email a friend
printable version
Location Laos, Bokeo,Oudomxai,Xaignabouli
Central coordinates 100o 23.00' East  20o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i
Area 10,980 ha
Altitude 300 - 400m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA is located along the Mekong River in northern Lao P.D.R., and comprises a 377 km section of the Mekong channel, from Ban Xiangkhok on the Lao-Myanmar border to Ban Bo on the boundary between Oudomxai and Xaignabouli provinces. This section supports three basic habitat types: featureless stretches with a well defined channel but no, or negligible, exposed bed; stretches with many sandbars; and stretches of channel mosaic habitat, comprising sand and gravel bars and islands, rock outcrops, bushland and braided streams. The stretches of channel mosaic habitat support a relatively rich riverine bird community, including River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii and Jerdon's Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni. The stretches with many sandbars are important for Small Pratincole Glareola lactea; the IBA supports 5% of the estimated world population of this species, although the IBA is probably not as important as Mekong Channel from Phou Xiang Thong to Siphandon IBA (LA007) for this species. The IBA also supports large numbers of Plain Martin Riparia paludicola and significant numbers of Grey-headed Lapwing V. cinereus, and is the site of the only recent Lao records of Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (Duckworth et al. 2002). Finally, there are single records of both Swan Goose Anser cygnoides and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda from the IBA, although it is unlikely that it regularly supports significant numbers of either species.

Key Biodiversity The international bird conservation importance of the Upper Lao Mekong does not match that of the Cambodian Mekong. Even so, it is of different community composition (presence of Jerdon's Bushchat, abundance of Plain Martin, but absence of Mekong Wagtail). This highly distinctive and vulnerable bird community is not represented in BNCAs (Duckworth et al. 2002). The IBA, therefore, is particularly important for conservation of this distinctive bird community.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii resident  2002  unknown  A4i  Near Threatened 
Little Pratincole Glareola lactea resident  2002  common  A4i  Least Concern 
Fire-capped Tit Cephalopyrus flammiceps non-breeding  2002  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Jerdon's Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni resident  2002  rare  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in long term (beyond 4 years) 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 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Sand dunes and beaches; Shingle and stony beaches  -
Artificial - terrestrial   -
Shrubland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
urban/industrial/transport -

Further web sources of information 

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

References Document nameDuckworth, J. W., Davidson, P., Evans, T. D., Round, P. D. and Timmins, R. J. (2002) Bird records from Laos, principally the upper Lao/Thai Mekong and Xiangkhouang province, in 1998-2000. Forktail 18: 11-44.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.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

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

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife