Erkhel lake

Surface area: 3,537 ha
Elevation: 1,544-1,850 m

Protection status: Unprotected.

Site description: The saline lake without outflow, Erkhel is located in north foothill of Burenkhaan Mountain, Alag-Erdene soum, Khuvsgul province. The lake surrounded by dry steppe vegetation zone. Freshwater spring, Erelkhiin Turuu enters to the lake from its northwest thus salinity is less in this part and there are several small islands favorable for waterbirds. The major land use is livestock grazing because farming not practiced here. Lake’s salt is used for local husbandry. In 2005 an 2006 consecutive avian influenza occurred in the Erkhel Lake.

Importance for birds: Globally threatened bird species such as Lesser Kestrel (F.naumanni), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) and Great Bustard (Otis tarda) occur at the site. The site also supports bird species of the Eurasian steppe and desert biome. Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Falcated Duck (Anas falcata), Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope), Northern shovelers (Anas clypeta), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), Common Goldeneye (Becephala clangula), Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) gather here in flocks, exceeding 1% of their flyway populations. Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) and Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) gather in flocks to shed their feathers. Several raptors, including Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) stop over at the site during their migration.

Special flora and fauna: Globally endangered Pallas's Cat (Felis manul) occurs at the site. Grey Wolf (Canis lupus), Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac), Red Fox (V. vulpes) and Tarbagan marmot (Marmota sibirica), listed in Red Data Book of Mongolia also occur here.