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Location Laos, Champasak
Central coordinates 105o 50.00' East  14o 4.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i
Area 37,320 ha
Altitude 30 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is located along the Mekong River, in southern Lao P.D.R. The IBA covers the widest stretch of the Mekong River in Lao P.D.R., from Don Khong island to the international border with Cambodia. This stretch is extensively braided, with thousands of islands, and several sets of waterfalls and rapids. The banks of the river and the main islands are mainly steep, well vegetated, and lined with cultivation and scrub. Smaller islands generally support more natural vegetation, including scrub, grassland and seasonally flooded woodland, and some islands have extensive sand beaches or bars (Evans et al. 2000). Stretches of rapids support channel mosaic habitat, with rocks and bushes. To the south, the IBA is contiguous with Mekong River from Kratie to Laos IBA (KH010) in Cambodia, which supports similar riverine habitats. A number of key bird species have been recorded at the IBA, including Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, and the recently described endemic Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae. The IBA supports a suite of riverine birds, including, probably, at least 1% of the world population of Small Pratincole Glareola lactea. In addition, there are records of White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Long-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris and Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus from the IBA (Thewlis et al. 1998). While it is very unlikely that the IBA, by itself, could support populations of these species in the long-term, it forms part of a network of sites in southern Lao P.D.R. and northern Cambodia that may be able to. Finally, the IBA is one of only two places in Lao P.D.R. where Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris still occurs (Duckworth et al. 1999), although the population is believed to be down to less than 10 individuals (I. G. Baird in litt. 2002).

Key Biodiversity Bird surveys in Siphandone area were not covered throughout. Parts remain unknown or poorly known. The most extensive bird survey of the area was conducted over more than a year by Peter Cunningham for the Environmental Conservation and Community Development in Siphandone Wetlands (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).

Non-bird biodiversity: In the late 1990s there was still a small population of otter sp. in the Khone Falls area. A number of IUCN listed fish species are found in the area, including Probarbus jullieni, Probarbus labeomajor, Pangasianodon gigas, Pangasius sanitwongsei and Tenulosa thibeaudaui. Less than 10 Irrawaddy Dolphins Orcaella brevirostris are found along the border with Cambodia, below the Khone Falls (I. G. Baird in litt. 2002).A very small population of Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis was found on one island just above the Khone Falls in the late 1990s (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).Two species of soft-shelled turtles are found in the area (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Pygmy-falcon Polihierax insignis resident  2002  unknown  A3  Near Threatened 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis resident  2002  unknown  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris resident  2002  unknown  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus resident  2002  unknown  A3  Critically Endangered 
Little Pratincole Glareola lactea resident  2002  common  A4i  Least Concern 
Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis breeding  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus blanfordi resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-faced Tit-babbler Macronous kelleyi resident  2002  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis passage  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Vinous-breasted Starling Sturnus burmannicus resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Hainan Blue-flycatcher Cyornis hainanus resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae resident  2002  unknown  A2  Near Threatened 
Green-eared Barbet Psilopogon faiostrictus resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed negligible
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Sand dunes and beaches  -
Grassland   -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -
Shrubland Secondary scrub  -
Forest Lowland evergreen rain forest (tropical)  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -

Further web sources of information 

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

References Document nameEvans, 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.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.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.Baird, I. G. (in press) Aquatic biodiversity in the Siphandone wetlands.Duckworth, J. W., Salter, R. E. and Khounboline, K. eds. (1999) Wildlife in Lao P.D.R.: 1999 status report. Vientiane: IUCN, WCS and CPAWM.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Siphandon. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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