Karakol Lake

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 5,270 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2018 not assessed very unfavourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The lake is situated on the southern outskirts of Aktau city (Karakiyanskiy district of Mangistau region), within the Karagye-Karakolskiy zoological reserve. The lake formed following the floodng of a natural hollow by hot water from the nearby thermoelectric power station. The lake is about 12 km long and runs parallel to the Caspian Sea coast, separated from the sea by a strip of land about 1 km in width. Its depth is 0.5-0.8 m and water levels tend to be stable throughout the year. The lake is connected to the sea by two channels at the northern and southern ends. The western border of the site is Caspian Sea shore-line. There is a considerable amount of water fringe vegetation, mainly reedbeds, mostly along the north, north-east and western shores. The bottom of the lake is sandy, with extensive patches of green algae, which provides food for wintering swans and other waterfowl.

Key biodiversity
In winter, 14 species of waterbird have been recorded, including two from the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan – greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) and whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus).

Non-bird biodiversity: Five species of fish and two species of amphibian have been recorded.

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