Country/territory: Turkmenistan

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

Area: 23,546 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2007 not assessed medium not assessed
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Site description (2007 baseline)
The IBA covers the Amudarya valley and adjoining sites to the west. The site extends from Lebap to Uchkersen. The eastern border follows the course of the Amudarya, and the western the left bank, including small tugai sites, flood areas and lakes. Administratively it is in Lebap region. The small tugai sites - Borli, Jigerbent, Karaygyr, Harrat, Birata, Gerelde and Dayahatyn - are located along the course of the Amudarya. Part of the former tugai forest is now occupied by agricultural fields and settlements. The regime of long spring-summer high water levels and steady autumn-winter low water is peculiar to the Amudarya river. In the valley there are meadows and floodlands on alluvial soils, and extensive saltmarshes (Lavrov, 1984). The average June temperature is +32C, that of January -2C, with the annual average temperature being 13.5C. The absolute maximum recorded is +47C, the absolute minimum -28C. The average annual rainfall is about 100 mm. Winds are predominately north and north-east (Orlovsky, 1984; Babayev, 1984). In harse winters, the Amudarya can become blocked with ice causing a rise in water levels. The dominant vegetative cover is psammophyte with ephemeral herbs. Bushes include Haloxylon, Calligonum, Ephemera and Salsola richteri, with Artemisia and Salsola thickets in places. The woody-shrubby tugai vegetation comprises Populus, Elaeagnus, Tamarix, Halimodendron and Halostachys. In unflooded tugai sites there is reed, licorice, shorthear and dogbane.

Key biodiversity
About 160 species have been recorded from the IBA (29% of the avifauna of Central Asia), but this number is not definitive. Passerines are the most numerous (more 60 species), followed by birds of prey (20), Anseriformes (16) and Charadrii (14). Waterbirds comprise 58 species. The site is part of the major migratory flyway of waterbirds and waterfowl along the Amudarya valley. Of the 41 species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999), 13 occur on the IBA. Confirmed or possible breeding species: Bubo bubo, Burhinus oedicnemus and Circaetus gallicus. Migrating and wintering species: Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Platalea leucorodia, Ciconia nigra, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Pandion haliaetus, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aquila heliaca, Aquila chrysaetos and Falco peregrinus. Passage Grus grus use the islands.

Non-bird biodiversity: Amphibians are represented by two species - green toad and lake frog; and reptiles by 19 species of which desert monitor lizard and lebetina viper are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. Typical species in the tugai are Eremias velox, Ablepharus deserti and water snakes. Mammals total 29 species, insectivores - 3, chiropterans - 4, lagomorphs - 1, rodents - 11, predators - 8 and ungulates - 2. Common insectivores are Hemiechinus auritus and Crocidura suaveolens living in tugai forests, and Diplomesodon pulchellum in sandy areas. Lepus tolai is widespread. Sand rats and house mice are the dominant rodents. Nutria has become naturalised. Predators include jackal, fox, badger, marbled polecat and Central Asian otter. Ungulates are wild boar and the Bukhara red deer (which is listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan). The flora is relatively poor, with only 86 species recorded of which 15 are the most usual. These include two species of poplar - Populus pruinosa and P. euphratica, Elaeagnus turcomanica, Salix songarica, Tamarix, Halimodendron halodendron, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Phragmites australis, Erianthus ravennae, Trachomitum scabrum and Aeluropus littoralis, plus several species of Poaceae and Asteraceae. In the protected areas, woody-shrubby and high-grass vegetation creates an almost impassable jungle in the tugai forests. Outside the protected tugai livestock grazing and other forms of economic use create a more open environment. Almost all of the tugai sites on the IBA are rather young, the old tugai having been partially felled and converted to agricultural fields or partially flooded by the waters of the Tuyamuyun reservoir.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Gorelde. Downloaded from on 25/02/2024.