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Location Laos, Khammouan
Central coordinates 104o 45.00' East  17o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A2
Area 79,000 ha
Altitude 200 - 900m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is situated inside Khammouan Limestone (Phou Hinboun) National Protected Area, in central Lao P.D.R. The IBA comprises a large, representative section of the national protected area. The north-west and south of the IBA are dominated by sparsely vegetated limestone karst, while the centre comprises an area of semi-evergreen forest and mixed deciduous forest on non-calcareous substrate, referred to as the 'central forest area' (Timmins 1997, Thewlis et al. 1998). The IBA was defined principally for Sooty Babbler Stachyris herberti, a species endemic to limestone areas in central Lao P.D.R. and central Vietnam. The IBA is expected to support a large population of this species. In addition, the IBA supports a form of leaf warbler Phylloscopus sp., which may represent an undescribed taxon, with a similar range to Sooty Babbler (P. Alström in litt. to Duckworth et al. 1998). Furthermore, the IBA supports populations of a number of globally threatened primates, most notably a taxon of Francois's Langur Semnopithecus francoisi endemic to Lao P.D.R. (Duckworth et al. 1999).

Key Biodiversity The IBA is an important area for Sooty Babbler S. herberti. This species is endemic to Karst Limestone in central Laos and in central Annam (Vietnam). In Laos, apart from this IBA the species are only found commonly in Hin Namno Protected Area (in two IBAs selected in that PA) and uncommonly found in the Upper Xe Bangfai IBA.

Non-bird biodiversity: There were three records of other important fauna, one confirmed record and two unconfirmed: either Sun Bear U. malayanus or Asiatic Black Bear U. thibetanus (confirmed), either Fishing Cat P. viverrinus or Asian Golden Cat C. temminckii (unconfirmed) and Tiger P. tigris (unconfirmed) (Steinmetz 1998).Timmins (1997) and Steinmetz (1998) recorded three species of primate in the IBA: Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Francois's Langur Semnopithecus francoisi and a gibbon species Hylobates sp.Steinmetz (1998) recorded Asian Elephant Elephas maximus and provisional recorded Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis in the central forest area, in the south-east of the IBA. In addition, Steinmetz (1998) received unconfirmed reports of Asian Elephant, Gaur Bos gaurus and Southern Serow from this area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Green-legged Partridge Arborophila chloropus resident  2002  common  A3  Least Concern 
Polyplectron bicalcaratum resident  2002  common  A3  Not Recognised 
Red-collared Woodpecker Picus rabieri resident  2002  common  A3  Near Threatened 
Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-eyed Bulbul Iole propinqua resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Wren-babbler Napothera brevicaudata resident  2002  common  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Babbler Stachyris herberti resident  2002  common  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-vented Barbet Psilopogon lagrandieri resident  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Moustached Barbet Psilopogon incognitus resident  2002  frequent  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Khammouane Limestone (Phou Hin Poun) National Biodiversity Conservation Area 150,000 protected area contains site 79,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Moist deciduous forest (tropical); Semi-evergreen rain forest (tropical)  -
Rocky areas   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -

Further web sources of information 

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

References Document nameTimmins, R. J. (1997) Notes on wildlife and habitats in Khammouan Limestone National Conversation Area, Khammouan province, Lao PDR. Vientiane: CPAWM/WCS.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.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.Duckworth, J. W., Tizard, R. J., Timmins, R. J., Thewlis, R. M., Robichaud, W. G. and Evans, T. D. (1998) Bird records from Laos, October 1994-August 1995. Forktail 13: 33-68 (including errata sheet distributed with Forktail 14)..

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Khammouan Limestone. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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