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Location Nepal, Mechi
Central coordinates 87o 55.00' East  26o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 30,000 ha
Altitude 70 - 3,050m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bird Conservation Nepal (Partner Designate)



Site description The Mai Valley forests lie in the northeastern part of the country south of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. The Mai watershed falls entirely within Ilam district in Mechi Zone, extending from the confluence with the Kankai River at 70 m in the tropical zone to the Darjeeling border at 3050 m in the subalpine zone. Ilam (population 13,200), the main town in the district lies in the valley at 1210 m; the local economy focuses on tea and cardamom plantations. Delineating the area of remaining forests is difficult because of widespread forest losses, and forest degradation and fragmentation. Forests in the upper Mai valley lie mainly in the lower and upper temperate zones. Lower Mai valley forests comprise tropical and subtropical forests. They include a small but important remnant of tropical evergreen forest, a forest type that is currently not represented in the existing network of Nepal’s protected area. Subtropical semi-evergreen forests also occur. The most important forests for birds are the moist broadleaved oak Quercus and mixed broadleaved forests comprising Lithocarpus spp., Castanopsis spp. and Rhododendron spp. with a bamboo understorey and the tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.

Key Biodiversity No up-to-date information is available on the habitats or birds of the Mai valley. The high total of around 300 species has been recorded for the whole of the Mai watershed, including over 200 species in the upper valley (Inskipp 1989a, Halliday and McKnight 1990, 1993, Choudhary 1997). The forests may be important for populations of the following restricted-range species: Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spiny Babbler and Hoary-throated Barwing. Several species recorded in the small remnant of tropical evergreen forest are either very rare in Nepal e.g. Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella or have only been found in this locality e.g. Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia. Lesser Adjutant and White-rumped Vulture are reported to breed at the edge of the forests. Up to at least the mid 1990s the area had large areas of temperate forest and a considerable area of tropical and subtropical moist forest that were known to support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome and the Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest and Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest biomes respectively.

Non-bird biodiversity: Little information is available. The globally threatened Assam Macaque Macaca assamensis has been recorded. Other mammals seen include Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Common Leopard Panthera pardus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Hanuman Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor, Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola resident  2004  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra resident  2004  rare  A1  Near Threatened 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  frequent  A1  Vulnerable 
Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  rare  A1  Least Concern 
Falco chicquera unknown  2004  present  A3  Not Recognised 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis resident  2004  rare  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris resident  2004  rare  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus resident  2004  uncommon  A1  Critically Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus winter  2004  rare  A1  Near Threatened 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  2004  rare  A1  Near Threatened 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga passage  2004  rare  A1  Vulnerable 
Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola unknown  2004  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Speckled Woodpigeon Columba hodgsonii unknown  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana resident  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis resident  2004  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Megalaima asiatica resident  1989  frequent  A3  Not Recognised 
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus resident  2004  rare  A1  Near Threatened 
Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Himalayan Flameback Dinopium shorii unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Gold-billed Magpie Urocissa flavirostris resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-vented Tit Parus rubidiventris resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Nepal House-martin Delichon nipalense resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Black-browed Tit Aegithalos iouschistos unknown  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Asian Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-headed Tesia Tesia castaneocoronata resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Aberrant Bush-warbler Cettia flavolivacea resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-sided Bush-warbler Cettia brunnifrons resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Large-billed Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-hooded Warbler Phylloscopus xanthoschistos resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator winter  2004  rare  A2  Least Concern 
Grey-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax albogularis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Laughingthrush Garrulax lineatus resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler Pnoepyga albiventer resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Himalayan Cutia Cutia nipalensis resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus erythrogenys resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler Xiphirhynchus superciliaris resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis caudatus resident  2004  uncommon  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis resident  2004  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Laughingthrush Garrulax ocellatus resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-sided Laughingthrush Garrulax caerulatus resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax squamatus resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly Laughingthrush Garrulax subunicolor resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Shrike-babbler Pteruthius rufiventer resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Green Shrike-babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Hoary-throated Barwing Actinodura nipalensis resident  2004  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-breasted Fulvetta Alcippe chrysotis resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Parrotbill Paradoxornis unicolor resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Fulvous Parrotbill Paradoxornis fulvifrons resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
Rusty-flanked Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Long-billed Thrush Zoothera monticola unknown  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus unknown  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum breeding  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-capped Rock-thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata resident  1989  common  A3  Least Concern 
White-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula monileger resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris breeding  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sapphire Flycatcher Ficedula sapphira resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 
Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara resident  1989  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum melanoxanthum resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda unknown  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna resident  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-breasted Greenfinch Carduelis spinoides unknown  1989  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis resident  1989  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Gold-naped Finch Pyrrhoplectes epauletta resident  1989  rare  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2011 high very unfavourable negligible
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest   0 0 poor (40-69%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

References Inskipp (1989a), Halliday and McKnight (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mai Valley forests. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife