|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
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The IBA is in the rustic Karasaz province of the Raiymbek district of the Almaty region between the villages of Karasaz and Tekes, in the intermontane valley flanked by the Eltchin-Buyryuk and Karatau mountains. The site is a shallow, saline lake 5 km in length and up to 1,000 m in width. The shoreline is a mixture of muddy shoals or wet meadow plots with slightly raised banks covered with a mosaic of highland valley vegetation. The dry land encircling the waterbody, where it is uncultivated, still supports remant dry steppe vegetation with perennial complexes of xerophytic grasses and wormwoods. There are also scattered alkali plots and numerous aggregations of Lasiagrostis splendens tufts. The shore lacks any form of growth larger than the lush salt-tolerant plants and there are no of woody or scrub species or reedbeds. The lake contains two small islands. Two natural slightly mineralized springs are located at the northern corner of the lake and there is an artesian well on the eastern shore.
The site is important for the large numbers of moulting Tadorna ferruginea it supports and also for significant numbers of Grus grus and Grus virgo. The area is used used by a variety of surface-feeding and diving ducks, gulls and waders for nesting, moulting and on passage. In August 2006, on the lake and its environs, 35 species, including 21 shore- and waterfowl (4,445 specimens in total) were recorded. It is estimated that migratory concentrations regularly number 5-10,000+ waterbirds. The site is alo important for breeding Cygnus cygnus, Podiceps nigricollis and Fulica atra. The modestly sized islets hold colonial nesting gulls, terns and waders. The nearby mountains have national protected Aquila chrysaetos, Falco pelegrinoides and Aquila nipalensis.
Non-bird biodiversity: The area is important for two Central Asian montane amphibians Rana asiatica and Bufo pewzovi. In the nearby mountains Ovis ammon occurs.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tuzkol Lake. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/04/2021.