Country/territory: Turkmenistan

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iv (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 162,909 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2018 not assessed favourable not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The Tejen IBA is a piedmont plain situated in the foothills of the East Kopetdag mountains. The southern part runs along the Turkmen-Iranian border, in the west the border crosses the plain around Chache. The northern border follows the channel of the Garagumdarya, and the east the valley of the Tejen river. The piedmont plain (200-350 m above sea level) consists of loess loams, neogene and anthropogenous sandy loams and clay divided by mudflows. The complex of soils consist of typical and light sandy-loams (sierozems) with small saline depressions. The vegetative cover is predominantly Poa-Carex ephemeral communities (Poa bulbosa + Carex pachystylis), forming sods plus dwarf saxaul-halophytic forbs. The climate closely resembles that of desert. The average annual temperature is +15 to +16С. The absolute minimum temperature is -24 to -36C and the absolute maximum is +45 to +48C. The main period of precipitation is during the winter-spring season with a total of 143 mm. There is a hydrographic network consisting of the Tejen and several small rivers - Mene, Chehelkaman, Chache and Sarygamysh - which completely dry up in the summer. There are a few wells (Kemek) and springs (Zarmi, Sad). The majority of settlements are located on the piedmont plain. The land is used mainly for grazing and small areas of gardens, irrigated land for cotton and vegetables, and dry farming of wheat and barley.

Key biodiversity
221 species have been recorded, the most representative groups being Passeriformes, Anseriformes, Falconiformes and Charadriiformes. Grus grus occurs on passage and in winter. Large numbers, migrating east/west, pass through a bottle neck on the Mene-Chache plain. Spring migration lasts from the end of February to the middle of April (c50 days), autumn migration is from the first half of September to the beginning of November (53 days). Numbers of Grus grus increase rapidly. According to counts in 1985 (30.03. and 1.04.) on the Mene-Chache plain 8,950 cranes (or 6.2 indviduals/km) were recorded; in the spring of 1987 (25.03. and 15.04.) 1,319 and 314 birds were noted (Korshunov, 1989). Regular monitoring from 1988-1992 recorded a spring total of 27,931 cranes (or 336 flocks averaging c7,000 individuals per year), and an autumn total of 57,805 individuals (374 flocks averaging c15,000 per year). Overall this gave 85,736 individuals (or 710 flocks). This suggests an average annual spring-autumn migration of 21,434 individuals or 177.5 flocks of crane (Efimenko, 1990;2002), with up to 200 individuals/day/km surveyed. Good food supplies and little disturbance encourage birds to stay for 60-70 days. During field monitoring in April 2007 2,397 individuals or 107 flocks of crane were recorded - minimum size of flock 1, maximum 250 (average 22.4 individuals). The largest number of cranes passed on 4.04.07. (1,643 individuals, 73 flocks or 68.5% of the total recorded). On 5.04.07., 84 individuals (5 flocks), 6.04.07 – 585 individuals (27 flocks) and 7.04.07. – 85 individuals (2 flocks) were observed. The Mene-Chache piedmont area is one of the main migratory corridors of crane, and not only in Turkmenistan, but, apparently, in all of south Central Asia. Key locations are Stow Durnali and Gosha-depe. In addition to crane, other threatened species recorded are: Tetrax tetrax, Chlamydotis undulata, Coracias garrulus, Aegypius monachus and Aquila heliaca, and species in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Buteo buteo, Gypaetus barbatus, Falco pelegrinoides, Falco cherrug and Bubo bubo. Several biome-restricted species also occur: Eurasian desert and semi-desert - Charadrius leschenaultii and Sylvia nana (CA04b); Eurasian steppe - Calandrella brachydactyla (CA04а); and Irano-Turanian mountains - Oenanthe picata (CA06).

Non-bird biodiversity: The flora contains more than 500 species. The vegetative cover is characterized by bulbous ephemeroids and ephemerals (Poa bulbosa-Carex pachystylis-Ephemerae) as one of the variants of the desert communities of piedmont plains. Shrubby and under-shrubby (Artemisia) associations are very limited in distribution. On rubble soils small patches of Hultemia persica and Ephedra intermedia form. Vegetation varies with relief and degree of soil salinization: ephemeral vegetation gradually passes into patches of Buhsea coluteoides, Salsola bungeana, S.kurbanovii and Reaumuria turkestanica, mixed with glasswort (Salsola glauca, S. subaphylla, S. dendroides), sagebrush (Artemisia scoparia, A. badhysi, A. turanica) and almonds (Amygdalus spinosissima). On salt marshes in the neighbourhood of Mene and Chache there is a psammophyte variant formed by thickets of Kalidium caspicum with scattered bushes of Reaumuria korovinii and Halotamnus acutifolius and Poa bulbosa. There are many rare species such as Tulipa lehmanniana, Malacocarpus crithmifolius and Gundelia tournefortii. Endemics are Salsola kurbanovii and Salsola bungeana which reaches its north-east border in the interfluves of the Mene and Chache. The rare Iranian species, Atalanthus acanthioides, grows in the Hojabolan area. (German, Kamakhina, 1983; Nikitin, Geldykhanov, 1988). Pistacia vera was planted in the neighbourhood of Mene in 1978 and some still survive. Amphibia and reptiles. Amphibia - 1 species and 16 reptiles (including 1 subspecies). Mammals - 20 species: Lagomorpha – 1 , rodents - 16, predators - 1 and 2 species of artiodactyles. Large mammals include Vulpes corsac, Gazella subgutturosa and Sus scrofa. Onager have been reintroduced to the Mene-Chache zakaznik since 1978. The total population today is about 100 individuals.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Tejen. Downloaded from on 09/06/2023.