Nuratau Range

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The IBA is situated on the Nuratau ridge 70 km NW of the town of Jizzak on the border of three districts. The landscape of foothills are of the semi-desert type and represented by sloping submontane plains, hills and ridges with wormwood and ephemeral vegetation growing on typical and dark sierozems (gypsum-derived soils). The landscape of low mountains occupies the low-mountain part of the ridge and belongs to the dry steppe type of landscape. In the foothills and low mountains there are settlements and bogharic lands (loess and loess-like loams). The mid-mountain areas lie in the upper alpine layer of the Nuratau and represent the meadow-steppe type of landscape. The rocky areas are represented by outcrops of limestone, granite and slate almost devoid of vegetation. The rock massifs are typical low- and mid-mountains. In the valleys of the mountain rivers, there are river flood-lands with tree-shrub vegetation. The Nuratau Ridge has a dense hydrographic network comprised of rivulets. The largest streams of the main northern slope of Nuratau are Sentyabsai, Madjerumsai and Ukhumsai. The basis of the economic activity of local residents is agriculture, mainly cattle husbandry. Individual plots for horticulture are developing in and around the settlements.

Key biodiversity
The avifauna is comprised of 196 species of 15 orders and 32 families. Of these, 132 species are nesting, 31 are resident. The main groups are Falconiformes and Passeriformes. The globally endangered Aegypius monachus and Falco cherrug nest in the IBA. Eight breeding species (Ciconia nigra, Circaetus gallicus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Aquila chrysaetos, Gypaetus barbatus, Aegypius monachus, Gyps fulvus and Falco cherrug) are included in the national Red Data Book. The IBA is unique in Uzbekistan for its concentration of nesting large birds of prey. More than two pairs of Gypaetus barbatus, 20 pairs of Gyps fulvus, 8 pairs of Aquila chrysaetos (Chernogaev et al.,1996) breed. The site is a zone of biome Irano-Turanin Mountains (4 species).

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA is comprised of typical little-transformed landscapes and ecosystems of the Nuratau ridge. More than 800 species of higher plants grow there, including 29 species included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan, as well as 22 endemic species and two subspecies of plants, including Anura pallidivirens, a representative of the endemic monotype genus Anura Tschern, as well as Paraeremostachys anisochila, an endemic confined to only one locality, which is within the Nuratau nature reserve. The vertebrate fauna includes 1 fish species, 2 amphibian species, 15 reptile species and 34 mammalian species. One reptile species is included in the National Red Book. Four species of mammal are included of which 1 species, Tien Shan Argali (Ovis ammon severtzovii), is also included on the IUCN Red List. Currently, more than 90% of the world population of this rare endemic species inhabits this area. In the reserve, 786 species of invertebrate are recorded, including 761 species of insects. Eleven arthropod species are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The lands of the current Nuratau nature reserve are withdrawn from industrial activities. The territory proposed for the expansion of the nature reserve area and the buffer zone is used for cattle grazing and collection of firewood. In this connection, there is disturbance by shepherds. The most important threat is cutting of shrubs in which birds nest. The destruction of nests and eggs has been noted.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Since 2002, the GEF/UNDP “Establishment of Nuratau-Kyzylkum biosphere reserve as a model of conservation of biodiversity in Uzbekistan” project has been implemented. Scientific studies including monitoring of Aegypius monachus have been carried out. In 2006, an ornithological survey was conducted as part of the IBA Uzbekistan project. This showed that the site fulfils international IBA criteria.

Protected areas
Nature reserve "Nuratinskiy".

Habitat and land use
The geographic position and natural conditions of the Nuratau Ridge predetermine the xerophylic character of its vegetation. The dry Turanian type steppe, shrub communities of varying density, forest flood-land vegetation and rock outcrops and scree are present in the IBA. Open herb habitats are situated in the mid-zone. Shrubs are confined to the precipitous fine-grain, crushed-stone and stony slopes at altitudes of 1,000-1,800 m above sea level with varying density. Even the tops of the watersheds (1,400-1,800 m above sea level) are covered with patches of semi-shrubs. Rocks practically devoid of soil have very sparse communities of petrophytes. The intra-zonal vegetation of the lower and mid-part of the river flood-lands on the main northern slope is represented by feral walnut-fruit trees. The major habitats of Aegypius monachus are sparse growths of trees and shrubs. This bird uses the Bukhara almond-tree for nesting.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nuratau Range. Downloaded from on 20/03/2023.