Maliy Kak Lake

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 9,721 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2015 favourable not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2007 baseline)
Malyi Kak lake lies on the eastern edge of a group of scattered waterbodies on the left bank of the upper middle reaches of the Ishym river. Administratively the site is located in the western corner of the Northern Kazakhstan region, 40 km from the interregional border, 250 km to the south-west of the regional centre of Petropavlovsk and 30 km south-east of the district centre of Timiryazevo. A railway runs north-south 20 kilometres from the western boundary of the site. 10 km to the north-west of the lake lies the small village of Akzhan. The site is a small part of the southern outer range of the West-Siberian Lowlands. The major type of land form and vegetation is forest-steppe, though in this zone isolated forest stands are absent. About half a century ago, much of the mesophylic steppe of the region was transformed to agricultural land, and today many of the areas in the vicinity of the lake are either existing crop fields or abandoned land. However, due to high salinity and frequent erosion, the land lying within 2-3 km of the lake's shore has remained intact. The vegetation of this area is comprised of motley herbage associations with a high proportion of tall weeds alternating with patches of straggling ruderal growth. Malyi Kak Lake is slightly elongated in shape and is dependent on the intake of seasonal melt-water floods. Together with several nearby waterbodies, it is subject to cyclic filling-up. When water levels are very low, the saltiness of the water increases threefold. The banks are gently sloping and in many places form large muddy shoals. In the northern and north-eastern parts there is a narrow zone of reed, 5-10 metres wide.

Key biodiversity
Approximately 70 species have been recorded and high concentrations of waterfowl and shorebirds occur in autumn and spring. In the late 1990s the number of Branta ruficollis passing annually was estimated to be 8-10,000 birds. In 2005, 23,280 ducks were recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna and flora is typical of the forest-steppe biotopes. Common mammals include several species of mustelids (Mustela nivalis, Mustela erminea and Mustela eversmanni). A small colony of Marmota bobak can be found in the adjacent steppe. Larger predators include Vulpes vulpes and, more rarely encountered, Vulpes corsac. Capreolus capreolus occurs infrequently. A few plots of modified steppe surround the lake and still support an assortment of rich-herbage-motley-turf-grass associations. The main areas of dry mesophylic steppe and meadows, though, are restricted to the southern and south-eastern parts of the region. The main plant species of the former are Stipa pinnata, Poa sp. and Achillea millfolium; and of the latter Festuca sp., Calamagrostis epigeios and Alopecurus sp. The dominant emergent species is Phragmites australis and on the heavily mineralized land along the shore, Salsola species are abundant.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Maliy Kak Lake. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.