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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 93o 27.28' East  25o 39.52' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 77,000 ha
Altitude 150 - 598m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Dhansiri is the second largest reserve forest in Assam. Located in Karbi Anglong district, bordering Nagaland’s Intanki National Park, it is rich in both birds and mammals. Dhansiri and the adjacent forests of Daldali Reserve forest, Barlangpher District Council RF (DCRF) and Tamulbari DCRF were proposed for a tiger reserve (Choudhury 1992, 1993a, 1998). It is already a part of Dhansiri-Lungding Elephant Reserve that was notified in 2003. The area consists of undulating plains to low hills, which are part of Karbi plateau. Because of continuous erosion by rivers Dhansiri, Jamuna, Lungding, Borlangpher, Diphu Nala and others, the area has become much lower in elevation than the northern plateau and southern hills. Geographically, the area is known as the Dhansiri Gap. The lowest parts are about 150 m above msl. The highest point is 598 m (Thangnangsip) in Khelma area. The elevation of the larger part of the proposed reserve is 200-250 m. The Dhansiri river marks the southern and southeastern boundary of the proposed reserve. Other important rivers include the Lungding, Barlangpher, Chhotalangpher, and Diphu Nala. Most of the smaller nullahs become dry during winter. The climate of the area may be called the ‘tropical monsoon type.’ The summers are hot and wet, while the winters are cool and dry. The area is in the low rainfall zone (actually a rain-shadow zone) of northeastern India. The forest type is Tropical Moist Deciduous and Tropical Semievergreen (Choudhury 1993a). The top canopy consists of Tetrameles nudiflora, Amoora wallichii, Artocarpus chaplasha, Michelia champaca, Mesua ferrea, Phoebe goalparensis, Gmelina arborea, Duabanga sonneratioides, Dillenia scabrella, Canarium resiniferum and Mansonia dipikae (endemic to the area). The middle layer consists of Eugenis jambolana, Premna benghalensis, Dillenia indica, D. scabrella, Albizzia procera and Emblica officinalis. The understorey has Zizyphus spp., Clerodendron spp., Calamus spp., with Lantana camara in the open patches. Abandoned jhums (slash-and-burn shifting cultivation of the hill tribes) are covered with various grasses such as Themeda villosa, Saccharum procerum, Imperata cylindrica, and shrubs (Eupatorium odoratum). In the depressions Alpinia allughas, herbs, and Arundo donax and Neyraudia reynaudiana grasses (both locally called Nal) occur. Plantations of the Forest Department are mainly Tectona grandis (Teak), Gmelina arborea and Albizzia procera.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A rich and diverse bird life exists in the area. About 250 species have been recorded so far while there may be more than 350 (Choudhury 1998). The White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata has been reported from Dhansiri RF (Choudhury 1993a) while there are historic records from near Dhansiri River, near Daldali RF (Godwin-Austen 1874; Hume 1890; Hutchinson 1946). In Inglongiri, the ducks have been reported in flight or roosting on trees. In Dhansiri, they were recorded in the lake near Langcholiet, just outside the boundary of the reserve forest. There is also an old report from a pool in the upper reaches of the Diphu-nala (Choudhury 1998). The Burmese or Green Peafowl Pavo muticus is now extinct in the area. Five species of hornbills are reported from this IBA site: Oriental or Indian Pied Anthracoceros albirostris, Great Pied Buceros bicornis, Wreathed Aceros undulatus, Rufous-necked Aceros nipalensis and Brown Anorrhinus tickelli. In winter, the abundance of birds increases to a great extent with the arrival of altitudinal migrants and winter visitors. The Spot- winged Starling Saroglossa spiloptera is seen in swarms, especially on the northern edge of Dhansiri RF (Choudhury 1998). The Fairy Bluebird Irena puella, Black Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps and Greywinged Blackbird Turdus boulboul are abundant and found all over the place. The birds of Biome 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 have been recorded in Dhansiri. They are too many to list here. Five Near Threatened species are recorded from this IBA including the Blyth’s Kingfisher Alcedo hercules and Long-tailed Prinia Prinia burnesii. Among the more common forest birds, notable species are Black or Black-crested Baza Aviceda leuphotes, Blyth’s Baza or Jerdon’s Baza A. jerdoni, Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucos, Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea, Mountain Imperial Pigeon D. badia, Barred-tailed Cuckoo-dove Macropygia unchall, Wedgetailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenura, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon T. curvirostra.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna in the area is exceptionally rich. Seven species of primates, i.e., the Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Pig-tailed Macaque M. nemestrina, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis and Stump-tailed Macaque M. arctoides are found (Choudhury 1996b).

Other mammals include Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata (Choudhury 1996a), Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Dhole or Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Wild Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis (= arnee) (a small population reported), Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Hog Deer Axis porcinus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Binturong Arctictis binturong and Malayan Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor.

The diversity of reptiles has not been assessed fully, however, the notable species recorded were Keeled Box Turtle Pyxidea mouhotii (Choudhury 1993b). Common Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, Water Monitor Lizard V. salvator, Rock Python Python molurus, King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah, Indian Cobra Naja naja, Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus, Common Krait B. caeruleus, Buffstriped Keelback Amphiesma stolata, Common Vine Snake Ahaetulla nasuta and Green Pit Viper Trimeresurus gramineus have been recorded. The Reticulated Python Python reticulatus has also been reported (Choudhury 1998).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Green Peafowl Pavo muticus resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
White-winged Duck Asarcornis scutulata resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
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%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid 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

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Dhansiri-Lungding Elephant Reserve Other 0 protected area overlaps with site 0  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Cultivation including jhum (in encroachments)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Anwaruddin Choudhury and Kulojyoti Lahkar.


Choudhury, A. U. (1996a) The marbled cat Felis marmorata Martin in Assam - some recent records. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 93(3): 583-584.

Choudhury, A. U. (1998) Dhansiri Tiger Reserve. Revised proposal. The Rhino Foundation for Nature in NE India, Guwahati. Pp 30 + map.

Choudhury, A. U. (1992) Dhansiri Tiger Reserve. Unpublished Report. Pp. 8 + map.

Choudhury, A. U. (1993a) A naturalist in Karbi Anglong. Gibbon Books, Guwahati.

Choudhury, A. U. (1993b) Keeled box turtle in Karbi Anglong- a new locality record. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 90: 517.

Choudhury, A. U. (1996b) Survey of primates in some parts of eastern and central Assam. Final Report to ASTEC, Guwahati. Pp. 32 + maps.

Godwin-Austen H. H. (1874) Fourth list of birds principally from the Naga Hills and Munipur, including others from Khasi, Garo and Tipperah Hills. J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 43(2): 151-180.

Hutchinson, R. E. (1946) The White-Winged Wood Duck. Asacornis scutulata (Muller). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 46: 402-403.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Dhansiri Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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