The IBA covers the Kopetdag water reservoir and adjoining areas located in the foothills valley of the Central Kopetdag 40 km to the north-west of Ashgabat and 6 km from Geokdepe. The IBA is situated in the Geokdepe district of Akhal region.
This is a man-made reservoir functioning since 1976. Its area is not more than 38-39 km2 and it has a shoreline of 42 km. The northern dam is 25 m high. The northern and western parts of the reservoir are deep (maximum depth is not more than 20 m), the southern shore is gently sloping and not more than 2 m deep. Inflow comes from the Karakum channel, usually from the beginning of September. Water is lost in July. The water level fluctuates between seasons and years. There are filtration lakes 50-70 m wide and 2 m deep 200-250 m from the northern dam.
The climate is continental, with hot dry summers and mild winters. Minimum precipitation is recorded in July-August, maximum in February-March. Snow cover is 5-10 days a year.
More 200 species have been recorded: resident – 17, breeding – 52, wintering - 46 and passage - 182 species. Fulica atra, Anas platyrhynchos, A.clypeata, A.acuta, A.penelope and others and some shorebirds are the most numerous.
The IBA is located on the flyway along the Kopetdag foothills. Spring migration of waterbirds is short with rapid turnover beginning in the second part of February and finishing at the end of March. The autumn migration is protracted with noticable peaks. It lasts from the beginning of September until the end of November. In winter birds are present from the middle of November until the middle of February.
Species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) are: Рlataea leucorodia, Phoenicopterus roseus, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Circaetus gallicus, Pandion haliaetus, Burhinus oedicnemus, Aquila chrysaetos and Bubo bubo.
Criteria: criterion A1 is applicable for Aythya nyroca.
Criterion A4iii is applicable as more than 20,000 waterbirds (15-20 species) occur. Numerous species are Anas platyrhynchos, Fulica atra, Netta rufina and Aythya nyroca.
Non-bird biodiversity: There are 30 species of reptiles and more than 30 species of mammals.
There are more than 370 species of plants. Shore vegetation consists of thickets of reed and tamarisk. Calligonum, Salsola richteri, Epherda, Astragalus and Stipagrostis karelinii are present on sandy coastal areas.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The IBA's ecosystems are considered to be in a good condition at present.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
There are no special nature conservation projects for the IBA.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kopetdagkhovudan. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 16/01/2022.