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Location Mongolia, Khovsgol
Central coordinates 99o 27.00' East  51o 1.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 109,900 ha
Altitude 1,538 - 1,970m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description This beautiful depression in northern Mongolia contains a group of freshwater lakes, situated in Ulaan Uul, Renchinlkhumbe and Tsagaan Nuur soums of Khovsgol aimag. The depression is about 150 km long and 40 km wide, and is surrounded by high mountains. The depression receives water from many montane rivers, such as the Bagtakh, Khug, Ar Khoridol, Arsai, Sharga, Tengis and Shishkhed Rivers, and is thus rich in wetlands and lakes. These are surrounded by diverse habitats, including dry steppe, boreal forest (taiga) and alpine vegetation. The land is used as pasture for livestock and for preparing fodder. The area is suitable for recreation and ecotourism development.

Key Biodiversity Globally Threatened species found at the site are Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (VU), Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN), Lesser Kestrel F. naumanni (VU) and Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU). Also occurring are several species listed in the Red Data Book of Mongolia, such as Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus and White Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia. The following congregatory waterbird species occur in concentrations equivalent to at least 1% of their flyway populations: Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Gadwall Anas strepera and Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula. The site supports an assemblage of species restricted to the Eurasian steppe and desert biome, including Daurian Partridge Perdix dauurica, Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis, Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo, Great Bustard and Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka.

Non-bird biodiversity: The site is not known to have special signifi cance for species other than birds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Daurian Partridge Perdix dauurica 2009  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula breeding  2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 2009  present  A1  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 2009  present  A1  Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 2009  present  A3  Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga 2009  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Great Bustard Otis tarda 2009  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo 2009  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka 2009  present  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Forest Forest steppe (temperate/boreal)  -
Grassland   -

Protection status Unprotected

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Darkhad Depression. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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