Khar Lake

Country/territory: Mongolia

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

Area: 25,200 ha

Site description
Khar Lake is a freshwater lake, located at the boundary of Khovd and Zawkhan aimags, in the Great Lakes Depression. The Chono Kharah River flows into the lake. Khar Lake drains into the Zawkhan River via the Tatakhan-Teel River, and it is connected to Durgun Lake through the Khom Channel and Nogoon Lake. There are marshes and reed beds around the Shuwuun Aral peninsula. The lake is frozen from November until April. The lake is surrounded by semi-desert vegetation. Livestock grazing is the main land use at the site, with some hay meadows, and a commercial Potanin’s Osman Oreoleuciscus potanini fishery. Commercial fishing is unregulated and fi sh stocks are not well assessed. There are also concerns about the growth of poisonous algae in the lake and an introduced fish species. The IBA overlaps with Khar Us Lake National Park Ramsar Site.

Key biodiversity
Khar Lake regularly supports the following Globally Threatened species: Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (VU); White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (EN); Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN); and Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU). The lake regularly supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Whiteheaded Duck Oxyura leucocephala, Greylag Goose Anser anser, Bar-headed Goose A. indicus, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Common Merganser Mergus merganser, Common Crane Grus grus, Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Caspian Tern Sterna caspia.

Non-bird biodiversity: Two nationally threatened fish species, Lake Osman Oreoleuciscus angusticephalus and Mongolian Grayling Thymallus revirostris, inhabit the lake. A small group of young saxaul trees is found in southwest of the area. This is the northernmost location of this plant species.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khar Lake. Downloaded from on 20/03/2023.