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Location India, Gujarat
Central coordinates 69o 52.00' East  24o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 750,722 ha
Altitude 15 - 438m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Flamingo City lies in the Rann of Kutch, 10 km northeast of Nir at the tip of Pachchham Island south of Solanki Bet. The area is famous for the nesting of Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber. Maharao Khengarji was the first to confirm the breeding of Greater Flamingos in India (Shivrajkumar et al. 1960) and later confirmed that they breed in large numbers, in the so-called Flamingo City (Rao 1909). Later, Ali (1945) estimated a total population in the order of half a million birds in 1945. The Flamingo City is now a part of the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary (7,50,622 ha). The habitat of the Sanctuary is true saline desert in low-lying flats, with an average altitude of 15 cm above msl (Singh 1998). Kala-Dungar is the highest point (438 m) within the Sanctuary. The flat sterile land (called Rann) becomes submerged during the rainy season. Flamingos nest only when the water level is optimum (both due to good rainfall and ingress of sea water). Other habitats of this sprawling Sanctuary include the bets or islands supporting vegetation, seasonal waterbodies, saline-alkaline scrub, Prosopis scrubland, desert thorn scrub forest in the hilly region Kala-Dungar, and marsh vegetation (Singh 1998). Plant diversity is poor in this area. Salvadora persica, S. oleoides, Capparis aphylla, C. decidua, Commiphora wightii, Zizyphus sp., Acacia senegal, Balanites sp., Euphorbia sp., Prosopis spicigera, P. chilensis, Aeluropus logopoides, Suaeda sp. and Cressa cretica are the main species on bets and uplands (Singh 1998). The Rann is more or less devoid of vegetation. Interestingly, a small patch of mangroves is found, about 100 km inland, due to the saline water (Ranjitsinh 1985).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: This site (Flamingo City) has been selected as an IBA based on its importance as a breeding ground of the Greater Flamingo in India. Over 70,000 birds nest in an area of about 100 ha (H. S. Singh pers. comm. 2001). Besides the flamingoes, some globally threatened species are also reported. This is the only known site in India where the Rosy Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus has been found breeding (Ali 1960).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The most famous mammal is the Indian Wild Ass Equus onager found mainly at the junction the Little Rann of Kutch. Other species include Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Grey Wolf Canis lupus, and Caracal Caracal caracal (Singh 1998). Bluebul Boselaphus tragocamelus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Striped hyena Hyaena hyaena, Desert Fox Vulpes vulpes, Civet Cat Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis, Common Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi and Porcupine Hystrix indica are also found in suitable habitats.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  2004  70,000 individuals  good  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Unknown  low 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Wetlands (inland)   -
Desert   -
Shrubland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military -
Notes: Army
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human habitation

Acknowledgements Key contributor: H. S. Singh.


Ali, S. (1945) More about the Flamingo [Phoenicopterus ruber roseus (Pallas)] in Kutch. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 45: 586-593.

Ali, S. (1960) Flamingo city revisited: Nesting of the Rosy Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus Lanneus) in the Rann of Kutch. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 57: 412-415.

McCann, C. (1939) The Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber antiquorum Temm.). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 41: 12-38.

Ranjitsinh, M. K. (1985) An “island’ Sanctuary in Kutch. J. Bombay Nat. His. Soc. 82: 180-182.

Rao, K. (1909) The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) in Cutch. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 19: 262.

Shivrajkumar, Naik, R. M. and Lavkumar, K. S. (1960) A visit to the Flamingo city in the Great Rann of Kutch. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 57: 465-478.

Singh, H. S. (1998) Wildlife of Gujarat, Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar. Pp. 123.

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

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