Achit Lake

Country/territory: Mongolia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 73,700 ha

Site description
Achit Lake is a shallow, tectonic lake, located at the boundary of Uvs and Bayan-Olgii aimags. There are a variety of habitats from semi-desert habitat near the lake, through steppe habitat to meadows. The lake is frozen from November until May. The Tsagaan, Khatuugiin, Bukhmurun and Uliastai rivers and many other streams are tributaries of the lake. Parts of the site (specifically the channel between Achit Lake and the Khovd River and Dewel Island along the Khovd River) are designated as a nature reserve, and most of the site lies within Lake Achit and its surrounding wetlands Ramsar Site. Along the Bukhmurun River basin and delta, households from Nogoon and Bukhmurun practice nomadic animal husbandry during the winter and spring. In winter, people practice small-scale commercial fishing. This is a suitable site for recreation, sport hunting and ecotourism development. Threats to biodiversity include destruction of lakeshore vegetation by livestock, poorly managed tourism and uncontrolled commercial fishing. The water level of the lake has fallen in recent years due to drought.

Key biodiversity
Globally Threatened species using the site comprise Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN), Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata (EN), Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU) and Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU). The site supports assemblages of species restricted to the Eurasian steppe and desert and Eurasian high montane biomes. The site regularly supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus and Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea.

Non-bird biodiversity: Several nationally threatened fish species occur at the site, such as Lake Osman Oreoleuciscus angusticephalus, Small Osman O. humilis and Mongolian Grayling Thymallus revirostris. In the 1970s, Mongolian Beaver Castor fiber birulai was successfully introduced into the waters of Khovd River and now inhabits Dewel Island.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Achit Lake. Downloaded from on 07/10/2022.