Kulikalon Lakes

Country/territory: Tajikistan

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

Area: 9,753 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2007 medium not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The Kulikalon Lakes have a glacial origin. They are situated on the northern mountainside of the Zeravshan range, at the bottom of the Kulikalon cirque among remains of former Juniperus forest. The three Kulikalon Lakes were formed as the result of two large blockages of the Artuch river waterfall. The lakes are fed by melt waters of the Chimtarga Glacier, with water level peaking in summer and reaching the lower edge of the Juniperus forest. Levels fall in winter. The middle part of the Kulikalon cirque is located at an altitude of 2,800 m above sea level and adjacent mountains are 3,000-3,500 m above sea level. The IBA is situated 55 km from the district centre, Pendjikent. A road runs from Pendjikent to the valley of the river Kushtut, turning where it joins the river Artuch, and then follows the river Artuch and the base foot of the two blockages which are impounding the river Artuch. The largest blocks of Juniperus forest in the western half of the Zeravshan range are where the IBA is situated. The largest blocks of Juniperus forest in the basin of the river Zeravshan are concentrated on the perimeter of the Chimtarga mountain massif. The area around the Kulikalon Lakes is used as pasture.

Key biodiversity
More than 160 species occur in the IBA. Resident species include: Anas platyrhynchos, Mergus merganser, Gypaetus barbatus, Gyps fulvus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, Falco subbuteo, Falco cherrug, Tetraogallus himalayensis, Alectoris chukar, Columba rupestris, Bubo bubo, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Cinclus cinclus, Cinclus pallasii, Turdus merula, Turdus viscivorus, Myophonus caeruleus, Enicurus scouleri, Garrulax lineatus, Parus rufonuchalis, Parus flavipectus, Parus bokharensis, Sitta tephronota, Tichodroma muraria, Pica pica, Corvus corone, Acridotheres tristis, Carduelis caniceps, Carpodacus rhodochlamys and Mycerobas carnipes. Typical migrant and nesting species include: Hieraaetus pennatus, Coturnix coturnix, Crex crex, Gallinago solitaria, Columba palumbus, Streptopelia orientalis, Cuculus canorus, Strix aluco, Asio flammeus, Caprimulgus europaeus, Coracias garrulus, Upupa epops, Calandrella acutirostris, Riparia rupestris, Anthus trivialis, Motacilla citreola, Motacilla cinerea, Motacilla alba, Troglodytes troglodytes, Prunella fulvescens, Prunella himalayana, Luscinia pectoralis, Luscinia svecica, Phoenicurus caeruleocephalus, Phoenicurus ochruros, Phoenicurus erythrogaster, Chaimarrornis leucocephala, Rhyacomis (Chaimarrornis) fuliginosa, Saxicola torquata, Oenanthe isabellina, Oenanthe deserti, Monticola saxatilis, Monticola solitarius, Cettia cetti, Sylvia curruca, Sylvia communus, Phylloscopus trochiloides, Phylloscopus griseolus, Tersiphone paradisi, Parus rufonuchalis, Parus flavipectus, Certhia himalayana, Remiz coronatus, Oriolus oriolus, Lanius phoenicuroides, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, Corvus corax, Petronia petronia, Rhodopechys sanguinea, Carpodacus erythrinus, Emberiza cia and Emberiza bruniceps. Wintering birds include: Accipiter gentilis, Accipiter nisus, Scolopax rusticola, Strix aluco, Troglodytes troglodytes, Corvus corax and Mycerobas carnipes. Depending on the amount of snow cover, mountain birds undertake altitudinal movements within the range of their nesting areas.

Non-bird biodiversity: Fish: Schizothorax intermedius inhabits the river Artuch. In 1968-1969 hatchling Schizothorax intermedius were released in the Kulikalon Lakes. They adapted well and the species is still present. Amphibia were not found in the IBA. Reptilia are Ancistrodon halys, Coluber ravergieri and Elaphe dione. Mammals: Sorex buchariensis, Crocidura pergrisea, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Ursus arctos, Mustela nivalis, Felis lynx, Uncia uncia, Vulpes vulpes, Canis lupes, Marmota caudata, Ellobius talpinus, Alticola argentatus and Rattus turkestanicus. In the Juniperus forests Lepus tolai, Microtus carruthersi, Dryomys nitedula and Ochotona rutila can be found. The Juniperus forests lie at 2,000-3,000 m above sea level. They are dominated by Juniperus seravschanica in the lower half and Juniperus semiglobosa in the upper half. Juniperus turkestanica creates an elfin wood formation at 3,000-3,200 m above sea level or, in some places, occurs in alpine plantations of Juniperus semiglobosa. In some areas, the Juniperus creates real forest with a high density of trees, in other cases open woodland. Often Acer turkestanicum and Crataegus turkestanica form part of the canopy. The shrub layer includes Lonicera nummulariifolia, Lonicera bracteolaris, Rosa ecae, Rosa beggeriana, Cotoneaster multiflorus, Exochorda hypericifolia and Berberis integerrima. Grasses in the elfin wood have steppe or desert type species with Stipa caucasica, Stipa kirghisorum, Artemisia tenuisecta or ephemeroid Poa bulbosa and Carex pachystylis. Ligularia thomsonii, Poa nemoraliformis and Carex turkestanica grow in the shade under the trees.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kulikalon Lakes. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.