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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 91o 45.00' East  26o 6.20' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 7,400 ha
Altitude 50 - 569m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Amchang (or Amcheng) Hills lie very close to Guwahati city, the capital of Assam. Besides being rich in flora and fauna, the area has the potential to become a permanent green belt at the eastern edge of this city with a population of about two million people. The site includes three Reserve Forests: Amchang (5,318 ha), South Amchang (1,550 ha) and Khanapara (996 ha), and a wetland called Khamranga beel. The reserve forest areas have been recommended for a wildlife sanctuary due to an almost isolated population of Asian elephants Elephas maximus and Gaur Bos frontalis (Choudhury 1999, 2002a) and other species, and as green belt for Guwahati (Choudhury 2002b). Considering its importance, the State Forest Department has prepared a proposal for declaring it as a sanctuary (Barua 2003). The area consists of low hills, which are part of a plateau. The lowest parts are about 50 m, near Khamranga beel, while the highest point is 569 m (Parahopa Peak). This IBA enjoys a tropical climate which may be called the ‘Tropical monsoon type.’ The summer is hot and wet, while the winter is cool and dry. The forest type is Tropical Moist Deciduous, with small pockets of Tropical Semi-evergreen. In the depressions, Alpinia allughas herbs and Arundo donax and Neyraudia reynaudiana (both locally called Nal) grass occur. Plantations of the Forest Department are mostly of Teak Tectona grandis.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A rich and diverse bird life exists in the area. About 200 species have so far been recorded while there could be more than 300 (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003). The Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius and Lesser Adjutant L. javanicus are regularly seen both in the beel as well on the hills. In the latter area, they are seen in flight. The Critically Endangered Oriental Whitebacked Vulture Gyps bengalensis and the Slender-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris were common till the mid-1990s, but are now very rare. Nesting by the former species in recent years was also reported (Mrigen Barua in litt. 2003). The Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis was a frequent visitor to Khamranga beel but now it is occasional. In winter, a very large number of migratory waterfowl are found in Khamranga beel. With protection, their number could easily reach 20,000 (A4iii criteria).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna in the area is exceptionally rich. Five species of primates have been confirmed: Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta and the Assamese Macaque M. assamensis. There are reports of the Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina and Stump-tailed Macaque M. arctoides. Other mammals include the Asian Elephant, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailarus bengalensis, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Gaur, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak. The reptiles diversity is, however, poorly known.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Cultivation on the fringe areas including encroachments
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing in the beel
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.

References 

Barua, M. (2003) Proposal for Amchang, South Amchang and Khanapara RFs as Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, Gotanagar Wildlife Range, Guwahati. (Mimeographed report) Choudhury, A. U. (1999) Status and Conservation of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus in north-eastern India. Mammal Review 29(3): 141- 173.

Choudhury, A. U. (2002a) Distribution and Conservation of the Gaur Bos gaurus in the Indian Subcontinent. Mammal Review 32(3): 199-226.

Choudhury, A. U. (2002b) Big cats, elephant, rhino and gaur in Guwahati. The Rhino Foundation for nature in NE India Newsletter 4:16-19 (reprinted in Tiger Link 9: 32-33).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amchang Hills. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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