The IBA occupies the whole area of the north-western slope of the medium-sized Manyrak mountain range situated in the southern part of the Zaisan Depression. The range stretches 65 km from east-west and the highest point is 1,934 m asl. The mountains are of fairly arid aspect, with a few small rivers running down towards Zaisan lake. The northern slope consists of several rocky massifs separated by valleys and cut by the course of the south-north running canyon of the Kusty river. The range is located close to the Chinese border.
An 8 years study of the local avifauna recorded 121 species of bird. Typical Passerines are buntings (Emberiza bruniceps, E. buchanani and E. cioides) and Oenanthe pleschanka. Of predators the most common nesting species are hybrids of Buteo rufinus and Buteo hemilasius, Falco cherrug and Aquila nipalensis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There is obvious under-grazing of steppe areas leading to a deterioration in habitat quality and feeding opportunities for raptors.
There is a good overlap with the Tarbagatai(skiy) State Nature Preserve (Zakaznik).
Habitat and land use
Though the area can largely be regarded as the unspoiled wildnerness, during the height of bird breeding activities the site is suffers considerable disturbance from people harvesting natural 'plantations' of Allium sp. on a large scale. Additionally in autumn the site sometimes suffers from the attentions of Saker trappers, and local poachers sometimes raid other pedators' nests with the aim of subsequent trading with Arab hunting entrepreneurs.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Manyrak Mountains. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/08/2022.