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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 77o 13.97' East  30o 58.25' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 10,854 ha
Altitude 701 - 2,408m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Chail Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Solan and Shimla districts. Formerly, it was the private game reserve of the Maharaja of Patiala. Inspite of degradation, it is still one of the best sanctuaries for the Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii. The Sanctuary has, within its boundaries, Chail town and numerous villages, and is connected by a forest corridor to the Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary (an IBA) in the north. It comprises part of the catchment area of a tributary of the Giri River. The forest cover of the Sanctuary includes Himalayan Subtropical Pine Forest, Ban Oak Forest and Moru Oak Forest, according to the forest classification by Champion and Seth (1968). The dominant forest tree is Ban Oak Quercus incana, mixed with Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii at lower altitudes. Rhododendron Rhododendron arboreum forms pure stands in places and Cedar Cedrus deodara and Blue Pine Pinus wallichiana have been planted in some areas. There is little mature forest, and much secondary growth due to disturbance (Gaston and Singh 1980). Reference to the habitat map in Garson (1983) shows that the forest is largely confined to the northern half of the sanctuary. Around 418 ha were planted with Pine, Oak, Cedar and Robinia up to 1984 (Singh et al. 1990).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Chail Sanctuary 10,854 is identical to site 10,854  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Urban transport

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Sanjeeva Pandey, S. Sathyakumar and Naim Akhtar.


Akhtar, N. and Narang, M. L. (2002) Status, Distribution and Conservation of Galliformes in Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh. Proceedings of National Seminar on Galliformes. AVC College, Mayiladuturai.

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.

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

Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A revised survey of forest types of India, Govt. of India Press, Delhi. Pp. 403.

Garson, P. J. (1983) The cheer pheasant Catreus wallichii in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas: an update. WPA Journal 8: 29-39.

Gaston, A. J. and Singh, J. (1980) The status of the cheer pheasant Catreus wallichii, in the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary Himachal Pradesh. WPA Journal 5: 68-73.

Gaston, A. J., Hunter, M. L. Jr, and Garson, P. J. (1981) The wildlife of Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. University of Maine School of Forest Resources Technical Notes No. 82. Pp 159.

Kalsi, R. S. (1999) Status and habitat of Cheer Pheasant in Himachal Pradesh. WPA-SARO News 1(1): 2-4.

Sharma, V., Garson, P. J. and Khera, S. (1990) Status surveys of Cheer and Western Tragopan in Simla Hills of Himachal Pradesh. Pp 139-141. In: Pheasants in Asia 1989 (eds. Hill, D. A., Garson, P. J. and Jenkins, D.). World Pheasant Association, Reading, U.K.

Singh, S., Kothari, A. and Pande, P. (Eds) (1990) Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh: management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. Pp 164.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chail Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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