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Location India, Jammu & Kashmir
Central coordinates 78o 45.00' East  33o 35.05' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 1,500 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Chushul Marshes lie within Changthan, east and west of Chushul village near the Chinese border. The habitats consist of shallow ponds, marshes, borax plains and wet meadows in a broad sandy valley. Springs and streams flowing down into the Valley from the Ladakh range create the ponds and marshes. Some streams terminate on the sandy plains in stagnant pools which become more saline as they evaporate. Others carry enough water to flow into the Pangong Tso. Most of the ponds and marshes remain frozen from November to March. The principal vegetation consists of species of Hydrilla, Myriophyllum in the ponds and Carex, other sedges and grasses in the marshes. The surrounding steppe is dominated by Caragana.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The wetland is an important breeding area for several species of waterfowl, such as the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus, Common Redshank Tringa totanus and Common Tern Sterna hirundo. Three pairs of Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis inhabit the Chushul marshes, of which two pairs are consistently breeding at Tsigul Tso and Tso Nyak (Hussain and Pandav 2001; Rauf Zargar pers. comm. 2003). Some pairs of Barheaded Geese Anser indicus also breed here. The Tibetan Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes tibetanus, and Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae representing Biome-5 occur on the surrounding dry plains.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The other important fauna of the site include Tibetan Wild Ass Equus kiang. Tibetan Argali Ovis ammon, Blue Sheep or Bharal Pseudois nayaur and Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata (Rauf Zargar pers. comm. 2003).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Urban settlements

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Rauf Zargar, Bivash Pandav and S. A. Hussain.


Hussain, S. A. and Pandav, B (2001) Bench mark ecological status of wetlands of Ladakh, Study report – 2001. Wildlife Insitute of India, Dehra Dun. India, Pp. 1-13.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chushul marshes. Downloaded from on 07/05/2015

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