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Location Turkmenistan, Akhal
Central coordinates 60o 47.43' East  36o 47.34' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iv
Area 162,909 ha
Altitude 216 - 550m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The Tejen IBA is a piedmont plain situated in the foothills of the East Kopetdag mountains. The southern part runs along the Turkmen-Iranian border, in the west the border crosses the plain around Chache. The northern border follows the channel of the Garagumdarya, and the east the valley of the Tejen river. The piedmont plain (200-350 m above sea level) consists of loess loams, neogene and anthropogenous sandy loams and clay divided by mudflows. The complex of soils consist of typical and light sandy-loams (sierozems) with small saline depressions. The vegetative cover is predominantly Poa-Carex ephemeral communities (Poa bulbosa + Carex pachystylis), forming sods plus dwarf saxaul-halophytic forbs. The climate closely resembles that of desert. The average annual temperature is +15 to +16С. The absolute minimum temperature is -24 to -36C and the absolute maximum is +45 to +48C. The main period of precipitation is during the winter-spring season with a total of 143 mm. There is a hydrographic network consisting of the Tejen and several small rivers - Mene, Chehelkaman, Chache and Sarygamysh - which completely dry up in the summer. There are a few wells (Kemek) and springs (Zarmi, Sad). The majority of settlements are located on the piedmont plain. The land is used mainly for grazing and small areas of gardens, irrigated land for cotton and vegetables, and dry farming of wheat and barley.

Key Biodiversity 221 species have been recorded, the most representative groups being Passeriformes, Anseriformes, Falconiformes and Charadriiformes. Grus grus occurs on passage and in winter. Large numbers, migrating east/west, pass through a bottle neck on the Mene-Chache plain. Spring migration lasts from the end of February to the middle of April (c50 days), autumn migration is from the first half of September to the beginning of November (53 days). Numbers of Grus grus increase rapidly. According to counts in 1985 (30.03. and 1.04.) on the Mene-Chache plain 8,950 cranes (or 6.2 indviduals/km) were recorded; in the spring of 1987 (25.03. and 15.04.) 1,319 and 314 birds were noted (Korshunov, 1989). Regular monitoring from 1988-1992 recorded a spring total of 27,931 cranes (or 336 flocks averaging c7,000 individuals per year), and an autumn total of 57,805 individuals (374 flocks averaging c15,000 per year). Overall this gave 85,736 individuals (or 710 flocks). This suggests an average annual spring-autumn migration of 21,434 individuals or 177.5 flocks of crane (Efimenko, 1990;2002), with up to 200 individuals/day/km surveyed. Good food supplies and little disturbance encourage birds to stay for 60-70 days. During field monitoring in April 2007 2,397 individuals or 107 flocks of crane were recorded - minimum size of flock 1, maximum 250 (average 22.4 individuals). The largest number of cranes passed on 4.04.07. (1,643 individuals, 73 flocks or 68.5% of the total recorded). On 5.04.07., 84 individuals (5 flocks), 6.04.07 – 585 individuals (27 flocks) and 7.04.07. – 85 individuals (2 flocks) were observed. The Mene-Chache piedmont area is one of the main migratory corridors of crane, and not only in Turkmenistan, but, apparently, in all of south Central Asia. Key locations are Stow Durnali and Gosha-depe. In addition to crane, other threatened species recorded are: Tetrax tetrax, Chlamydotis undulata, Coracias garrulus, Aegypius monachus and Aquila heliaca, and species in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Buteo buteo, Gypaetus barbatus, Falco pelegrinoides, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo. Several biome-restricted species also occur: Eurasian desert and semi-desert - Charadrius leschenaultii and Sylvia nana (CA04b); Eurasian steppe - Calandrella brachydactyla (CA04а); and Irano-Turanian mountains - Oenanthe picata (CA06).

