds, with migration from the middle of March to the end of April. In autumn the migration shows several peaks and is prolonged lasting from the end of August to the beginning and middle of November. The following species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) have been recorded: Platalea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus roseus, Anthropoides virgo, Buteo buteo, Pandion haliaetus, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Falco peregrinus, Circaetus gallicus, Burhinus oedicnemus, and also the non-migratory Aquila chrysaetos, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo. The globally threatened Vanellus gregarius and Aquila heliaca have also been recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna includes 40 species of mammal, half of which are rodents (21 species), the others are predators (8), chiropterans (5), insectivores (4) and ungulates (2). Reptiles are represented by 30 species, the most significant are snakes Natrix natrix and Natrix tessellata and the Central Asian agama (Agama sanguinolenta). The flora includes more than 370 species of higher plants. The vegetation of the coast is represented by halophytic and salsolas communities. Some sandy areas have fixed vegetation, but this is rare with ephedra, a few species of Calligonum, Salsola richteri, and saxaul (Haloxylon persicum). Carex physodes together with sparse ephemerals also occurs rarely.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Garabogaz - Garshy. Downloaded from on 30/01/2023.