|Central coordinates||58o 56.31' East 37o 55.38' North|
|IBA criteria||A3, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||134 - 140m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
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.
Key Biodiversity About 180 species have been recorded: nesting - 51, resident - 17. Many species of biomes CA04a and CA04b are recorded and populations appear to be stable. During the last 3 years there has been an appreciable increase in numbers of Pygmy Cormorant. Species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) and potentially occurring are: Platalea leucorodia, Buteo buteo, Porphyrio porphyrio, Tetrax tetrax, Burhinus oedicnemus, Cursorius cursor and Bubo bubo.
Non-bird 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.
|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|
|2007||low||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Agricultural expansion and intensification||livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species||hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target)||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Desert||Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy||60%|
|Artificial - terrestrial||Arable land||10%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
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 20/12/2014
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