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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 93o 20.85' East  26o 39.28' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4iii
Area 84,980 ha
Altitude 67 - 80m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Kaziranga National Park (47,171 ha) is an internationally famed wilderness, mainly known for the Indian One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis. However, Kaziranga has large populations of many others endangered species, notably the Tiger Panthera tigris, Wild Buffalo Bubalus arnee (= bubalis) (largest population in the world), Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Swamp deer Cervus duvaucelii and many more. However, it is equally rich in avian diversity with more than 490 bird species. Situated in the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river, it covers parts of Nagaon, Golaghat and Sonitpur districts of central Assam. Panbari and Kukurakata Reserve Forests, small but important areas for many forest bird species, lie just outside the Park, but are included in the IBA. The Kaziranga authorities administer these reserve forests. Kaziranga is a world heritage site, a part of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve and is a proposed Ramsar site. The terrain of the Park is flat (67-80 m above msl), with an east to west and south to northwest incline. Being in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra River, the soil of the Park is mainly recent alluvium. Floods are an annual phenomenon, and 50-70 per cent of the total landmass gets submerged for many days. The floodwaters generally recede after 7-10 days. Areas along the base of the Karbi Anglong (a plateau) are at a higher elevation (80 msl) and form natural ‘highlands’ that do not get flooded. Soil erosion and the shifting course of the Brahmaputra induce constant change in the total area of the landmass. Numerous small rivers and channels flow through the Park from east to west and some, which originate from the Karbi plateau in the south, run northwards and ultimately drain into the Brahmaputra river. Shallow oxbow lakes, locally known as ‘beels’ are the relicts of older channels. There are many such beels inside the Park. Some beels have been silted up, producing swamps and marshes. Consequently, there has been an increase in areas of tall grass and a reduction in areas of short grass. The habitat of Kaziranga is such that waterbodies and grasslands form a significant part of the Park’s area. Wetlands cover 7%, grasslands 57% (tall grass 52%; short grass/marshes 5%), sand 7%, and woodland 29% of the total area of the original Park (Kushwaha and Madhavan Unni 1996; Kushwaha 1997). There are three main types of vegetation: alluvial inundated grassland, Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest and Tropical Semievergreen forest. Grasslands predominate in the west, with tall elephant grass on the higher ground and short grasses on the lower ground surrounding the beels. Erianthus ravennae, Phragmites karka, Arundo donax, Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum spp. are the main grass species. The herbaceous Alpina allughas grows abundantly all over the grassland, especially in the damp areas. Amidst the grasses are numerous forbs, and scattered trees of Bombax ceiba, Dillenia indica, Careya arborea and Emblica officinalis. Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests, near Kanchanjuri, Panbari, and Tamulipathar blocks, are dominated by trees such as Aphanamixis polystachya, Talauma hodgsonii, Dillenia indica, Garcinia tinctoria, Ficus sp., Cinnamomum bejolghota and Syzygium sp. Tropical Semi-evergreen Forests occur near Baguri, Bimali and Haldibari. Barringtonia acutangula grows in the waterlogged areas.

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 
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer winter  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Jerdon's Babbler Chrysomma altirostre resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Slender-billed Babbler Turdoides longirostris resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
White-throated Bushchat Saxicola insignis winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Yellow Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kaziranga National Park 84,979 is identical to site 84,979  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   29%
Grassland   57%
Wetlands (inland)   14%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature Conservation
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism/recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Anwaruddin Choudhury and Asad R. Rahmani.

References 

Baruah, M. and Sharma, P. (1999) Birds of Kaziranga National Park, India. Forktail 15: 47-60.

BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., Unpublished.

Choudhury, A. U. (1987) Railway threat to Kaziranga. Oryx 21: 160-163.

Choudhury, A. U. (2003) Birds of Kaziranga National Park: A checklist. Gibbon Books and the Rhino Foundation, Guwahati. 49 pp.

Kushwaha, S. P. S. and Madhavan Unni, N. V. (1996) Applications of remote censing techniques in forest cover monitoring and habitat evaluation - a case study at Kaziranga National Park, Assam. In, Wildlife habitat evaluation using remote sensing techniques. (Eds., Kamat, D. S. and Panwar, H. S.) Indian Institute of Remote Sensing/ Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Pp. 238-247.

Kushwaha, S. P. S. (1997) Landmass dynamics and rhino habitat suitability in Kaziranga National Park. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun Narayan, G., Sankaran, R., Rosalind, L. and Rahmani, A. R. (1989) The Floricans Houbaropsis bengalensis and Sypheotides indica. Annual Report 1988-89. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay Pp. 39.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, the Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kaziranga National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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