Country/territory: Turkmenistan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (2005)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 211,421 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2018 favourable not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2005 baseline)
The IBA is situated in the Balkan and Akhal regions of Turkmenistan. The site includes the valley of the river Sumbar (from the settlement of Dene to the district administrative centre of Magtymguly) and all of the right bank to the adjoining watersheds (on the line of mountains Tyazetoplan – Yokary - Aydere - Kesedag - Khasardag - Syunt - Isek). The landscape-ecological conditions are characteristic of the southwest part of the Kopetdag mountains, and are the northwest outpost of the Turkmen-Khorosan mountain system. The river Sumbar (right inflow of the Etrek) is the main water source in this area. The valley of the river upstream is narrow with flooded tugai woodland and cultivated gardens; much of the the middle course is cultivated; and throughout the valley there are settlements, farms and associated developments. The length of the river is 245 km (the watercourses connected with the IBA), the total area of the valley basin is 8,270 km2. Characteristic vegetation communities are those of the high foothills, and lower and middle zones of this part of the Kopetdag mountains.

Key biodiversity
The avifauna of the southwest Kopetdag includes about 190 species, of which half nest representing 48.7% and 23.6% respectively of the total avifauna of Turkmenistan and 31% of that of Central Asia. In the Southwest Kopetdag there are nine landscape-ecological ornithocomplexes - several rocky-desert areas, low and middle mountains, desertified low mountains, valleys and the upper mountain zone (Bukreev, 1995). Of the 41 species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan, 16 occur at the site. Criteria А1 is applicable for Falco naumanni and Aegypius monachus. Aquila heliaca, Circus macrourus and Tetrax tetrax also occur but populations do not currently qualify. Criteria А3 applies for Oenanthe finschii and Oenanthe picata.

Non-bird biodiversity: In the Western Kopetdag as a whole, the following have been recorded: 79 species of ants, 23 - lepidopterans, 102 - orthopteroides, 2 - dermapterans, 160 - spiders, 4 - amphibians, 36 – reptiles and 76 - mammals. Amphibians - Bufo viridis, Bufo danatensis and Rana ridibunda are common. Reptiles – lizards - 16 species of the most numerous is considered to be Agama caucasica. Snakes – also 16 species, including the poisonous saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus), Vipera lebetina and the cobra (Naja oxiana). Mammals - 76 species live in the Western Kopetdag. Up to 30% are endemic or sub-endemic to Kopetdag (Rossolimo, Pavlinov, 1982). Insectivores total 6 species. Bats are represented by 19 species. Rodents are represented by 19 species, some being very abundant. 17 species of predator occur in the IBA and adjoining districts. Ungulates are represented by wild boar and rare species such as ibex (Capra aegagrus) and wild sheep (Ovis ammon). The documented flora of the Southwest Kopetdag varies between 1,148 species and 1,266 (Gudkova and others., 1982). On the low foothills typical plants are species of Artemisia and Salsola, Poa sp, Carex sp, Alhagi persrum, etc. At heights from 600 to 800-900m above sea level xerophilous shrubs and trees grow - Palirus spina-christi, Celtis caucasica, Punica granatum, Cerasus microarpa, Ficus carica, Cotoneaster, Cystopteris, Zygophyllum sp, Amygdalus communis, Zizyphus jujuba, and in some area pistachio (Pistacia vera). In the higher mountain valleys, there is walnut (Juglans regia), Platanus orientalis, ash, quince, blackberry and grapes. On Syunt-Khasardag a ridge and in the Sumbar-Chandyr interfluve Juniperus turkomanica and hawthorn occur though scattered juniper trees can be found at heights of 600-700m.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sumbar. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.