Kushum Lakes

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 175,315 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2010 not assessed very unfavourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The IBA is a fragmented wetland complex in the lowest reaches of the Kushum river and occupies part of the left bank of the Ural river, approximately 90 km to the west of main course. It is positioned in the centre of the Dangaly district of the West-Kazakhstan region. The site is formed by flooding from the Kushum river. The majority of the area consists of shallow stretches of water overgrown by dense reedbeds. Only the peripheral waterbodies (Edelsor-1 and Edelsor-2, for example) appear to be devoid of extensive vegetation. At present, due to naturally changing water cycles, exacerbated by man-made deflection of water through a network of artificial canals, a substantial part of the reedbeds are unflooded. The system contains a few major lakes (Byrkazan, Oryskopa, Sholokhovskoye, Khankol and Zhaltyrkol) that are included in the Zhaltyrkulsky (Zhaltyrkol) State Nature Reserve (Zakaznik). The fragments of dry land between the waterbodies are composed of plots of common to northern semi-desert with sparse vegetation on loamy and sandy soils. The flora is restricted to predominantly halophytes (70% representation), with motley-herbage-Artemisia complexes gradually replaced in hollows by patches of annual Salsola.

Key biodiversity
The area was visited twice in the last two years. In April 2006 - interesting records included Ardea cinerea – 15 pairs, Philomachus pugnax – 3,300 individuals, Cygnus olor - 22 pairs, and confirmed breeding by two species of raptor: Haliaeetus albicilla (1 nest) and Buteo rufinus (2 nests). In November 2007, more detailed observations were made and confirmed that the site is an important stop-over location for many thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kushum Lakes. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023.