Son Beel

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 1,500 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 very high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

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.

Key biodiversity

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.

Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Son Beel. Downloaded from on 25/06/2022.