Khoton & Khurgan lakes

Surface area: 19.3629 ha
Elevation: 2.072-3.245m

Protection status: Fully protected by Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.

Site description: The most important area for birds of Khoton-Khurgan Lakes consists of two lakes, of glacial origin, located at the source of Khovd River in the middle of Altai Mountains valley, Tsengel village. These two lakes are connected by 3 km-long Sargaal channel and freeze over from November to June. Khurgan Lake has total of 20 small and large islands. There is larch forest around the lake and in its surrounding mountains. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped Mongol Altai high mountains with glaciers. However, the lakes are rich in fish, fishery is not practiced here. The major use of land is livestock grazing.

Importance for birds: Globally and locally threatened bird species such as Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and White-throated Bushchat (Saxicola insignis) are recorded at this site. The site supports bird species of the Eurasian high montane, steppe and dessert biome and Kozlov's Accentor or Mongolian Accentor (Prunella koslowi), whose breeding range defines the Mongolian mountains secondary area. Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) occur, reaching at least 1% of their flyway populations.

Special flora and fauna: The site also supports Mongolian grayling (Thymallus brevirostris), narrow-headed Altai osman (Oreoleuciscus angusticephalus) and dwarf osman (Oreoleuciscus humilis), recorded in endangered fish species list of Mongolian Red Data Book.

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