Lake Chatyr-Kul

Country/territory: Kyrgyzstan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (2010)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 18,100 ha

Protection status:

Kyrgyz Wildlife Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2006 medium not assessed low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Chatyr-Kul is one of the largest drainless freshwater reservoirs in Kyrgyzstan. The Lake basin occupies the lowest part of tectonic ravine and situated between At-Bashi and Torugart-Too mountain ranges at over 3500 m above sea level.The length of the lake catchment is a weakly broken accumulative relief of mixed fluvial and lacustrine origins. Shores are mainly low-lying mostly swampy in the south and east and consist of 6 terraces. Only in the north, where limestone cliffs are too close to the water, shores are high. Lake basin is positioned in the zone of permafrost, in extremely cold weather conditions of this Inner Tian-Shan region. Climate of Chatyrkul region is sharp continental. Average annual air temperature is negative -5,6°, the summer maximum is +24°, the winter minimum is -50°. The average amount of precipitation is 208-209 mm of which 88-90% is received in summer. Winter with a lack of snowfall. The catchment basin is ca. 1050 km2. River network is poorly developed. Of 24 small rivers flowing into the lake, only Kok-Argyn river has permanent watercourse. Rivers freeze in winter. The waters of the lake have low salinity level and related to the chloride-bicarbonate-sodium-magnesium type. The water color of the lake is yellowish-green with 4 m transparency. The water temperatures in July August vary between 6-16°. The lake is 22,8 km long and 10,5 km wide, surface area is 161,1 km2, the maximum depth is 16,5 m, average is 3,8 m, volume is 620 million m3, the length of the coastlines is 58,5 km.

Key biodiversity
Criterion A3 is of primer importance for the site because species of Biome 05 are poorly represented here (Eurasian highland), a total of 9 species in 32 (28%) from Biome 02 are seen here, while Biome 04ab is poorly represented with 1-2 species. Vulnerable species classified as A1 include 4 species, their population numbers are yet to be surveyed. Same holds true for many of the species listed for Biomes whose population numbers are only very approximate.Considering the fact of global land acquisition, drainage of wetland areas, deforestation, etc. there are less and less habitats for birds on the Planet Earth. Lake Chatyr-Kul is one of few mass breeding places of birds, less susceptible to human-induced factors. Lake is positioned along the flyway of waterfowl and is the only place offering refuge to some of globally threatened species. Only based on these factors the lake is to be designated as protected area. On the territory ornithologists of Kyrgyzstan conducted llong-term studies of avian fauna with some intervals. The results of these studies have been published in many scientific articles and monographs (Bogdanov, 1900, Yanushevich, 1955, Kidiraliev, 1990, 1962, 1973, Stepanyan, 1960, Ostashenko, Davletbakov). During the long-term observations we have recorded 77 bird species, of which 9 are resident, breeding and migrants. Apart from this data species listed in Red book of Kyrgyzstan (2005) are of special interest, totalling 7.

Non-bird biodiversity: Large mammals known to occur here are Argali (Ovis ammon), Grey marmot (Marmota baibacina), Beech marten (Martes foina) and Least weasel (Mustela nivalis) are common. Plant life is presented with ca. 300 species, where Poaceae family predominates.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Chatyr-Kul. Downloaded from on 21/04/2019.