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Demoiselle Crane Mongolia

Birds Of Mongolia – A Snapshot

Our ‘A Snapshot’ series of posts offers a glimpse into the daily life, culture, and the natural beauty of Mongolia. In this blog post we turn our attention to (some!) of the birds of Mongolia. Marian Herz, a guest of Eternal Landscapes who has journeyed with us on two occasions, shares her passion for birdlife and wildflowers through her lens. Below are some stunning images of Mongolia’s birdlife, captured by Marian during her travels with us.

Mongolia has 70 Important Bird Areas (designated by BirdLife International) throughout the country. It also has some of the last remaining wilderness areas in the natural world. A natural world that is fast changing due to the modern world – with the primary changes being caused by human population growth and alteration of the landscape. These changes have and are affecting Mongolia just as elsewhere – such as the appetite for natural resources that feeds Mongolia’s mining industry. Birds are an integral part of the web of life and are essential components of healthy, functioning ecosystems. Diverse bird populations reflect the underlying health of the ecosystem in which they – and we – live. 

Birds Of Mongolia – The Gobi Desert 

Common Shelduck – Baga Gazriin Chuluu, Dundgobi Aimag

Common Shelduck Mongolia Birds of Mongolia

 

Baga Gazriin Chuluu comprises an area of rocky mountains, semi-desert and dry riverbeds with elm trees. The site is characterised by extensive granite rock formations, surrounded by steppe habitat. The site provides good stopover habitat for many nesting and migrating raptors and other birds.

 

Pied Avocet – Baga Gazriin Chuluu, Dundgobi Aimag

Pied Avocet Mongolia Birds of Mongolia

 Horned Lark – Baga Gazriin Chuluu, Dundgobi Aimag

Horned Lark Mongolia Birds of Mongolia

Lesser Kestrel – Tsagaan Suvraga, Dundgobi Aimag

Tsagaan Suvraga translates into White Stupa and the formations are named for the unique colour of the area as well as their shape. This open expanse consists of sun-scorched rock, scrub, 30m high limestone formations and emptiness.

 

Lesser Kestrel Mongolia Birds of Mongolia

Isabelline Wheatear – Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, Omnogobi Aimag

Isabelline Wheatear Mongolia

Gobi Gurvan Saikhan is Mongolia’s largest national park – a mountainous terrain rising out of the extensive desert plains and a region of incredible biological diversity. This mountainous region was formed by the same tectonic activity that created the Himalayas and is part of the Gobi Altai Range – the outer crumple zone of the Himalayan geological activity.  The site is characterized as a high upland (around 1,000 m in elevation) with dry stream beds, punctuated by mountain ranges rising to 2,835 m, mountain massifs, hummocks and rocky outcrops. 

 

Birds Of Mongolia – Central Heartland 

Red Billed Chough – Khogno Khan Nature Reserve, Bulgan Aimag

Red-billed Chough Mongolia

Khogno Khan Nature Reserve was taken under state protection partly due to the specialised taiga and steppe plants that grow in this area. The small but vital Tarna River provides an essential water source for the nomadic herders and the striking Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes and a small oasis located at the foot of the sand dunes provide a natural habitat for numerous birds such as the Demoiselle Crane. 

 

Common Tern – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, Arkhangai Aimag

Common Tern Mongolia

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur is a large freshwater lake that has 10 tributary rivers and over 6000 hectares of wetlands of international importance. The numerous bays and peninsulas on the northern shore are home to Bar Headed Geese, Ruddy Shellducks and Northern Lapwings. It is one of 70 Important Bird Area’s (IBA) in Mongolia and part of the East Asian Australasian Flyway protecting migratory water birds. 

 

Ruddy Shelduck – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, Arkhangai Aimag 

Ruddy Shelduck Mongolia

 

Birds Of Mongolia – Northern Landscapes

Bar Headed Geese – Ider River, Jargalant, Khovsgol Aimag

Bar-headed Goose Mongolia

Whooper Swan –  Ider River, Jargalant, Khovsgol Aimag

Whooper swan Mongolia

Monk Vultures – Ikh Uul, Khovsgol Aimag

Monk Vulture Mongolia

Demoiselle Cranes – Ikh Uul, Khovsgol Aimag

Demoiselle Crane Mongolia

Becoming a member of the Get Nature Positive movement motivated us to set up ”Байгалийн Баатрууд” – our Heroes Of Nature Eco Club for kids in Ulaanbaatar – Mongolia’s capital city. Our most recent project was ‘Birds Of Ulaanbaatar.’ As mentioned, Mongolia has 70 Important Bird Areas (designated by BirdLife International) throughout the country. Although none of Mongolia’s IBAs are in Ulaanbaatar, – Mongolia’s capital city – urban environments such as Ulaanbaatar do provide a habitat for many bird species. Birds also have a very important part in a healthy ecosystem and are crucial for people and the planet to thrive. When bird species are lost, their particular functions and benefits disappear too. Watching birds also gives urban kids a connection with nature and shows them how we coexist with wildlife. Learn more here https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/introducing-our-heroes-of-nature-eco-club/

 

Our guest Marian Herz was not on a specific nature experience. She joined us on two of our Wild Tracks road trips, (Untamed Mongolia, which provides an overview of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Central Heartland, and Khovsgol and our Eastern Landscapes and Eastern Gobi experience). But, because our extended road trip journeys are intentionally designed to offer our guests a slower-paced exploration as well as a deeper understanding of Mongolia’s diverse landscapes, they work well for general nature photography. But, whether you’re on a specific nature tour or a broader exploratory trip, please remember to:

  • Put the birds first.
  • Avoid getting close – especially during breeding or nesting season – to avoid causing unnecessary disturbance.
  • Stick to marked trails so as to avoid damaging habitat or nests.

There are bird identification books available in Ulaanbaatar – often at Internom, the State Department Store, or the departures lounge bookshop in the airport. The following links may also be of help:

If Marian’s images have inspired you, why not get in touch?

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I'm Jess Brooks, the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia and the voice behind EL's blog posts. For more than a decade, since 2006, I've been based in Mongolia, working closely with my beloved Mongolian team to advocate for a tourism approach that brings about positive change.. What sets our blog apart is our deep understanding of Mongolia—our home. Unlike content from influencers or creators, our posts prioritise authenticity and firsthand knowledge as guiding principles.
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