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Location Turkmenistan, Akhal
Central coordinates 58o 56.31' East  37o 55.38' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 289 ha
Altitude 134 - 140m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (Country programme)



Site description The IBA is located 45 km to the north-east of Ashgabat in the landscape unit (stow) "Kulan-Kyrlan". In the west it borders with the "M.Sopyyev" farm, in the south with the "Suytchilik" farm and in the north with the "Altyn-asyr" farm. The "Mergen" hunting-fishing base was established in 1998 on the site of the Gyaurs nursery for rearing rare animals formerly belonging to the Turkmen Society for Nature Protection (since 1993). The site covers just over 289 hectares: fallow lands, pastures, sands and open water. The main source of irrigation water for the arable lands is water from the Garagumdarya, arriving by pipeline and a collector network. In the IBA there is one discharge canal from which waters coming from 2 lakes arrive. In the centre of the site, running from south-west to north-east, is the К-3 collector channel. The climate is extreme continental, with large fluctuations of daily temperatures, high in summer (+28 to +30C) and low in winter (+1 to +4C). The average minimum in January is 3C, the maximum in July +37.5C. The absolute minimum temperature is –26C and the absolute maximum +46C. The duration of the frost-free period is 231 days. The average annual rainfall is 195 mm. East and north-west winds are dominant. The relief is basically hilly fixed sands. In the site takyr-desert soils prevail. Typical vegetative cover is: Salsola-grass, Calligonum-Salsola with grasses, grasses with ephemerals, and Karelinia-Alhagi-Phragmites.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  1996-2007  12-2,500 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  1996-2007  55-1,200 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor breeding  1996-2007  5-25 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius breeding  1996-2007  1 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta resident  1996-2007  2 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama breeding  1996-2007  4 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus breeding  1996-2007  5 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps breeding  1996-2007  4 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1996  min 20,000 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Low bushes  20%
Desert Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy  60%
Wetlands (inland)   10%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 10%
hunting 90%

Other biodiversity Mammals - 29 species. Large mammals include wild boar, jackal, fox and nutria (introduced in 1986). Two to three species of chiropteran can be found in constructions and tree hollows. Amphibians - 2 species: lake frog and green toad. 13 species of reptile. The following vegetation types are characteristic: Salsola-grass, Calligonum-Salsola with grasses, grasses with ephemerals, and Karelinia-Alhagi-Phragmites. On the shore of flooded areas there are patches of oleaster, poplar and tamarix.

Protection status Not protected.

References Dementyev P.G. (1952) Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 1. 546p.(in russian). Rustamov A.K. (1958) Birds of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences TSSR, Volume 2. 333p. (in russian).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mergen. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/08/2014

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