Zhaltyr Lake

Country/territory: Kazakhstan

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 2,594 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2015 not assessed not assessed not assessed
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Site description (2007 baseline)
The lake is situated in the Shalakyna district of the Northern Kazakhstan Region, 180 km to the south-west of the regional centre of Petropavlovsk and 20 km to the north-west of the rather sizable village of Sergeyevka. 3 km to the west of the lake is a small settlement of the same name. Geographically, it is located on the southern frontier of Western Siberia. The area lies within the forest-steppe zone stretching almost continuously along the entire southern margin of Western Siberia. The site consists of a plain studded with small groves of deciduous forest comprised, predominantly, of birch and aspen. Within the site proper, isolated stands of forest occur only in the western part, about 2 km from the shore of the lake. The eastern shore of the lake is steep but all otyher parts are gently sloping. The majority of land around the lake is used for economic activities: in the east, cultivation encroaches to within 80-100m of the shore; at a distance of 1-2 km from the shore the remaining natural biotopes are used as pasture. The lake is surrounded by reed. Its western and southern banks are swampy. When water levels are low in these areas, isolated pools are formed.

Key biodiversity
The site is an important staging area for large numbers of migrating common waterfowl, as well as for several globally threatened or rare birds. The lake differs from the others in the region by virtue of its large size and the exceptional food resources it provides, both within the lake and in the surrounding fields. The lake is also realtively undisturbed. The typical forest-steppe avifauna is represented by 70-80 species. In addition to waterbirds, the site is important for diurnal raptors. The commonest are: Circus cyaneus, Circus aeruginosus, Milvus migrans and Buteo buteo. In autumn Haliaeetus albicilla and Aguila chrysaetos frequently occur.

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal fauna is that typical of the forest-steppe zone wetlands. Murine rodents dominate including such prolific species as Apodemus agrarius and Microtus arvalis, and in the wet habitats - Ondatra zibethica and Arvicola terrestris. Erinaceus europaeus, Vulpes vulpes, Lepus timidus, Lepus europaeus and Mustela eversmanni are frequently encountered. Adjacent to the lake there are a few tracts of preserved motley-herbage associations typical of dry and mesophylic meadows. The main species are Stipa pinnata, Poa sp. and Achillea millfolium in the former, and Festuca sp., Calamagrostis epigeios and Alopecurus sp. in the latter. The dominant emergent vegetation is Phragmites australis. It occurs together in some places with Typha angustifolia and Scirpus lacustris, while the muddy shoals are covered by Carex. The isolated stands of deciduous forest are comprised, in the major part, of a few species of birch (including Betula verrucosa and B. pubescens) and aspen, the underbrush is Rosa sp.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Zhaltyr Lake. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.