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Location Mongolia, Arkhangai
Central coordinates 99o 45.00' East  48o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 26,800 ha
Altitude 2,060 - 2,703m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description The site is a large freshwater lake in the Khangai Mountain Range. The lake is fed by 10 tributary rivers, including the Khoid Terkh and Urd Terkh Rivers. The lake has a single outlet: the Suman River. There are numerous bays and peninsulas along the northern shore, with a large bay, Jooroin Bay, in the south. The lake has a number of islands and the largest island is called Nuuriin Tolgoi (Chandmani Tolgoi). The lake starts freezing from late October and is frozen until mid-May. To the west, there are a number of smaller lakes (the largest being Khodoo Lake). There is larch-dominated coniferous forest in the surrounding mountains. The main land-use is livestock grazing. Several small-scale tourist camps operate to the northeast of the lake, and there is small-scale commercial fishing and sport-fishing. The dry steppe areas surrounding the lake are subject to overgrazing. There is concern about tourism development, particularly the development of a new camp close to the shore at ‘Swan Lake’, increase in boats, including motor boats, on the lake, and the impact of tourist vehicles. There is also concern about the drying up of small lakes in the west. Due to lower rainfall, the seasonal rivers feeding the lake have dried up. Part of the IBA is designated as Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake Ramsar Site.

Key Biodiversity Globally Threatened species occurring at the site include Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN), Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN), Hooded Crane Grus monacha (VU) and Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU). The site supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of the following congregatory waterbirds: Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo; Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea; Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula; Common Merganser Mergus merganser; and Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. About 4-5% of the global population of Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus occurs at the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are many species of beautiful flowering plants along the lake shore. Pallas’s Cat Felis manul (NT), Grey Wolf Canis lupus, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Corsac Fox V. corsac and Siberian Marmot Marmota sibirica (EN) can be seen at the site.

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 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula breeding  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Goosander Mergus merganser 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 2009  present  A1  Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus 2009  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Great Bustard Otis tarda 2009  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Hooded Crane Grus monacha 2009  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Khorgo Terkh Zagaan Nuur National Conservation Park 77,267 protected area contains site 26,800  
Terhiyn Tsagaan Nuur Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 6,110 protected area contained by site 6,110  


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

Protection status Partially protected by Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake National Park

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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