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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 92o 15.50' East  26o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 1,000 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Deobali Jalah (c. 1,000 ha) includes a marshy tract with beels (wetlands) and grassland in central Assam. Located 15 kms to the south-west of Nagaon town, it is perhaps the last remaining intact grassland which is still unprotected in Nagaon district. The entire area is interspersed with numerous wetlands. The Haria river to the south and the Kollong river to the north form the natural barriers for the grassland, while the other sides are occupied by human habitation. Nagoan is a town situated almost in the middle of Assam and surrounded by thickly populated Assamese villages. In the township two nesting colonies of Greater and Lesser adjutants exist - North Haibargaon and Khutikatia- which are approximately 4 km. from each other. These are traditional breeding sites of Greater and Lesser adjutants and locals say that these have been used for nesting for many years. These places are urban areas with thick human habitations. New buildings are being built very near to the nesting trees. The nesting trees are private property and are located just near the settlements. A few busy public roads intersect the North Haibargaon colony also. A small river named Kolong flows about 100m from the colony. On the other hand, the Khutikatia colony is about 100m away from the national highway 37, which runs parallel to the colony (Singha 1999). Other site Sialmari is a permanent and regular feeding ground of the Greater Adjutant in Nagoan township, about 7 km and 4 km from North Haibargaon and Khutikatia nesting colonies respectively. It is a bone-collecting place, comprising agricultural fields, barren fields, a small rivulet 100m from the bone dump and a dry land on the other bank of the river. This dry land gets inundated during heavy monsoon and occasionally crops are grown. Every night, inedible part of slaughtered cattle and their bones are brought from the town and dumped here. The stomach content and other meat parts are thrown over the ground and bones are collected in an upside open bamboo case. Jackals and dogs devour most of the food at night and only a small amount of food is left for Greater and Lesser adjutants, vultures and crows (Singha 1999).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: So far more than 100 bird species have been identified in the area. Some of the uncommon species found in the area are Jerdon’s Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni, Bristled Grass-Warbler or Grassbird Chaetornis striatus, Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus. The last three are treated as globally threatened (BirdLife International 2001). For the Bristled Grass- Warbler, there are only a handful of sites in Assam (Choudhury 2000). Among the winter visitors, Garganey Anas querquedula, Nothern Pintail Anas acuta and the Near Threatened Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca are noteworthy. Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis is another threatened species recorded in this IBA. Hilloljyoti Singha has done a detailed study for his Ph.D on Greater Adjutant in the Brahmaputra valley. He mentioned in his thesis that these three sites are very important for the Greater Adjutant. During the studies, he found 18 nests of Greater Adjutant in Haibargaon, and 5 nests in Khutikatia. He also counted 92 bird in the non-breeding season (65 adult and 27 juveniles).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna of the grassland include Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi, Jungle Cat Felis chaus and different species of turtles.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striata resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Dumping ground

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Hilloljyoti Singha, Shimanta Goswami, Raj Phukan, Ranjan, Borthakur, Manas Bhuyan, Nabin Bordoloi, Kandarpa Bordoloi, Jiten Das, Pranab Patar, Bidyut Jyoti Das, Kamal Ch. Bhuyan, Sashidananda Bordoloi, Prasanta Goswami, Diganta Goswami and Prasanta Bordoloi..

References 

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia. The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Choudhury, A. U. (2000) The Birds of Assam. Gibbon Books and WWFIndia, NE Regional Office, Guwahati.

Singha, H. (1999): Ecology, Biology and Ethology of Greater Adjutant Stork Leptoptilos dubius (Gmelin) In Assam, India. Ph.D. thesis. Department of Wildlife Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Deobali Jalah, Sialmari, Haibargaon, Khutikatia (Nagaon). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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