|Central coordinates||72o 0.00' East 22o 19.98' North|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description The Bhal (literally meaning the forehead) is a flat alluvial plain, made up of a mosaic of croplands, saline wastelands, grasslands, pasture land and marshes (Dharmakumarsinhji 1978). It is bordered on the south by the Kalubar river, extends north to Dholka and Dhandhuka, and northwest to Limbdi. The Bhal region is believed to have emerged from the sea during the late Tertiary and early Quaternary, much later than the rest of Saurashtra which appeared during the Cretaceous period (Dharmakumarsinhji 1978, Raychaudhari et al. 1963). The Bhal region is prone to droughts and floods. Cyclones occasionally strike the coast of Saurashtra. During such times, the Bhal becomes a large swamp. This attracts a very large number of waders and other waterbirds. The Bhal area was an open treeless habitat as recently as 50 years ago (Dharmakumarsinhji 1978, Mungall et al. 1981). Prosopis chilensis was planted in the Bhal area about 60 years ago near Mithapur, to provide fuel wood. It has since spread rampantly and converted much of the grasslands into savanna and thorn-forest habitat (Jhala 1991). Nearly forty species of grasses have been identified from the area. The dominant grass species are Dicanthium annulatum, Sporobolus virginicus, S. coromandelianus and S. maderspatensis. Prosopis chilensis is the dominant species of shrub.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||passage||2004||present||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga||winter||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca||winter||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Endangered|
|Sarus Crane Antigone antigone||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|White-browed Bushchat Saxicola macrorhynchus||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Grazing land|
|Notes: Human habitation; Saltpan industries; Traffic / transportation|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: I. R. Gadhvi, V. A. Rathod and Y. N. Jhala.
Craighhead J. J. and Craighhead, F. C, Jr. (2001) Life with an Indian Prince. Heritage Publication Series, Vol. 2. Archives of American Falconry, Boise, Idaho, USA.
Dharmakumarsinhji, K. S. (1978) Velavadar National Park, Gujarat, India. Tigerpaper 5 (1): 6-8.
Gadhvi, I. R. and Rathod, V. A. (2003) Status survey of threatened bird species in the Bhal area, Gujarat with special emphasis to Houbara bustard and Stoliczka’s Bushchat. Report submitted to Bombay Natural History Society.
Jhala, Y. V. (1991) Habitat and population dynamics of wolves and blackbuck. Ph. D. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, U.S.A.
Mungall, E. C., Patel, B. H., Prasad, N. L. N. S. and Dougherthy, S. E. (1981) Conservation and management of the Indian blackbuck antelope (Antilope cervicapra). Joint U. S. - Indian Blackbuck Project, Final report. Pp. 111.
Raychaudhari, S. P., Agarwal, R. R., Biswas, N. R. D., Gupta, S. P. and Thomas, P. K. (1963) Soils of India. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. Pp. 496.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bhal area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/10/2014
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