Country/territory: Kazakhstan

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

Area: 217,135 ha

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2017 favourable low high
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2006 baseline)
The Zhusandala plain and edge of sand dunes is located between the Almaty-Karaganda road and the main part of the Taukum desert. At the territory, a stable, high density of breeding Houbara Bustards is observed as the site provides the optimum conditions for this species. The area is also used regularly as a stop-over site by Houbara migrating from other regions, this confirms the A1 criteria. The territory is a typical area of northern desert with the set of biome restricted species, so corresponds to A3 criteria too.

Key biodiversity
Ornithofauna includes about 200 species (Berezovikov et al., 1999), including 83 breeding species, and more than 100 migrants. Breeding species represent the typical complex of the northern Eurasian desert with such species as Chlamydotis undulata, Aquila heliaca, Falco naumanni, Burchinus oedicnemus, Charadrius leschenaultia, Charadrius asiaticus, Syrrhaptes paradoxus, Pterocles orientalis, Calandrella rufescens, Calandrella brachydactyla, Hippolais rama, Sylvia nana, Oenanthe deserti, Cercotrichas galactotes, Lanius pallidirostris (excubitor), Corvus ruficollis, Rhodospiza obsoleta and Emberiza bruniceps.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fauna of the area includes 2 species of amphibian, up to 15 species of reptile and 40 species of mammal. Mammals represent the typical desert complex: wolf, fox, desert fox, Rhombomys opimus and Rh. meridionalis, jerboas, a number of species of Muridae, long-eared hedgehog, desert hare etc.; of ungulates, goitred gazelle is common but not numerous. Typical reptiles are steppe agama, steppe tortoise, several species of Phrynocephalus and Eremias, sand-boa, arrow-snake, Agkistrodon halis and Elaphe dione. Flora is represented by typical salsola-arthemisia, nanophyton-arthemisia, ephemera-gramineous associations, with patches of saxaul and tamarix, and with saxaul, Calligonum, Salsola richteri on sand dunes. In total, the flora consist of about 200 species of flowering plants, 5% of them are endemic to Kazakhstan (Osmanova et al., 1988).

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