Ili River Delta

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 574,300 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2014 very unfavourable high negligible
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Site description (2006 baseline)
The Ily River enters Lake Balkash creating a delta approximately 817,000 hectares in extent (Zhatkanbayev 1991, 1994a). This area consists of an extensive network of river channels, bordered by dense riparian scrub,lakes of standing and running water, reedbeds and desert areas. The wetland area of ca 168,000 hectares is the largest in Kazakhstan (Zhatkanbayev 1991, 1994a).

Key biodiversity
This almost completely natural area holds colonies of breeding Dalmatian and White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia) Common, Little, Black and White-winged Black Terns (Sterna hirundo, Sterna albifrons, Chlidonias niger and C. leucopterus), Bitterns (Botaurus stellaris), White-headed Ducks and White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). The area supports a complex of waterbird species typical of the wetlands of Central Asia. 82 species of non-passerines and 58 species of passerines were recorded by the "Wings over Kazakhstan 1998" expedition during the breeding season of 1998 (Simon Busuttil et al.).

Non-bird biodiversity: Typical vegetation: extensive beds of Phragmites, riparian woodlands of Populus diversifolia, Elaeagnus angustifolia, E. orientalis, Salix wilhelmsiana, S. songarica etc., Tamarix hispida, T. ramosissima, Halimodendron halodendron, with lianas - Clematis orientalis, Cinanchum sibiricum, Calystegia sepium. Typical mammals: Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Sus scrofa, Capreolus sibirica, Ondatra zibetica, Citellus fulvus etc.

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