Lake Sarysu

Year of compilation: 2005

Site description
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.

Key biodiversity
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.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Threats include poaching (alongside legal hunting), and pesticide run-off from cotton fields is also a problem. Lake Sarysu undoubtedly merits protection and designation as a Ramsar Site (since it supports at least 20,000 waterbirds and eight species meet the ³1% population criterion).

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
1. As a part of monitoring project was studied in 1996-1997 years by Azerbaijan Ornithological Society2. As one of five key sites was studied by Azerbaijan Ornithological Society in 1998 within the project of "Population of Ferruginous Duck in Azerbaijan"

Protected areas
National None International None

Habitat and land use
Most part of the lake is rented by Azerbaijan Society of Hunters and Fishers. There is also fishing (including with nets), grazing and oil extraction. There is big possibility for recreation and tourism and some infrastructure is start to develop already.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Sarysu. Downloaded from on 25/03/2023.