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Location Philippines, Region XII
Central coordinates 124o 15.00' East  7o 53.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 34,700 ha
Altitude 710 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Haribon Foundation

Site description Lake Lanao is the second largest lake in the Philippines and the largest in Mindanao. It is a large, oligotrophic, freshwater lake, formed by the tectonic volcanic damming of a basin between two mountain ranges and the collapse of a large volcano. This IBA includes the lake itself and some extensive forest cover on its south and southeast shorelines. Some of the higher altitude forests of the Lake Lanao Watershed are included in the Butig Mountains (PH099) and Mt Piagayungan (PH098). There are extensive reed beds around the edges of the lake, and large areas of Eichhornia crassipes and other aquatic vegetation on the lake surface. Most of the surrounding areas have been cleared for agriculture but there is still some primary lowland dipterocarp forest on the nearby Sacred Mountain, and there are patches of secondary dipterocarp forest at Wao. The lake serves as a reservoir for the generation of hydroelectric power on the Agus River, which generates 70% of the electricity used by the people of Mindanao. It supports a major fishery, and is important for recreational activities including boating, swimming and sport fishing. There are several towns and many villages around it, and a Mindanao State University campus is situated there.

Key Biodiversity Several of the threatened and restricted-range species of the Mindanao and Eastern Visayas Endemic Bird Area have been recorded around Lake Lanao, all forest birds apart from Spot-billed Pelican and Philippine Duck. The pelican is extinct there, but Philippine Duck probably still occurs, as the lake is reported to support large numbers of waterfowl. It is likely that some of the old bird records from ‘near Lake Lanao’ were actually collected in, for example, the nearby Mt. Piagayungan (PH098) or the Butig Mountains (PH099). However, the limited area of lowland forest near the lake could still support some forest birds.

Non-bird biodiversity: Lake Lanao is of great limnological interest. The fauna includes many species of fishes and invertebrates that are endemic to the lake, and presents an outstanding opportunity for research on evolution in the Cyprinids. There are about twenty species of Cyprinidae endemic to the lake, but many of the other fishes occurring in the lake have been introduced.. Mammals occurring in the area include wild pig (probably Sus philippensis) and deer Cervus mariannus and many endemic small mammals.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Philippine Duck Anas luzonica resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis non-breeding  2001  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi resident  2001  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Spotted Imperial-pigeon Ducula carola resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Giant Scops-owl Otus gurneyi resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2001  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   
Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia resident  2001  present  A1  Critically Endangered 


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

Protection status The Lake Lanao Watershed (185,640 ha) was created by Proclamation No. 871 in February 1992.

References Davies et al. (1990); Scott (1989).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Lanao. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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