Naurzum State Nature Reserve

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 191,381 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2010 unfavourable high not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
The IBA is identical to the Naurzum State Nature Reserve (Zapovednik Naurzum) and is situated in the Naursumskiy and Semiozernyi districts, 200 km south of Kostanay city. It includes dry steppes with isolated forest patches and lake systems, in the central part of the great Turgay depression. There is a large number of fresh- and brackish-water lakes that resemble flat round kettles with a depth of usually no more than 2.5-3 m; they are dependent completely of spring flood water. The types of steppe here are: feather grass steppe, herb-bunch-grass steppe and different types of salt steppe and meadows. The Zapovednik consists of three parts with different types of forest, 9-14 km from one another. The central part (139,714 ha) includes lake systems with surrounding meadows, Naurzum-Karagay - light pine forest, and insular groves of aspen or birch on sand dunes; Tersek-Karagay (12,947 ha) includes high pine forest with some additional birch and aspen along the Turgay plateau, and different steppes in the Dana-Byke river valley; Sypsynagash (38,720) includes dispersed insular groves of aspen or birch on semidesertic steppe with small seasonal lakes, meadows and bushes, in the Karasu river valley. An additional "buffer zone" of 2-km width with restricted use exists around the reserve, with total area of 116,550 hectares.

Key biodiversity
281 bird species, including 158 breeding, have been recorded. Most typical species for the steppes are Alauda arvensis, Melanocorypha leucoptera, Melanocorypha yeltoniensis, Anthus campestris, Oenante oenanthe, Otis tetrax, Circus macrourus, Vanellus gregaria, Grus virgo and Aquila nipalensis. The birds of the different meadows are: Motacilla flava, Saxicola torquata, Hippolais caligata, Lanius collurio, Coturnix coturnix, Perdix perdix, Circus pygargus and Numenius arquata. In the forests characteristic species are: -Tetrao tetrix, Dendrocopus major, Oriolus oriolus, Columba palumbus, Streptopelia turtur, Parus major, Parus cyanus, Phoeicurus phoenicurus, Anthus trivialis and Apus apus. The raptor population is very varied and numerous, with 28 species of birds of prey recorded, including 17 breeding species: Aquila chrysaetos, Aquila heliaca, Aquila nipalensis, Circus macrourus, Circus pygargus, Circus aeruginous, Haliaeetus albicilla, Buteo buteo, Buteo rufinus, Milvus migrans, Accipiter nisus, Accipiter gentilis, Falco cherrug, Falco subbuteo, Falco naumanni, Falco tinnunculus, Falco vespertinus. Most varied are water-birds with 110 species, including 29 ducks and geese, 41 waders, 13 gulls and terns, 7 Rallidae, 4 grebes, 1 loon, 3 pelicans and cormorant, 1 flamingo, 8 Ciconiiformes, and 3 cranes. The site supports very large numbers of breeding waterbirds, especially in years of high water level but numbers fluctuate greatly from year to year. The average total number of breeding Anseriformes is 1-1,400 pairs in good years. The most common breeding waterbirds are: Aythia ferina - 650-1,000 breeding pairs, Anas strepera - 150-200 pairs, Anas acuta - 80-120 pairs, Anas platyrhynchos - 130-150 pairs, Anas querquedula - 50-100 pairs,Anas clypeata - 60-80 pairs, Anser anser - 100-320 pairs, Cygnus olor - 25-40 pairs, grebes (Podiceps cristatus, P griseigena, P. nigricollis) - totalling 1,300-3,300 pairs, Fulica atra - 700-2,800 pairs. There are huge moulting groups of waterbirds: in 1971 up to 40,000 ducks and 300-600 Greylag Geese. In August 1987 about 237,000 waterfowl were counted (Vinogradov, Auezov, 1995). The IBA is situated on a major flyway and hundreds of thousands of waterbirds pass in spring and autumn, and a high proportion sometimes stay for a long time. For example, at least 250,000-300,000 geese crossed the IBA in 1993-1995, and up to 50,000-60,000 were counted at Aksuat Lake in 1993-1995. 33 species are included in the national Red Data Book (1996).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: 44 species recorded, 42 of them resident. Common ungulates are: Alces alces, Capreolus capreolus, Sus scrofa. Carnivora: Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Vulpes corsac, Lynx lynx, Mustela eversmanni, Mustela erminea, Mustela nivalis, Meles meles. In the steppes, rodents dominate: Marmota bobac, Spermophilus fulvus, Sp. major, Sp. pygmaeus, Cricetus cricetus, Sicista subtilis, voles (Lagurus lagurus, Microtus arvalis, M. gregalis, Ellobius talpinus), Allocricetlus eversmanni, Stilodipus telum, Erinaceus auritus, jerboas (Allactaga major, Stylodips telum), Lepus europaeus. In the forests - Sciurus vulgaris, Erinaceus europaeus, Martes martes, Nyctereutes procyonoides. Common species along lake banks are: Apodemus sylvaticus, Microtus gregalis, Microtus oeconomus, Micromis minutus, Sorex minutus; in high-water years - Arvicola terrestris and Ondatra zibetica. Plus two desert species : Pygerethmus platiurus and Pygerethmus pumilio. Reptiles and amphibians include: Vipera ursini, Lacerta agilis, Eremias arguta, Rana arvalis, Pelobates fuscus, Bufo viridis. Fish: Carassius carassius, Carassius auratus (these two are most common), Phoxinus percnurus, Tica tinca, Perca fluviatilis, Esox lucius, Rutilus rutilus. Some introduced species are also present: Cyprinus carpio, Leuciscus leuciscus, Coregonus peled. 687 species of plants have been recorded in the Reserve, including 5 from the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan. There are forest-, steppe- and semidesert species here.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Naurzum State Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.