Sarshyganak Lake

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 2,978 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 low unfavourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Sarcheganak Lake is situated in the Volga-Ural Interfluve on the lowland plains bordering the shores of the Northern Caspian. The site is in the Kaztal district of the Western Kazakhstan Region, 35 km to the south-east of Zhalpakal (Furmanovo) village. The lake's basin is thought to have been created through the erosion of part of the large salt dome underlying the lower reaches of the Bolshaya Usen River. The lake is oval, approximately 4 x 5 km in size, and covers 1,800 ha. It lacks an outflow and the water is brackish. In many places the shore consists of marshes. The majority of the surrounding land is dry steppe with typical wormwood-motley-herbage growing on the clayey soils. In many areas closest to the shore, the incessant trampling by herds of cattle has created barren areas dominated by Ceratocarpus turkestanicus. There are a few stands of Tamarix bushes, the only woody species in the area. Comparatively dense reedbeds cover about 10% of the lake’s surface, and encompass the lake in an almost unbroken belt, except where local fishermen have created access channels. Water levels are subject to partial regulation as a canal brings some of the flow of the Bolshaya Usen into the lake. The site is attractive to birds as it provides ample feeding and cover.

Key biodiversity
Despite the difficulties of surveying the area, the lake appears to be one of the most important waterbodies for migratory birds in the region. In the second half of October 2007, the visible part of the lake held 9,520 waterbirds. Additionally, the shoreline appears suitable for breeding terns and gulls (on the scattered islets) and species of reed-thicket passerines. In addition to the waterfowl, the site is frequented by passage White-tailed Eagles, Steppe Eagles, harriers and Merlins.

The compilers wish to express their appreciation and satisfaction with the professional assistance provided by F G Bidashko, a researcher from the Uralsk Division of the National Plague Research Centre.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sarshyganak Lake. Downloaded from on 05/02/2023.