Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
The IBA site includes Saipung Reserve Forest, the oldest notified reserve in the state of Meghalaya, having been gazetted in 1877! It is also the largest Reserve Forest in the state and is located near the North Cachar Hills district in neighbouring Assam State. Saipung is relatively inaccessible.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The area is rich in wildlife but information is available only on primates and wild elephants (Choudhury 1999a, 1999b). Adequate data on birds is not available to properly assess the site as an IBA. Hence, it has been named as a Data Deficient site. The Threatened species that are likely to occur include the Whitewinged Duck Cairinia scutulata, Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, and Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Poaching; Encroachment; Felling of trees.

The area is inhabited by the Biate tribe (belonging to Kuki-Chin group) and they have already encroached on a portion of the Reserve Forest. They are expert trappers and hunters, and hence poaching pressure is significant. There was a proposal to declare Saipung RF as a Sanctuary along with Norpuh Block II RF, and some community area was to be acquired as a link between these two Reserve Forests. Although the proposal did not materialize, the word “link” became associated with the RF, and it began to be referred to as Saipung Link Sanctuary, creating confusion.

Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Saipung. Downloaded from on 30/09/2023.