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Location Mongolia, Khovsgol
Central coordinates 100o 20.00' East  50o 32.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 86,000 ha
Altitude 1,645 - 2,094m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description Khovsgol Lake is a beautiful freshwater lake, fed by many in-flowing rivers and drained by a single outlet, Eg River, which flows into the Selenge tributary of Lake Baikal. The lake is frozen from late November until May. The high mountains of Bayan, Khoridol Saridag and Munkh Saridag rise from the northwestern shores of the lake. There are a lot of cliffs, bays, islands and peninsulas along the shore, and the lake also contains a number of islands, such as Dalain Khuis, Modon Khuis, Khadan Khuis and Baga Khuis. Out of these, Dalain Khuis is the largest and is covered by forest. There are forests of Siberian Larch and cedar in the surrounding area. There are two small settlements, Khankh and Khatgal, on the southern and northern shores of the lake, respectively. In recent years, recreation, tourism and sport fishing have increased rapidly, and the lake has become a popular destination for foreign tourists. Pressures include habitat degradation due to overgrazing, and drying out due to a warmer climate. There is also over-fishing, and an accumulation of waste in tourist areas. There are number of motor and jet boats being used for scientific research, tourism, cargo and human transportation purposes, which result in disturbance and water pollution. A phosphorite deposit, discovered in the late 1980s, has lead to intensive prospecting, resulting in some damage to the area. Wastewater leakages from wool processing factories and oil tanks are also polluting the lake.

Key Biodiversity Globally Threatened species occurring at the site are Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN), Baikal Teal Anas formosa (VU), Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (VU), Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU), Hooded Crane Grus monacha (VU) and Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU). The site supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula and Common Merganser Mergus merganser.

Non-bird biodiversity: Some mammals can be found in nearby mountains, including European Elk Alces alces, Siberian Musk Deer Moschus moschiferus (VU), Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx and Stone Marten Martes foina. Diversity of invertebrates, especially insects, is rich and there are many rare species present in the lake.

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 
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Baikal Teal Sibirionetta formosa passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula breeding  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Goosander Mergus merganser 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 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 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Great Bustard Otis tarda breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Hooded Crane Grus monacha breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Khovsgol lake National Conservation Park 838,070 protected area contains site 86,000  


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

Protection status Fully protected by Khovsgol Lake National Park

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khovsgol Lake. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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