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Location Laos, Champasak,Salavan
Central coordinates 105o 40.00' East  15o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A2, A4i
Area 34,200 ha
Altitude 40 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA comprises the section of the Mekong channel from Phou Xiang Thong National Protected Area to Siphandon IBA (LA022). The upper section (c.90 km) forms the western boundary of Phou Xiang Thong National Protected Area and the international border with Thailand. This section comprises wide stretches with earth banks and narrow stretches with rocky banks, and contains a few rocky islands (Evans et al. 2000). The lower section (c.130 km), which lies entirely within Lao P.D.R., is one of the widest sections of the Mekong River in the country. Although there is probably no natural riverine vegetation left along this section, there are many seasonally flooded sandbars, low vegetated islands and rocky islets (Thewlis et al. 1998). Some islands have very large sandy beaches or bars up to 10 km long (Evans et al. 2000). The upper section of the IBA supports small numbers of Small Pratincoles Glareola lactea, moderate numbers of River Lapwings Vanellus duvaucelii and high numbers of Wire-tailed Swallows Hirundo smithii (Evans et al. 2000). The lower section, which has a high proportion of sandbars, supports large numbers of Small Pratincoles, and smaller numbers of other sandbar-nesting birds, including River Lapwings, River Terns Sterna aurantia and the last known nesting Little Terns S. albifrons in Lao P.D.R. The recently described Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae has been confirmed to occur in the lower section of the IBA, and provisionally recorded in the upper section (Duckworth et al. 2001).

Key Biodiversity Biome-restricted species: The site is not known to qualify under criterion A3 (Evans et al. 2000).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Little Pratincole Glareola lactea resident  2002  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae resident  2002  unknown  A2  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2008 low not assessed negligible
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Phou Xiengthong National Biodiversity Conservation Area 120,000 protected area overlaps with site 10,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   major
Shrubland   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -
urban/industrial/transport -
nature conservation and research -

Protection status The Phou Xiang Thong Protected Area is the only protected area in Laos include a stretch of the Mekong River. In the opposite of the Protected Area, in Thailand, along the western bank of the Mekong River, there is the Pha Taem National Park.

Further web sources of information 

Site account from Important Bird Areas in Lao P.D.R. (Ounekham and Inthapatha 2003)

References Duckworth, J. W., Alström, P., Davidson, P., Evans, T. D, Poole, C. M., Setha, T. and Timmins, R. J. (2001) A new species of wagtail from the lower Mekong basin. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 121(3): 152-182.Engelbach, P. (1932) Les oiseaux du Laos méridional. Oiseau et R.F.O. 2: 439-498.Evans, T. D., Towll, H. C., Timmins, R. J., Thewlis, R. M., Stones, A. J., Robichaud, W. G. and Barzen, J. (2000) Ornithological records from the lowlands of southern Laos during December 1995-September 1996, including areas on the Thai and Cambodian borders. Forktail 16: 29-52.Thewlis, R. M., Timmins, R. J., Evans, T. D. and Duckworth, J. W. (1998) The conservation status of birds in Laos: a review of key species. Bird Conserv. Internat. 8(suppl.): 1-159.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mekong River from Phou Xiang Thong to Siphandon. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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