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Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus ©Laurence Poh Website

Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

After a period as a French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975, but the protesting between factions continued for several years.

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia and the thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,817 m (9,242 ft), with some plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Chain form most of the eastern border with Vietnam.

The climate is tropical and monsoonal. There is a distinct rainy season from May to November, followed by a dry season from December to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cold and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane, and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakxe.

In 1993, the government set aside 21% of the nation's land area as National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA), which may be developed into a national park system.

Laos is the home to the Indochinese tiger, the giant gaur, and the Asian elephant. A number of animal species have been discovered or re-discovered in Laos in recent years. These include the striped or Annamite rabbit, the saola, and most recently the Laotian rock rat or kha-nyou.

The country is one of four in the opium poppy growing region known as the "Golden Triangle".



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Number of Species

Number of bird species: 701

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Laos. The avifauna of Laos includes a total of 701 species, of which 2 have been introduced by humans, and 8 are rare or accidental. 25 species are globally threatened.



WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder

A Photographic Guide to Birds of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Peter Davidson New Holland 2008

ISBN: 1847731414

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Southeast Asia

by Craig Robson. Hardcover - 504 pages. January 2000. Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1843307464

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…



Our tour service has run the business for 15 years. We are also well known to local media as Thailand’s leading television programs, radio programs, and newspapers continuously request to conduct the interviews and make news scoops with us. Bird watchers and bird photographers from all around the world; whether private tour, group tour, tour agency, including leading international birdwatching tour operators also decided to use our tour service….

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2009 [December] - Stijn De Win


A first quality species to add to the list came as a Red-vented Barbet that was perched for about 20 min. allowing for excellent looks. Actually, after this first find, another 2 birds were recorded at different spots in the Na Hin area which might prove that it’s fairly common at Na Hin, yet inconspicuous. (as overlooked on previous trips)…

2012 [October] - Graham Talbot

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…We drove up to the start of the weather station trail at KM48 where we had our packed breakfast whilst playing the Eared Pitta tape but no response though it was quite windy. Today was our final attempt at getting a view of the Red-collared Pecker but as we trudged up the trail I don’t think deep down we were very hopeful. We had decided today to only play the tape in the open forest just past the weather station as the trail started to descend. This we did but we had no response at all. We continued on and reached the end of the trail at the valley floor and from here we explored two less well-defined trails, one contouring the slope and one leading down by a dry riverbed, both trails extended for about 500m before becoming very obscure…

2013 [March] - Craig Robson - Cambodia & Laos

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…Fine sunny weather and generally very smooth-running logistics enabled us to notch-up a large total of 344 species. Highlights included amazing views of Chestnut-headed Partridge, Milky Stork and Greater Adjutant at one of the largest remaining ‘large waterbird’ breeding colonies in Asia, multiple encounters with White-shouldered and Giant Ibises, White-rumped Pygmy-falcon, at least 11 Bengal Floricans (with some males displaying), flocks of Sarus Cranes, Asian Dowitcher, a scoped Pale-capped Pigeon, nine species of owl including Spot-bellied Eagle-owl and Spotted and Brown Wood-owls, Black-headed and Heart-spotted Woodpeckers, Blue Pitta, Asian Golden Weaver, Mekong Wagtail, a vagrant Chestnut-cheeked Starling, the limestone-loving Bare- faced Bulbul and Sooty Babbler, and a close encounter with the rare Manchurian Reed-warbler. Mammals were also prominent, with Lao and Indochinese Silvered Langurs, Irrawaddy Dolphin and Eld’s Deer….

2013 [March] - Frank Lambert - Cambodia & Laos

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…Amazingly our first bird was a pair of Bare-faced Bulbuls – the main reason we had visited this area - that miraculously appeared in a fruiting tree beside the road and fed at very close range, apparently unaffected by the huge heavy traffic. The birds were later regularly seen perched on the limestone karst in this area and we probably saw at least six individuals…

2014 [March] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

This years highlights included Chestnut-headed Partridge, amazing close views of Milky Stork, good perched and flight views of White-shouldered and Giant Ibises, White-rumped Falcon, Bengal Florican, magnificent Sarus Cranes, all three buttonquails, a feeding flock of Oriental Plovers, with males in full breeding plumage, a vagrant Long-billed Dowitcher, Pale-capped Pigeon, nine species of owl including Oriental Scops, Spotted Wood and Brown Wood, Black-headed Woodpecker, two stunning Blue Pittas, three beautiful Indochinese Green Magpies, Mekong Wagtail, the limestone-loving Bare-faced Bulbul, multiple Manchurian Reed Warblers, and the recently discovered Cambodian Tailorbird. Mammals were also prominent, with Lao Langur, Irrawaddy Dolphin and Eld’s Deer. Fine sunny weather and very smooth-running logistics enabled us to easily notch-up a good total of 333 species.

2014 [November] - Julian Bell - (Not) Birding in Laos


This is a trip report from a largely non-birding trip to Laos starting with a two day "cruise" on a slow boat down the Mekong with an overnight stop at Pak Beng. This was followed by a day in Luang Prabang, onwards to Vang Vieng where we spent three nights before driving to Vientiane from where we returned to Bangkok. Our itinerary was based on a typical "Lonely Planet" back-packers holiday - although we stayed in some vary nice hotels indeed....

2015 [February] - James Eaton - Laos and Cambodia

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This was our third tour to include ‘twitching’ Laos, with the focus on the Bare-faced Bulbul, currently only known from Laos and described just 6 years previously. We had just a couple of days birding, and managed a fine supporting cast of Sooty Babbler, Limestone Leaf Warbler, Red-vented and Moustached Barbets, Silver-breasted Broadbill and White-throated Rock Thrush.

2016 [February] - Mike Nelson - Laos & Cambodia

PDF Report

...So it was fitting we began our tour in the landlocked Laos where we secured great looks at the aforementioned bulbul as well as a fine suit of accompanying birds including Red-vented Barbet, Limestone Leaf Warbler and Sooty Babbler...

Places to Stay

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The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant


The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant is the premier ecotourism lodge in Luang Namtha, Laos` northwestern most province, with access to the Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area, the Namtha River and Lao hill tribe villages for rafting, trekking, and handicraft trips. Our restaurant serves local Lao food with a large selection of vegetarian choices. We are located 6 kms from the provincial town and just 1 km from the airport.


Birdlife International


BirdLife International in Indochina website covers our activities in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. You can read about our recent work and the updated news by visting our latest newsletter The Babbler…


Nakai-Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area


Satellite View

Nakai-Nam Theun covers approximately 3,445 km2 of the Annamite mountains and the adjacent Nakai Plateau in the provinces of Khammouane and Bolikhamxay…

Nam Kading Bio-Diversity Conservation Area


Satellite View

Surveys in Nam Kading have documented many endangered species. There are at least 13 globally and 12 regionally threatened mammals. Gaur, sun bear, and both northern and southern white-cheeked crested gibbon are present, making the area particularly important for gibbon conservation…

Other Links

Birds of Laos


This is a list of the bird species recorded in Laos. The avifauna of Laos includes a total of 701 species, of which 2 have been introduced by humans, and 8 are rare or accidental. 25 species are globally threatened…

Birds Recorded in The Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area


The following bird list for Luang Namtha`s Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area is taken from a report produced by the World Conservation Society; A Wildlife and Habitat Survey of Nam Ha and Nam Kong Protected Areas, Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR, 1997. This list is by no means exhaustive. Once this area is discovered by birders the list sure to grow.

Checklist - Birds of Laos