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Location China (mainland), Tibet
Central coordinates 88o 0.00' East  35o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, A4iv
Area 33,792,000 ha
Altitude 4,800 - 5,000m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description Located in north-western Tibet, south-western Qinghai and south-eastern Xinjiang. The climate in the IBA is cold and dry, with strong radiation. The main vegetation type is high-altitude grassland. There are extensive inland river systems within the IBA, including the source of Yangtze River.

Key Biodiversity 

Non-bird biodiversity: Nationally protected animals including Ursus arctos, Panthra uncia, Bos mutus, Equus kiang and Pantholops hodgsoni.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus unknown  2008  12,000-16,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea unknown  2008  8,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus unknown  2008  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca passage  2008  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis breeding  1999  1,200-1,600 individuals  unknown  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus winter  2008  10,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus passage  2008  present  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2008  present  A4iii   
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  2004  min 20,000 individuals  A4iv   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Qiangtang Nature Reserve 29,800,000 protected area contained by site 29,800,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Grassland   -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Changtang plateau. Downloaded from on 01/12/2015

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