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Location Mongolia, Dornod
Central coordinates 117o 48.00' East  47o 46.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 43,200 ha
Altitude 583 - 609m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description Buir Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Mongolia. The lake is located on the border with China, with a narrow band of the northwest of the lake extending into Chinese territory. There are extensive areas of wet grassland, reed beds and willows in the Khalkh River delta. There is only one outfl ow from the lake: the Orshuun River. The lake is frozen between November and the end of April. There are sand dunes at the southern end of the lake, containing several small lakes, and with steppe habitat beyond them. The site is an important area for fishing, and illegal fishing from the Chinese side is often reported. There are some recreational and tourism activities at the site, which is located along the main road from Choibalsan to Khalkhgol soum, and the number of visitors is increasing. Buir Lake and its surrounding wetlands were nominated as a Ramsar Site in 2004.

Key Biodiversity Globally Threatened species found at Buir Lake comprise Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana (EN), Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN; in summer 2002, over half of the global population was recorded on the lake), Baikal Teal Anas formosa (VU), Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU), Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus (CR), White-naped Crane G. vipio (VU), Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU) and Relict Gull Larus relictus (VU). The site supports an assemblage of species restricted to the Eurasian steppe and desert biome. The site also supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Swan Goose Anser cygnoides, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Common Shelduck T. tadorna and Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mongolian Gazelle Procapra gutturosa, Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra and Taimen Hucho taimen are a few of the nationally threatened species that inhabit the site. Large herds of Mongolian Gazelle frequent the area south of the lake all year around.

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, A4i  Vulnerable 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Baikal Teal Sibirionetta formosa passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
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 
Great Bustard Otis tarda breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus passage  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
White-naped Crane Antigone vipio breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
Relict Gull Larus relictus breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Buir and its surrounding wetlands Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 104,000 protected area contains site 43,200  


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

Protection status Unprotected

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Buir Lake. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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