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Location China (mainland), Gansu
Central coordinates 96o 25.00' East  39o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4iii
Area 7,280,000 ha
Altitude 1,100 - 5,798m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description Located in the western part of Gansu Province, adjacent to Qinghai Province. The climate of this mountainous IBA is temperate semi-arid, and the habitats range from steppe to semi-desert, but there are also grasslands, scrub and broadleaf forests. The human population is low and mostly relies on herding, with agricultural activities in a few areas. The Qilian Shan and Mazong Shan mountains are important pathways for migratory birds.

Key Biodiversity 

Non-bird biodiversity: Many protected mammals are found in this nature reserve, such as Snow Leopard, Lynx, Mongolian Wild Ass, Tibetan Wild Ass, Wild Camel etc.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri unknown  2008  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni unknown  2008  present  A1  Least Concern 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca unknown  2008  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus unknown  2008  rare  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis unknown  1997  5-6 individuals  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Relict Gull Larus relictus unknown  1985  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2008  present  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Anxijihanhuangmo Nature Reserve 800,000 protected area contained by site 800,000  
Dasuganhu Nature Reserve 9,640 protected area contained by site 9,640  
Dunhuang Nature Reserve 3,441,170 protected area contained by site 3,441,170  
Xiaosuganhu Nature Reserve 3,500 protected area contained by site 3,500  

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Dunhuang Nature Reserve and Western Qilian Shan mountains. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife