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Location India, Gujarat
Central coordinates 70o 48.35' East  20o 48.63' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 720 ha
Altitude 1 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Kaj Lake is situated 10 km eastward of Kodinar town in Junagadh district. It is a tidal regulatory dam constructed by the Irrigation Department, Government of Gujarat in 1995. The name of the site on government record is ‘Pipalava Bandharo’ (Bandharo = earthen dams erected to harvest rainwater). The lake is bordered by three villages: Nanavada, Pipalava and Chikhli. Maximum depth of the lake is 2 m. During the high tide, particularly on full moon and no moon days, tidal water from the Arabian Sea touches the dam. Thus, one side of the dam is a large, shallow freshwater lake with moderate vegetation and on the other side the tidal mudflat attracts thousands of waterfowl in winter. The maximum water is seen during July and August and minimum during March when the lake is totally dry. As the farmers of surrounding villages drain the water to irrigate their crops from October onwards, the lake almost dries out by the end of February or March. The farmers use diesel engine or submersible water pumps to draw the water. The village Kaj is about 8 km from the lake which is also known as Kaj Nu Talav. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. Cotton, groundnut, sugarcane, sorghum, maize and millet are cultivated. Typha and Cyperus are the common emergent vegetation. The vegetation cover is moderate. The surrounding area has sparse stands of Prosopis chilensis. Sedges and grasses are found on the islands and margins of the lake. Scattered shrubs of Zizyphus and Capparis are also seen in the surrounding area.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: About 40 species of birds were observed by Indira Gadhvi (pers. comm. 2003). The wetland regularly harbours more than 20,000 birds during winter, thus it fulfills A4iii criteria. At least two globally threatened species are seen here every winter, so it also qualifies A1 criteria. Besides this, four Near Threatened species have been seen till now, and more are likely to occur. Wetlands International (2002) has recently published new waterbird population estimates. The A4i criteria of BirdLife International (undated) states that any site which has =1% of the biogeographic population of a congregatory waterbird species could be considered as an IBA. The Kaj Lake easily qualifies this criteria as it has more than 1% population of five species. The Common Crane Grus grus can be mentioned here, although with a maximum number of 675 seen in January 2003, it does not strictly hold 1% population threshold (Wetlands International estimates 1% population threshold as 700).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no mammal of great conservation concern. Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, and Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus are the commonly seen in the area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  2003  500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus winter  2003  300 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
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 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo winter  2003  27,120 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2003  7,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  2003  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2003  min 20,000 individuals  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming 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
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic   -
Coastline   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture and grazing
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Agriculture and grazing
water management -
Notes: Irrigation

Acknowledgements Key contributor: I. R. Gadhvi.


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

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo). Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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