Mongolia Swan Goose
Last update: April 2010
Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake in west-central Mongolia and Ikh Delger Lake in eastern Mongolia are important breeding and molting areas for bar-headed geese, whooper swans, swan geese and other migratory waterfowl. Bar-headed geese migrate along the Central Asian Flyway breeding in Qinghai Lake, China and parts of Mongolia and wintering from Tibet Autonomous Region, China to India. The largest outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in wild birds occurred at Qinghai Lake in 2005, followed by an outbreak at Erkhel Lake, Mongolia to suggest a possible migratory linkage between these regions. In addition, some of the bar-headed geese fly over the Himalayas to reach their wintering destinations, encountering spatial and altitudinal gradients that pose physiological challenges to their migration. In July 2008, an international team from the US Geological Survey (Western Ecological Research Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and Alaska Science Center), the United Nations-FAO, and the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center Mongolia of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences studied the migratory and disease ecology of bar-headed geese in western Mongolia, working in cooperation with the University of Wales Bangor, University of Birmingham, University of Tasmania, and University of British Columbia to also examine flight performance. In eastern Mongolia, migration and disease ecology of swan geese were studied along the East Asian Flyway with satellite telemetry. The objectives of the research were to: 1) capture and mark bar-headed geese in western Mongolia to examine their migration routes and flight performance and to sample their populations for avian influenza; and 2) capture and mark swan geese in eastern Mongolia to examine their migration routes and to sample their populations for avian influenza.
Historical locations of migratory birds
For more details on the movements of these birds, please visit the USGS website