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Location India, Gujarat
Central coordinates 72o 0.00' East  21o 53.48' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 3,408 ha
Altitude 1 - 6m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description A tropical grassland, internationally known for the largest concentration of Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra, is now famous for the largest population of harriers Circus spp. in the world during winter, and also for one of the largest breeding populations of the Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica in monsoon. The existence of a large, regular winter roost of harriers Circus spp. has been known since the mid-1980s, and assessments of the number of birds present at the peak period have ranged up to 2,000 (Clarke 1993). Velavadar National Park is just above sea level, located 18 km from the Gulf of Cambay and 35 km north of the city of Bhavnagar. Velavadar is at a lower elevation than its surroundings and therefore remains submerged for a longer duration when cyclones strike the coast (Dharmakumarsinhji 1978). The present area of the Park was a private vidi (grassland) of the erstwhile princely State of Bhavnagar (Jhala 1991). This IBA falls under Semi-arid Gujarat-Rajwada Biotic Province of the Semi- Arid Biogeographical Zone as per the classification of Rodgers et al. (2000). The high tidal zone of the Gulf of Khambat constitutes the boundary to the south of the Park, while wastelands and agricultural fields surround the other sides. Thirty-nine species of grasses and 46 species of sedges, shrubs and trees represent the diversity of flora. Sporobolus virginicus, S. coromandelianus, S. maderaspatenus, and Dicanthium annulatum are the dominant grasses. Prosopis chilensis shrubs cover large areas of the Park. Among the medium sized trees and shrubs, Salvadora, Acacia nilotica, Zizyphus, Capparis and Suaeda are common.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
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 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Velavadar National Park 3,408 is identical to site 3,408  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agricultural practices
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Y. V. Jhala, H. S. Singh and I. R. Gadhvi.

References 

Akhtar, S. A. (1998) Wintering ecology of the Harriers of Velavadar National Park, Bhavnagar district, Gujarat. Pp. 174. Bombay Natural History Society.

Anonymous (undated) Environmental Impact Assessment of Sardar Sarovar Project on Velavador National Park. Gujarat Ecological and Research Foundation, Gandhinagar. Pp. 120.

Clarke, R. (1993) Velavador: Largest Harrier roost in the world? Sanctuary Asia 13(5): 32-35.

Dharmakumarsinhji, K. S. (1978) Velavadar National Park, Gujarat, India. Tigerpaper 5 (1): 6-8.

Jhala, Y. V. (1991) Habitat and population dynamics of wolves and blackbuck. Ph. D. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Natarajan, V. and Rahmani, A. R. (1997) Velavador National Park. Pp. 437-463. In: Rahmani, A. R. (ed.) 1997. A study on the ecology of grasslands of the Indian plains with particular reference to their endangered fauna: Final Report. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai. Pp. 549.

Rodgers, W. A., Panwar, H. S. and Mathur, V. B. (2000) Wildlife Protected Area Network in India: A Review (Executive Summary). Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Velavadar National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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