Non-bird biodiversity: The flora contains more than 500 species. The vegetative cover is characterized by bulbous ephemeroids and ephemerals (Poa bulbosa-Carex pachystylis-Ephemerae) as one of the variants of the desert communities of piedmont plains. Shrubby and under-shrubby (Artemisia) associations are very limited in distribution. On rubble soils small patches of Hultemia persica and Ephedra intermedia form. Vegetation varies with relief and degree of soil salinization: ephemeral vegetation gradually passes into patches of Buhsea coluteoides, Salsola bungeana, S.kurbanovii and Reaumuria turkestanica, mixed with glasswort (Salsola glauca, S. subaphylla, S. dendroides), sagebrush (Artemisia scoparia, A. badhysi, A. turanica) and almonds (Amygdalus spinosissima). On salt marshes in the neighbourhood of Mene and Chache there is a psammophyte variant formed by thickets of Kalidium caspicum with scattered bushes of Reaumuria korovinii and Halotamnus acutifolius and Poa bulbosa. There are many rare species such as Tulipa lehmanniana, Malacocarpus crithmifolius and Gundelia tournefortii. Endemics are Salsola kurbanovii and Salsola bungeana which reaches its north-east border in the interfluves of the Mene and Chache. The rare Iranian species, Atalanthus acanthioides, grows in the Hojabolan area. (German, Kamakhina, 1983; Nikitin, Geldykhanov, 1988). Pistacia vera was planted in the neighbourhood of Mene in 1978 and some still survive. Amphibia and reptiles. Amphibia - 1 species and 16 reptiles (including 1 subspecies). Mammals - 20 species: Lagomorpha – 1 , rodents - 16, predators - 1 and 2 species of artiodactyles. Large mammals include Vulpes corsac, Gazella subgutturosa and Sus scrofa. Onager have been reintroduced to the Mene-Chache zakaznik since 1978. The total population today is about 100 individuals.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  1990  1 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Common Crane Grus grus passage  1988-2007  7,000-20,000 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallid Scops-owl Otus brucei breeding  2006  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  2006  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus passage  1990-2007  3-70 individuals  medium  A1  Least Concern 
White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus resident  2006  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  2006  10 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  2006  30 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida breeding  2006  40 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  2007  25 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  2006  15 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1988-2007  7,000-20,000 individuals  good  A4iv   

IBA Monitoring

2007 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Meana-Chaacha Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 60,000 protected area overlaps with site 32,582  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes; Scrub  12%
Grassland Dry grassland on sandy soils; Steppes & dry calcareous  40%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy; Desert & semi-desert - stony  29%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Water-fringe vegetation  9%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Forestry plantations; Ruderal land  10%

Land ownership State.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 32%
nature conservation and research 40%
urban/industrial/transport 13%
not utilised 15%

Protection status Mene-Chache State Nature zakaznik.

References Atayev Ch.А. (1985). Reptiles of mountains of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat:Ylym. (in russian) Bulyuk V.N., Shamuradov, А.К. (1994). Day migrations of birds in Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. (in russian) German V.B., Kamahina G.L. (1983). The natural conditions of Mena-Chache zakaznik and the first experience for reacclimatization of onager (kulan). Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences. Biology Science. №1. (in russian) Efimenko, N.N. (1990). Autumn migration on the Common Crane over the eastern Kopetdag. Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences. Biology Science. №4. (in russian) Efimenko, N.N. (1995). Spring migration on the Common Crane over the eastern Kopetdag Editor by Hartwig Prange – Crane research and Protection in Europe/Lufthansa. C.274. (in english) Ефименко, Н.Н. (2002). Migration on the Common Crane in the eastern Kopetdag // Problems of desert developments, № 3. (in russian). Korshunov V.M. (1989). An estimation of quantity of Common Cranes on spring migrations on Kopetdag piedmont plain in places of their concentration. Thesis of the Report of All-Union Meeting on a problem of the Cadastre and the fauna accounting. Ufa. USSR. (in russian). Kucheruk V.V. and Hlyap L.A. (2005) Lagomorpha and rodents of deserts of Central Asia. Moscow. (in russian). Kucheruk V.V. (1995) Mammals of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Ylym. (in russian). National environmental action plan of Saparmyrat Turkmenbashy President of Turkmenistan (2002). Ashgabat. (in english) Rajapov M. (2002) Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Turkmenistan.(in english) Rajapov M. (2002) Country study report on the status of Biodiversity of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Turkmenistan.(in english) Rajapov M. (2002) Red Data Book of Turkmenistan. Invertebrates and vertebrate animals. (V.2). Ashgabat. (in russian). Rustamov E.A. (2004). Wintering of Common Cranes in Turkmenistan. – Information bulletin RGJ of Eurasia, Issue 7-8. Moscow. (in russian). Rustamov E.A., Saparmuradov D.S. (2005). Common Crane in Turkmenistan. Cranes of Eurasia. Issue 2. Moscow. (in russian). Saparmuradov D.S. (2001). Modern condition of protection and a level of studied of cranes in Turkmenistan. Information bulletin RGJ of Eurasia, Issue 2. Moscow. (in russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tejen. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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