Country/territory: Laos

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3, A4i (2003)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 37,320 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2008 not assessed medium negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2003 baseline)
The IBA is located along the Mekong River, in southern Lao P.D.R. The IBA covers the widest stretch of the Mekong River in Lao P.D.R., from Don Khong island to the international border with Cambodia. This stretch is extensively braided, with thousands of islands, and several sets of waterfalls and rapids. The banks of the river and the main islands are mainly steep, well vegetated, and lined with cultivation and scrub. Smaller islands generally support more natural vegetation, including scrub, grassland and seasonally flooded woodland, and some islands have extensive sand beaches or bars (Evans et al. 2000). Stretches of rapids support channel mosaic habitat, with rocks and bushes. To the south, the IBA is contiguous with Mekong River from Kratie to Laos IBA (KH010) in Cambodia, which supports similar riverine habitats. A number of key bird species have been recorded at the IBA, including Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, and the recently described endemic Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae. The IBA supports a suite of riverine birds, including, probably, at least 1% of the world population of Small Pratincole Glareola lactea. In addition, there are records of White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Long-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris and Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus from the IBA (Thewlis et al. 1998). While it is very unlikely that the IBA, by itself, could support populations of these species in the long-term, it forms part of a network of sites in southern Lao P.D.R. and northern Cambodia that may be able to. Finally, the IBA is one of only two places in Lao P.D.R. where Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris still occurs (Duckworth et al. 1999), although the population is believed to be down to less than 10 individuals (I. G. Baird in litt. 2002).

Key biodiversity
Bird surveys in Siphandone area were not covered throughout. Parts remain unknown or poorly known. The most extensive bird survey of the area was conducted over more than a year by Peter Cunningham for the Environmental Conservation and Community Development in Siphandone Wetlands (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).

Non-bird biodiversity: In the late 1990s there was still a small population of otter sp. in the Khone Falls area. A number of IUCN listed fish species are found in the area, including Probarbus jullieni, Probarbus labeomajor, Pangasianodon gigas, Pangasius sanitwongsei and Tenulosa thibeaudaui. Less than 10 Irrawaddy Dolphins Orcaella brevirostris are found along the border with Cambodia, below the Khone Falls (I. G. Baird in litt. 2002).A very small population of Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis was found on one island just above the Khone Falls in the late 1990s (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).Two species of soft-shelled turtles are found in the area (I. G. Baird pers. comm.).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Siphandon. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.