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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 90o 36.00' East  26o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 1,000 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Urpod Beel is the largest lake in western Assam, comprising a waterspread of c. 700 ha. It is only 12 km from Goalpara town, the district headquarters. It is approximately 150 km from the State capital, Guwahati. Urpod is an important site for wintering waterfowl. It is connected with two more waterbodies, Patakata and Matia beels to the east, which makes the total area of the wetland more than 1,000 ha. The Ajagar Hill Reserve Forest to the south, Rakhashini RF to the north and Sagunbahi RF to the west surrounds Urpod beel. These RF are mainly degraded Sal Shorea robusta forests, except for Ajagar RF, the largest reserve forest of Goalpara district, which is Mixed Deciduous type and adjacent to the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. It is in comparatively good condition. The Urpod beel is well known for lotus Nelumbo, lilies Nymphea, as well as Trapa spp. and Euryale ferox. Villagers harvest them for food and medicine. In shallow zones, sedges and reeds abound. Ipomea aquatica has covered a large part of the water body, almost acquiring weed proportions.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Like most other wetlands of Assam, Urpod beel is under tremendous human pressure. Despite this, very large numbers of waterfowl are present in winter. If it were adequately protected from human disturbance, it could attract hundreds of thousands of waterfowl. The IBA easily qualifies for the Ramsar criteria of a wetland of international importance. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is regularly seen. There are no recent records of Greater Adjutant L. dubius, but with protection to the habitat, it could reappear.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The wetland is surrounded by degraded forest where the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus is still seen. There are confirmed records of Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis. Probably, other predators also occur. The wetland is enriched with more than 45 species of fish, such as carps, climbing perch (Anabas) and catfishes.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2003 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 small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
water management -
Notes: Wetland

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Nature’s Foster.


Anonymous (2002) Preliminary survey report on Urpod beel of Goalpara district, Assam. Nature’s Foster, Bongaigaon. Unpublished report.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Urpod Beel. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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