Uvs Lake

Country/territory: Mongolia

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 100,000 ha

Site description (2007 baseline)
Uvs Lake, the largest saltwater lake in Mongolia, is fed by the Kharkhiraa, Khondlon Sagil, Borsoo, Khandgait, Torkhilog, Tes and Nariin Rivers. The lake is frozen from mid- November to mid-May. There are sandbars along the shore, with willows growing along the numerous river beds. Many small pools can be found around the lake. Many of these pools and ponds, which used to be suitable places for feeding and breeding of birds, have dried out due to drought and a warmer climate. The main land use is livestock grazing. The lake has good potential for the development of ecotourism. Unfortunately, travellers and tourists have trashed certain locations with their garbage, and willow trees have been cut by herders. Uvs Lake is designated as a Ramsar Site, a natural World Heritage Site and a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Key biodiversity
There are many Globally Threatened species occurring at Uvs Lake, such as Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (VU), White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (EN), Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN), Pallas’s Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (VU), Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca (VU), Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU), White-naped Crane Grus vipio (VU), Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU) and Relict Gull Larus relictus (VU). The site supports species typical of the Eurasian steppe and desert biome. The site regularly supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, White Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala, Greylag Goose Anser anser, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Red-breasted Pochard Netta rufina, Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Common Crane Grus grus, Common Coot Fulica atra, Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus.

Non-bird biodiversity: The site is not known to have special significance for species other than birds.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Uvs Lake. Downloaded from on 28/02/2024.