A system of saline lakes with vast reedbeds, 3 areas of open water (the eastern by far the largest), a few small islands, shallows, etc.; the bottom is covered by Potamogeton. Formerly connected to the Kura river during the spring flood, but water-levels are now dependent on irrigation channels.
One of the best sites for waterbirds in the interior of Azerbaijan with 70,000-150,000 wintering birds usually (90% of them are ducks: Aythya ferina, Netta rufina, Anas acuta, Anas platyrhynchos etc.). Other breeding birds include greebs, herons (Ardeidae), some ducks, Coot (Fulica atra), shorebirds (Himantopus himantopus, Vanellus leucura, Glareola pratincola etc.), some gulls and terns, Francolinus francolinus and Alcedo atthis. Phoenicopterus ruber is a rare visitor throughout the year and Asio flammeus occurs rarely in winter. There are some raptor like Circus aeruginosus, C. cyaneus, Haliaeetus albicilla, Accipiter brevipes occur on the place in different seasons.
Non-bird biodiversity: There are 10 main species of water plants on the lake: Phragmites communis, Scirpus lacustris, Typha angustifolia etc. The Cyprinus carpio, Abramis brama orientalis, Esox licius and Silurus glanis are common fishes on the lake. Mammals on the lake and surrounding lands are presented by Myocastor coypus, Canis lupus, C. aureus and Sus scrofa.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Sarysu. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/01/2021.