Lake Alakol Islands

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 7,400 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2014 favourable very high high
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2007 baseline)
The IBA comprises a group three islands - Ylken Araltobeh (Bolshoi Kamennyi), Sredniy and Kishkineh Araltobeh (Malyi Kamennyi)- situated in the north-eastern, and deepest, part of the lake, 10 km to the west of Kabanbai (Zharbulak) village. The islands form an archipelago 17 km in length and 1.5-6 km in width. They are formed of Paleozoic bedrock and the gravelly upper portions are covered with vegetation typical of stony deserts, with a preponderance of xerophyte herbs such as Artemisia terrae-albae, Salsola arbuscula, Nanophyton erinaceum, Eurotia ceratoides and Kochia scoparia. There are also scattered patches of Tamarix. The northern faces of the islands are gently stepped terraces and the northern and western shores consist of rough rock outcroppings or cliffs. On Ulken Araltobeh island there are three small lakes resembling lagoons that, at the right time of year, are used by nesting and moulting waterfowl. Srednyi island is the focal point for colonial breeding waterbirds. This island has a hill with a smooth top rising 53-60m above the water.

Key biodiversity
The rocky islands of Alakol lake are renowned as regular nesting grounds for a variety of colonial waterbirds including several with the regional and/or global protection status: Oxyura leucocephala, Aythya nyroca, Larus ichthyaetus, Larus relictus and Pelecanus crispus. The 2006-2007 counts were undertaken in June-July.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Lake Alakol Islands. Downloaded from on 29/11/2023.