|Central coordinates||94o 35.00' East 27o 4.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description This site includes Pani-Dihing Bird Sanctuary (3,393 ha) and its environs (600 ha), including Phokolai and Dorou beels. Situated 17 km north of Sibsagar town, the district headquarters, this large wetland complex lies on the south bank of River Brahmaputra, near its confluence with the tributary Disang. The terrain is flat, being on the floodplains. During monsoon, most of the area is inundated. The main beels (wetlands) of the area are Phokolai, Dorou (both outside the Sanctuary), Sagunpora, Ghoka, Tokia and Jarjaria. The main channels that feed the area are Dimou, Boloma, Balijan and Singorajan. Pani-Dihing and adjacent areas are known for migratory waterfowl, while there are also important resident species. It used to be a hunters paradise, and people from Sibsagar town used to go for shooting ducks and geese. Now sport hunting has been stopped, but poisoning of waterfowl still goes on. The strip of swampy reed jungle of the northern border comprises chiefly Arundo donax and plants of the genus Alpinia, Vetiveria zizanioides and Saccharum spontaneum are also common, whereas Phragmites karka is becoming rarer, possibly because of collection by the villagers. Thorny vines wind around these tall grasses and during the summer rainfall, it becomes impenetrable with thick clumps of Eichornia crassipes.
AVIFAUNA: More than 160 species of birds have been recorded in the area so far (Choudhury 1988, 1991, 1993; Barooah 1990, 1994). There are historic records of the Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris from the area (J. R. Cripps in Hume 1888). Pani-Dihing is now famous for its vast flocks of Bar-headed geese Anser indicus and Greylag geese A. anser, and thousands of other waterfowl. It easily qualifies for A4iii criteria (= 20,000 water birds) in addition to A1 criteria (significant number of threatened species). In the reed thickets on the northern border, 400-500 pairs of Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Pond Heron Ardeola grayii, Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Grey Heron A. cinerea, Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger and Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus breed. Arundo donax and Phragmites karka are mostly preferred for nesting (Barooah 1994).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Since the mid 1990s, Asian Elephants Elephas maximus have started appearing here for a short time during migration. There are recent records of even a One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis and Tiger Panthera tigris. Common Otters Lutra lutra and Hog deer Axis porcinus are regularly seen. Gangetic dolphin Plantanista gangetica is seen during monsoon in the Sanctuary, and throughout the year at the confluence of the Disang and Brahmaputra rivers. Among reptiles, the Brown Roof Turtle Kachuga smithii, Indian Tent Turtle K. tentoria, and Gangetic Softshell Aspideretes gangeticus have been identified, but there could be many more species.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri||winter||2004||present||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius||breeding||2004||present||-||A1||Endangered|
|Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis||non-breeding||2004||present||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga||winter||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris||non-breeding||2004||present||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||unknown||2004||20,000 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Panidihing||Sanctuary||3,393||is identical to site||3,393|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature Conservation|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: Diptimanta Barooah, Anwaruddin Choudhury and Kulojyoti Lahkar.
Barooah, D. (1990) Panihiding Reserve Forest- Status and its Avifauna. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 30 (5-6): 7-8.
Barooah, D. (1994) Birds of Panidihing. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 34(4): 83 - 86.
Choudhury, A. U. (1988) Some rare ornithological records from Sibsagar, Assam. Cheetal 29(2): 3- 9.
Choudhury, A. U. (1991) Bird observations from Sibsagar District, Assam, India. Forktail 6: 35-42.
Choudhury, A. U. (1993) Nesting colonies of Greater Adjutant Storks in Nagaon and Sibsagar districts of Assam. Newsletter for Birdwarchers 33: 47-48.
Hume, A. O. (1888) The birds of Manipur, Assam, Sylhet and Cachar. Stray Feathers 11: 1-353.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pani-Dihing Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2015
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