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Location Mongolia, Khovd
Central coordinates 92o 10.00' East  47o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 140,400 ha
Altitude 1,157 - 1,452m
Year of IBA assessment 2009





Site description Khar Us Lake lies 20 km to the east of Khovd City. It is a freshwater lake, fed by the Khovd, Buyant and Tsenkher Rivers, and drained by the Chono-kharaikh River. There are over 20 islands in the lake, of which Agbash Island is the largest. The lake is frozen from November until April. There are extensive reed beds along the southern, western and eastern shores. Surrounding the lake is desert steppe, dry steppe, and semi-desert. At the southeastern edge of the lake is a high mountain, Jargalant Khairkhan, with mountain steppe vegetation. The site is used mainly as pasture for livestock. Problems at the site include burning of reeds, off-road driving and clear-cutting of vegetation, resulting in desertification around the lake. Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus was introduced to the lake in the 1980s, and is now having a negative impact on the lake ecosystem. The IBA overlaps with Khar Us Lake National Park Ramsar Site. There is an elevated concern about the construction of Dorgon Hydropower Project. Although the dam is outside of the IBA, the water level increase after the dam is built may cause some environmental problems. WWF is conducting a monitoring project at the dam site.

Key Biodiversity Khar Us Lake lies 20 km to the east of Khovd City. It is a freshwater lake, fed by the Khovd, Buyant and Tsenkher Rivers, and drained by the Chono-kharaikh River. There are over 20 islands in the lake, of which Agbash Island is the largest. The lake is frozen from November until April. There are extensive reed beds along the southern, western and eastern shores. Surrounding the lake is desert steppe, dry steppe, and semi-desert. At the southeastern edge of the lake is a high mountain, Jargalant Khairkhan, with mountain steppe vegetation. The site is used mainly as pasture for livestock. Problems at the site include burning of reeds, off-road driving and clear-cutting of vegetation, resulting in desertification around the lake. Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus was introduced to the lake in the 1980s, and is now having a negative impact on the lake ecosystem. The IBA overlaps with Khar Us Lake National Park Ramsar Site. There is an elevated concern about the construction of Dorgon Hydropower Project. Although the dam is outside of the IBA, the water level increase after the dam is built may cause some environmental problems. WWF is conducting a monitoring project at the dam site.

Non-bird biodiversity: Several fish species endemic to western Mongolia inhabit the lake, namely Lake Osman Oreoleuciscus angusticephalus, Potanin’s Osman O. potanini, Small Osman O. humilis and Mongolian Grayling Thymallus revirostris.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swan Goose Anser cygnoid breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Northern Pintail Anas acuta 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Gadwall Mareca strepera 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Goosander Mergus merganser 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala breeding  2004  present  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus breeding  2004  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-naped Crane Antigone vipio 2009  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Common Crane Grus grus 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus 2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Relict Gull Larus relictus breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Har Us Nuur National Conservation Park 850,272 protected area contains site 140,400  
Har Us Nuur National Park Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 321,360 protected area overlaps with site 25,200  

Habitats

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

Protection status Partially protected by Khar Us Lake National Park

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khar Us Lake. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife