Valleys of Khurkh - Khuiten rivers

Surface area: 35,722 ha
Elevation: 1,074-1,361 m

Protection status: Unprotected.

Site description: The site comprises groups of small lakes in the Khurkh and Khuiten river valleys, characterized by forest steppe vegetation zone, located in Binder, Bayan-Adraga, Batshireet and Umnudelger soums, Khentii province. The small lakes divide into “A” and “B” sectors. “A” sector or Khurkh river valley includes group of lakes along Binder, Duut, Khulst and Bayan Burd Lakes, while “B” sector or Khuiten river valley includes small lakes along Ikh Burd, Ulaan Toirom, Khulst, Ulaan Undur and Khukh Lakes. Surrounding mountains of the site are sparsely forested. There are agricultural fields along foothills of adjacent mountains that mostly grow wheat. Thus, the site provides good habitat for birds. There are separate group of riparian forests along the river. The site has potential to develop ecotourism. In recent years climate changes leading to dry small lakes and streams. Local herders started to settle on the lake shores for a long period, due to increase of degradation of pastureland and shortage of water. In addition, livestock of herders causing disturbance to birds nesting and breeding.

Importance for birds: Globally threatened bird species such as Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Lesser White-fronted Goose (A. erythropus), Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliacal), Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus), White-naped Crane (G. vipio), Hooded Crane (G.monacha), Red-crowned Crane (G. japonensis), Great Bustard (Otis tarda) occur at the site. Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Bean Goose (A.fabalis), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), Common Teal (Anas creeca),Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), White-naped Crane (Grus vipio), Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo), Common Crane (Grus grus) and Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) gather here in flocks, exceeding 1% of their flyway populations. Khurkh-Khuiten river valleys are important areas, restricted to the North East Asian Crane Site Network.

Special flora and fauna: Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Corsac Fox (V. corsac), Grey Wolf (Canis lupus), Siberian Marmot (Marmota sibirica) and Daurian Hedgehog (Mesechinus dauuricus), listed in the Red Data Book of Mongolia, occur at the site. Woody plants such as birch, larch and popler trees are abundant in the valley.