Middle reaches of the Sarysu River

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 142,165 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2007 high unfavourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA covers the middle section of the Sarysu river valley, approximately 60 km to the south of the district centre of Zhezkazgan. Surrounded by clayey and chalky expanses of semi-desert plains, the Sarysu river valley is deeply cut into the huge plateau that it flows through from north-east to south-west. Within the IBA the river bed is an ancient flood valley, on average 1-1.5 km in width. Both banks of the river have an intricate gulley network and, apart from intermittent, poor quality woody and scrubby patches, is covered by dense reedbeds. The semi-desert plateau on the left bank has expansives salt-marshes and alkaline plots. Sparse Haloxylon stands constitute the only salient feature in the plateau’s landscape.

Key biodiversity
The riverbank escarpments and nearest cliffs and gulleys of the plateau are important for nesting Bubo bubo, Aquila nipalensis, Falco tinnunculus and Falco naumanni. The flood plain itself is important for Circus macrourus and Phasianus colchicus. The plateau on the left bank, with its scanty stands of saxaul forest, is important for breeding Aquila heliaca and Buteo rufinus. Tetrax tetrax also occurs in this area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Middle reaches of the Sarysu River. Downloaded from on 30/01/2023.