Baer’s Pochard and Ferruginous Duck at Chukh Lake, Northeast Mongolia

Bear’s Pochard at Chukh Lake © CBRS

The Chukh Bird Research Station (CBRS) is located on the northern shore of Chukh Lake in northeastern Mongolia. CBRS aims to carry out long-term and sustainable monitoring on breeding and migratory shorebird populations of Chukh Lake, and conduct ecological and biological studies of the lake and its biodiversity, to define model management. Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard and Ferruginous Duck were observed at the site this year.

The eastern part of Mongolia, especially Dornod Province, is a strategically important region along the “East Asian-Australasian Flyway”, where large numbers of migratory species rest and feed during their migration from the south to Siberia and Alaska.

During autumn monitoring in 2021, our team observed a pair of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca with 8 ducklings at the Lake. This species is an extremely rare summer visitor and passage migrant in Mongolia. Several individuals of the species were found breeding in the western part of the country. It was the first breeding record of the species in the eastern part of Mongolia. They were late breeding individuals and small ducklings were observed during September. This year, in 2022 spring, four fairs of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca arrived at the lake again with two individuals of Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri which are globally Critically Endangered species. Baer’s Pochard is known as a passage migrant in the country at the moment. Surprisingly they’ve already spent seven days at the lake since 6th May. We have been carefully observing them during our monitoring at the moment.

Chukh lake is not only important for migratory birds, but also for the most important sites for waterfowl, especially for threatened duck species including Ferruginous Duck and Baer’s Pochard. Further research is needed into biology and ecology, habitat status, and threats of those two species. CBRS is coordinated by the Mongolian Bird Conservation Center (MBCC).

Ferruginous Duck pair © CBRS

Bear’s Pochard and Ferruginous Duck mixed flock © CBRS

Ferruginous Duck and ducklings © CBRS

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