Important wetlands in northern and eastern Kazakstan

W Cresswell, S Yerokhov, N Berezovikov, R Mellanby, S Bright, P Catry, J Chaves, J Freile, A Gretton, A Zykin, R McGregor, D McLaughlin


Kazakstan is an important country for migratory birds passing from Siberia to the north and east to their wintering grounds in Africa, the Middle East and India. Kazakstan also has globally important breeding populations of White-headed Duck and Sociable Plover. A survey of wetlands in northern and eastern Kazakstan was carried out July-September 1998. Important sites for migratory birds, White-headed Duck and Sociable Plover were identified. With the exception of huge wetland areas such as Lake Tengiz many of the wetlands used by migratory birds are relatively small, and a network of small sites rather than single large sites are probably most important. White-headed Ducks were found breeding near Lake Tengiz at Yesei, Sultankeldy and Kokai lakes of the Kurgaldjin lake system and the area is probably important for the species. White-headed Ducks were also found at Lake Alakol. Sociable Plovers were only found in small numbers at Naurzum and another small reserve in the same region. Human pressure on wetlands in the north of Kazakstan appears to be declining because of depopulation since the break up of the Soviet Union. Much of the habitat appears pristine and there is probably little need for conservation concern for the network of wetlands that cover the north of Kazakstan.

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