Western edge of the Karakoyin and Zhetikonyr Sands

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 49,690 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2007 unfavourable high not assessed
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Site description (2007 baseline)
The site is situated on the north-western outskirts of the Betpak-Dala desert region, 100 km north-north-east of the district centre of Zhezkazgan. The landscape is a combination of rough, eroded clayey plains and sands. The area includes the western fringe of the sand dunes of the Karakoiyn and Zhetikonyr sand massifs extending in a latitudinal direction from an area of alkali soil depressions at the foot of the moderately high Betpak-Dala plateau escarpment to the region enclosed by a large bend of the Sary-Su river. The area represents the distinct frontier zone of prolific sands and clayey semi-desert plain and the narrow strand of alkaline land covered with a patchwork of Lasiagrostis splendens, supportinging on its verges a belt of sparse Elaeagnus and Haloxylon forest.

Key biodiversity
The area’s main importance is the high breeding population of Aquila heliaca. During the mid-April 2007 survey, 10 nests were found and it is estimated that the total population is 15-18 pairs. One extensive area of wetland in the northern part of the site held 2 pairs of Circus macrourus but total numbers for the site are unknown. Beside one derelict cattle farm building 6 pairs of Falco naumanni were found breeding. Buteo rufinus is present, but the overall numbers are thought to be low (<3 pairs - only one nest found and one additional bird seen). At the edge of the sands a pair of Tetrax tetrax was seen once. In the heart of the sand massifs there are large coveys of Perdix perdix.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Western edge of the Karakoyin and Zhetikonyr Sands. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.