Zholdyrbas Lake This is an IBA in Danger! 

Country/territory: Uzbekistan

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2006)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 29,723 ha

Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2017 not assessed very high negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2006 baseline)
The lake is situated in a former gulf of the Aral Sea at the mouth of the Kazakhdar’ya river. The water is brackish. In addition to river water, the site is also fed by thermal springs. A large dam which will separate the lake from the former sea is under construction. The water level in the lake has substantially stabilized. The lake is rather shallow, consisting of hundreds of open water area of different size and extensive reedbeds. On the shore there are large thickets of tamarisk. Soils are saline and sandy. A state forestry and hunting farm is located on the site and fishing and hunting are actively carried out. The lake is rather remote, the nearest settlement, Kazakhdar’ya, is situated 30 km away. However, during floods, it is necessary to travel 80-90 km to reach the site.

Key biodiversity
This is a large system of reservoirs with a rich fauna of waterbirds. All of the main species of reedbeds and shallow lakes breed: Phalacrocoraх carbo, Phalacrocoraх pygmaeus, Ardeidae, Platalea leucorodia, Plegadis falcinellus, Fulica atra, Anatidae. The rich fauna of wetland Passeriformes includes Remiz macronyx, Panurus biarmicus, Acrocephalus sp., and Locustella luscinioides. Of waders only Himantopus himantopus, Vanellus leucura and Charadrius alexandrinus nest, but on migration about 40 species of waders have been recorded. Predatory birds include Circus aeruginosus (numerous) and many Haliaeetus albicilla occur on migration and in winter. Zholdurbas lake is an unique place in Uzbekistan where Botaurus stellaris regularly nests.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are numerous commercially-traded mammals: Sus scrofa, Canis aureus, Felis libyca and Ondatra zibethicus. In the large thickets of tamarisk are numerous Lepus capensis tolai and Vulpes vulpes. Gazella subgutturosa is common, with breeding females with young noted. Being part of the former bed of the Aral Sea, the terrestrial fauna is rather poor.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Zholdyrbas Lake. Downloaded from on 21/02/2024.