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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 93o 23.00' East  26o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 14,000 ha
Altitude 80 - 150m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Behali Reserve Forest is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya, in Sonitpur district of Assam, on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. It is part of the Sonitpur Elephant Reserve that was notified in 2003. The area is flat with gentle slopes. Some hilly areas lie in the extreme north of the IBA. The forest is Tropical Wet Evergreen and Semi-evergreen. Some fine patches of primary rainforest are still to be seen in the area. The top canopy consists of species such as Tetrameles nudiflora, an emergent deciduous species, which is widely used by hornbills for nesting (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A rich and diverse bird life exists in the area, but a full checklist is yet to be completed. This IBA is known for its population of Whitewinged Duck Cairina scutulata (Choudhury 2000). There are four species of hornbills, the Oriental Pied Anthracoceros albirostris, Wreathed Aceros undulatus, Great Pied Buceros bicornis and the globally threatened Rufous-necked Aceros nipalensis. The last named species is only occasional in winter. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is seen regularly in small numbers at the edges of the IBA and in the encroached areas. In winter, the abundance of birds increases to a great extent, with the arrival of altitudinal migrants (A. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003). As no detailed study on birds has been conducted, this site could be considered Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Behali is an important area for the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileata, Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, among others.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-winged Duck Asarcornis scutulata resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.


Choudhury, A. U. (2000) The Birds of Assam, Gibbon Books & WWFIndia NE Region, Guwahati. Pp 240.

Choudhury, A. U. (2002) Massive habitat loss for primates in Assam’s Sonitpur district. Asian Primates 8 (1&2): 18-20.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Behali Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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