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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 95o 51.00' East  27o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 15,450 ha
Altitude 100 - 250m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description This IBA site in extreme eastern Assam includes seven reserve forests and two proposed reserve forests. The reserve forests are Burhidihing-North and South Block (2,295 ha), Kotha (1,130 ha), Namphai (2,100 ha), Tinkopani (3,030 ha), Tirap (1,454 ha), Tipong (445 ha) and additions to Tirap and Tipong (4, 995 ha). This IBA covers plains of the Burhi-Dihing River, as well as the foothills of Patkai Range. All these areas bear tropical rainforest and are known strongholds of the endangered White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata (Choudhury 1996a, 1998). The Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata has been also reported (Choudhury 1997). These forests are also rich in primates and other wildlife. A national highway and other roads pass through the area, making it accessible to a great extent. The approach to Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh is through this area and the habitat is still contiguous. The vegetation of the site is mainly Tropical Wet Evergreen type, with Dipterocarpus macrocarpus, Shorea assamica, Terminalia myriocarpa, Artocarpus chaplasha, Dillenia indica, and Ficus spp. dominating. The important grasses are Arundo donax, Phragmites karka, Imperata cylindrica, and Saccharum spp. found along riverbanks and in depressions.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Except for surveys by Choudhury (1996a, 1998) in search of White-winged Duck, not much work has been done on avifauna in this area. This site is extremely rich in birds, especially hornbills, pheasants and other forest birds. Most of the Indian bird species of the Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forests (Biome-9) are likely to be found in this IBA, besides species of other biomes (5, 7, 8, and 11) in winter. The important biome bird species are the Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, Mountain Bamboopartridge Bambusicola fytchii, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata, Himalayan Flameback or Golden-backed Woodpecker Dinopium shorii, Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica, Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis, Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis, Himalayan treepie Dendrocitta formosae, White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus, Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara, and Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalenis. Detailed investigation on the bird life is required. Presently, we do not have information on the Restricted Range species, if any, found here. Similarly, information on biome-restricted assemblages is lacking. As the forest is largely intact, this site is extremely important for the protection of many forests birds.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Tirap-Burhidihing IBA is rich in mammalian fauna. Seven species of primates are found there: Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Pigtailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina, Stump-tailed macaque M. arctoides, Rhesus Macaque M. mulatta, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis and Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang (Choudhury 1996b). The site is known for its large herds of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus. Major carnivores are Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus and Wild Dog Cuon alpinus. Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus is also reported.

Malayan Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor and Common Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista live in the closed canopy forest areas.

Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, as well as Gaur Bos frontalis are the major herbivores.

The reptiles and amphibians found in this IBA are not well recorded.

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 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus resident  2004  present  A1, A3  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2003 very high 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant 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
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Anwaruddin Choudhury and Kulojyoti Lahkar.


Choudhury, A. U. (1996a) Survey of the White-winged Wood Duck and the Bengal Florican in Tinsukia district and adjacent areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Rhino Foundation for Nature in NE India, Guwahati.

Choudhury, A. U. (1996b) Survey of primates in some parts of eastern and central Assam. Final report to ASTEC (Assam Science Tech. & Environment Council), Guwahati. Pp.32.

Choudhury, A. U. (1997) Current status of the Masked finfoot in India. News Letter for Birdwatchers 37(5): 90-91.

Choudhury, A. U. (1998) Status and conservation of the white-winged duck in eastern Assam, India. OBC Bulletin 28:14-17.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tirap - Burhidihing. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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