|Central coordinates||72o 0.00' East 21o 53.48' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4ii|
|Altitude||1 - 6m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
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.
|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 area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Velavadar||National Park||3,408||is identical to site||3,408|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|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.
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 01/10/2014
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