|Central coordinates||92o 27.00' East 24o 40.00' North|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description Son beel is a large lake in Karimganj district of southern Assam. It is flanked by hills on its west and east. In winter, the extent is only a few fragmented beels, totalling less than 500 ha. It is still the largest beel in Assam but it is being reduced (Choudhury 2000) and unfortunately, there is no conservation effort to save it. The Shingla River, originating in Mizoram, is its major inlet as well as outlet. Further downstream, there is another large lake known as Rata beel, beyond which the Shingla river bifurcates into two rivers Kochua and Kakra. Son beel is accessible from Hailakandi and Karimganj towns. Barringtonia acutangula is the main tree that grows in the beel besides reeds such as Arundo donax and various aquatic plants.
AVIFAUNA: More than 150 species of birds have been recorded, although the actual diversity must be much more (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003). The lake attracts thousands of waterfowl, but due to constant disturbance by fishermen, they do not stay long. If properly managed, Son beel has all the potential to become a Ramsar Site, and could harbour more than 20,000 waterfowl. The Spotbilled Pelican Pelecanus philippensis and Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius have stopped coming, while the Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is still seen.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Not much work has been done on mammals, reptiles and amphibians of this important wetland. What we do know is that two species of otters (Lutra lutra and Lutrogale perspicillata) are found. There are unconfirmed reports of Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrina. Hog Deer Axis porcinus is also reported but its number is much reduced due to poaching and disturbance.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|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|
|2003||very high||not assessed||not assessed|
|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%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||high|
|Biological resource use||fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Biological resource use||hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target)||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Human intrusions and disturbance||work and other activities||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Pollution||agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||very high|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Acknowledgements Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.
Choudhury, A. U. (2000) Birds of Assam, Gibbon Books and WWF-India NE Region, Guwahati.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Son Beel. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/05/2015
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