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Location India, Gujarat
Central coordinates 70o 9.00' East  22o 32.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 1,650 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The IBA site consists of a group of three shallow, freshwater lakes and extensive marshes adjacent to a large area of saltpans and salt marshes. It lies on the south shore of the Gulf of Kutch, about 10 km from Jamnagar. Part of the Sanctuary was the intertidal zone of the Gulf of Kutch before the construction of reclamation bunds across two creeks to control salinity and to recharge ground water. It has a dry tropical monsoon climate, with rainfall mainly concentrated in July and August. Habitats in this seasonal inland wetland include freshwater shallow marshes, intertidal mudflats, creeks, saltpans, saline land and mangroves (Singh 1998). The freshwater marshes dry up in summer, and at high tide, the water of the marsh becomes saline. The wetlands are partly owned by the Forest Department and Revenue Department, and partly under private ownership. Khijadiya Sanctuary has both freshwater marshes and intertidal mudflats and marshes (divided by a 5,996 m earthen reclamation bund). The freshwater marsh is covered by thick stands of Typha angustata and Saccharum spontaneum, while on the long bund, Prosopis chilensis, Acacia nilotica and Salvadora sp. are seen (Singh 1998).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Over 200 species of birds have been recorded from the area (Singh 2001), which is a unique combination of seasonal freshwater wetland and coastal wetland ecosystems. It supports over 90 species of waterfowl and waders, some of which like Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus breed here (Singh 2001). The Sanctuary is located in the extreme western part of the country and is an important stopover site and wintering ground for migratory birds. Threatened birds include Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis. This site has been designated as an IBA mainly based on the congregatory criteria (A4i, iii). During good rainfall years, when the expanse of the freshwater lake is maximum, more than 20,000 ducks and waders are found in this Sanctuary. The saline marshes attract thousands of waders such as stints, sandpipers and plovers. A few threatened species have also been found in Khijadiya. Over all it makes for an excellent IBA. Although recent information on species-wise population is not available, based on old information (Scott 1989), Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Common Crane Grus grus, and Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca occur above their 1% biogeographic population thresholds as determined recently by Wetlands International (2002). There is a record of sighting of 190 Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis (Scott 1989) and 76 in March 2000 (BirdLife International 2001). The Near Threatened Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus is regularly seen in Khijadiya. Probably, it breeds nearby but no nest has been located. Several species of waterbirds breed in the area, including Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Purple Swamphen or Moorhen Porphyrio porphyrio, Coot Fulica atra, Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus, and Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus. At least four pairs of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus bred in 1984, and since then they have been regularly seen breeding.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The wild mammals of the site include Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Indain Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Bluebul or Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus and Common Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi.

Freshwater turtles are quite common in some parts of the Sanctuary.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2012 low favourable medium
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

No known threats no known threats happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Very little or no conservation action taking place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Khijadia Sanctuary 605 protected area contained by site 605  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Grazing
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: H. S. Singh and the IBA Team.


BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Scott, D. A. (ed.) (1989) A Directory of Asian Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. xiv + 1181 Pp. 33 maps.

Singh, H. S. (1998) Wildlife Protected Areas of Gujarat. Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

Singh, H. S. (2001) Natural Heritage of Gujarat. Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

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: Khijadiya Lake and Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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