Waders of Lake Cartma (The Systems of Coastal Lakes of the North Aral Sea, Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan)

Author Name(s): N.S. Sihanova*, I.I.Rahimov
Author Email: Muhtasar_08@mail.ru


Up to the 1960’s, the system of lakes in the delta of the Syr Darya River and the Large Aral Sea have been a unified system of connections for the biocenosis. Birds, nesting here, as well as migrating to Siberia from wintering in North Africa, South-West Asia, choose this territory as the area for the rest, breaks, replenishment of reserves. The rapid fall of the Aral Sea level, due to the water stress of influent rivers the Syr Darya and the AmuDarya resulted in a decrease in ​​the water area of the single terminal basin, and deterioration of the environmental situation in the Aral Sea region. Lake systems of the Syr Darya delta in 2012 were included in the list of wetlands of universal importance, protected by the international Ramsar Convention. Lake Cartma, until the last regression of the Aral Sea, was a floodplain on the eastern part of the reservoir. The materials of bird counts of Lake Cartma are presented in the article for the spring-summer season of 2017. Specialized surveys of avifauna have been carried out by authors since 2014. The lake’s avifauna is represented by species of limnophiles, which are characterized by seasonal residence during migration and nesting. Most of the limnophiles of Lake Cartmaare waders, represented by 18 species. Nesting species prevailbyseasonality; other species visit the lake during the spring-autumn migrations and summer migrations. The only species,listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the sociable plover, transient bird, noted during the spring counts.


Scientific studies of the avifauna of the Aral Sea and the Syr Darya delta lake systems began in the second half of the XIX century [1]. Scientifically, the avifauna of this area has been surveyed quite fully [2]. The last regression of the Aral Sea, which began in the 1960’s, resulted in change of the regional biodiversity [3]. The decrease in the water content of the SyrDarya River caused the regression of the Aral Sea as a single reservoir and divided into small parts. This led to a reduction in the number of lake systems, located in the delta of the Syr DaryaRiver.At the same time, as a result of the Aral Sea level fall, new coastal lakes appeared – former bays of the sea [3, 4]. As a result of the construction of the Aklak hydropower center (2009) on the Syr Darya River under the SYNAS program (Syr Darya Control and Northern Aral Sea), it was possible to fill the lake systems, including the coastal ones, in the lower courses of the Syr Darya River, that helped to maintain the biodiversity [4]. At the same time, birds, due to their mobility, were among the first to colonize water bodies in the process of restoration, and were excellent indicators of biodiversity [5-6]. The object of our study is Lake Cartma, the flood zone of the Large Aral Sea, in the early 1990’s separated from the eastern part of the main reservoir. For 20 years ithas been periodically drained.The current hydrological state is supported by the Syr Darya River through the Karateren canal [1, 7].

From the moment of filling the lake systems of the Syr Darya delta, ornithological studies were conducted in the water area and the vicinity of the Northern Aral Sea, the Kamystybas, Akshatau, Aksai, and Kuan Darya lake systems, but the avifauna of coastal left-bank reservoirs was not taken into account [1-6].

The authors of this work carried out the bird counts on Lake Cartma, forming a part of the coastal left-bank lake system of the Syr Darya delta, in order to clarify the quantitative composition and nature of the avifauna of waders, in the process of restoring the ecological situation in the Aral Sea region.


According to the geographical position on the path of the main migration of birds, the structure of the shoreline and sloping littoral, the structure of the soil and food supply, Lake Cartmaoccupies an optimal position for waders. But at the same time, the reservoir in the system of lakes of the Syr Darya River delta, along with the Northern Aral Sea is at the stage of rehabilitation of the last regression of the Large Aral Sea. The low abundance of species diversity of waders can be explained by the relatively low diversity of phytocenoses of the coastal zone and the unstable regime of water content. Most of the limnophiles of Lake Cartmaare waders, represented by 18 species. Nesting species are prevailed by seasonality; other species visit the lake during the spring-autumn migrations and summer migrations. Comparison of the results of bird counts, conducted in the Aral Sea region, covering a period of about 200 years, shows that waders are one of the main species of avifauna, which basically adhere to the places of habitat and feeding, staying and distribution.


The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.


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