Erdenesant is an area of mountain steppe, rocky mountain and grassland, characterised by a chain of narrow mountain ranges. Extensive rock formations are found mostly on south-facing slopes; north-facing slopes are less steep. The adjacent areas are dominated by grassy steppe. There is a small lake on the south side of the mountains, which dries out in some years. Livestock husbandry is the main land use. Increasing livestock numbers pose a serious threat to the steppe habitat. In addition, the number of vehicles used by herders has dramatically increased in recent years, causing soil erosion. Erdenesant lies close to Batkhaan Nature Reserve, which is a regional level sacred site. There have been suggestions that Erdenesant should be included within this nature reserve.
Over 110 bird species have been recorded at the site, including three Globally Threatened species: Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (VU); Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN); and Lesser Kestrel F. naumanni (VU). The site is particularly important for Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus (NT). Other Red Data Book of Mongolia species recorded at the site include Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus, Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus and Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis. Hundreds of Demoiselle Cranes Anthropoides virgo congregate before fall migration, amounting to at least 1% of the flyway population of this species. In total, 19 diurnal raptor species are found at Erdenesant, with Cinereous Vulture being the most abundant breeding species, with one of the highest nesting densities anywhere in Mongolia.
Non-bird biodiversity: Small herds of Mongolian Gazelle Procapra gutturosa winter in the area. The site represents the northernmost extent of the range of Stone Marten Martes foina in Mongolia. Red Deer Cervus elaphus, Siberian Ibex Capra sibirica and Argali Ovis ammon (NT) can also be seen as they move among adjacent mountains.Attributes
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Erdenesant Mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/12/2019.