Country/territory: Turkmenistan

IBA criteria met: A3 (2007)
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Area: 2,466 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2007 medium not assessed not assessed
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Site description (baseline)
The IBA is situated in the south-west of Turkmenistan 25 km south-west of Etrek and 40 km south-east of Esenguli, in the Esenguly district of Balkan region. The site includes flood-lands and the right bank of the Etrek river, stretching along the Turkmen-Iranian border between Chelayuk and Etrek. The IBA is 20 km from west to east. The flood-lands are not deep, with gently sloping riversides. The main type of vegetation is a rush–glasswort association with dwarf wormwood and tamarix bushes. The site is located in a dry subtropic zone and has hot dry summers and wet warm winters. The average temperature in January is +4.3oC. Esenguly district is a border zone and the Turkmen-Iranian border pass through the Etrek river bed.

Key biodiversity
There are more than 200 species of bird. Passeriformes include Galerida cristata, Calandrella rufescens, Hippolais rama, Passer domesticus and P. indicus, Emberiza bruniceps, Oenanthe picata and others. Among 31 species of Falconiformes, Falco tinnunculus, Circus aeruginosus breed, Athene noctua and Bubo bubo breed. Other breeding species include Porphyrio porphyrio, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Ardea cinerea, A. purpurea and Egretta alba, Caprimulgus aegyptius, Alectoris chukar, Phasianus colchicus, Coturnix coturnix and Francolinus francolinus. Francolinus francolinus is the most noteworthy as its distribution is the Etrek's lower course, an area of not more than 10,000 hectares. This consists of two sections, each with an area of 3,000 hectares, and the space between which is crossed by irrigation canals with thickets of sub-shrubbby and shrubby vegetation. The population numbered more than 200 in past (Rustamov, Vasilyev, 1976). An area of 600 hectares was ploughed in 1990-1991 and after that the number of birds fell to not more than 50 (Karavaev, 1995). Now the number of birds is not more than 10-20 individuals, and the species is on the verge of extinction in the IBA. In addition to Francolinus francolinus, other species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) are Porphyrio porphyrio and Bubo bubo (both resident) and Buteo buteo, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila heliaca, Falco cherrug, Falco peregrinus, Falco naumanni and Burhinus oedicnemus (all migrants).

Non-bird biodiversity: As the IBA is desert hygrophilous species are typical. There are 2 species of Amphibian and more than 20 species of Reptiles. Argironemus horsfieldi can sometimes can be found on the margins of the site. Of Mammals Sus scrofa, Canis lupus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes and Lepus tolai are typical. Varanus griseus and Naja oxiana (can be found occasionally in riverside areas), Mellivora capensis, Lutra lutra, Hyaena hyaena and Hystrix indica are included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. There are representatives of Gramineae and Carex in the floodland meadows. On the banks vegetation is rather dense, especially in spring. These is sea club-rush, rush, reed, cattail and tamarix. Lycium is numerous. The flood-land meadows usuall remain green all summer.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Garadegish. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.