Located on the northern slope of the Tian Shan mountains, and in the southern part of the Junggar Basin. The main river of the IBA is the Manas, which originates from the central section of the Tian Shan, and the flood plain has fertile soil. The man-made channels, networks of natural rivers and the lakes are important staging areas for migratory birds. The Gurbantünggüt Desert and surrounding areas are within the historical ranges of Camelus ferus, Equus hemionus, Gazella subgutturosa and Saiga tatarica.
Non-bird biodiversity: Historical records of Equus przewalskii and Saiga tatarica, but they are now locally extinct. Other animals include Equus hemionus and Gazella subgutturosa.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity