email a friend
printable version
Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 76o 44.67' East  32o 30.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 37,886 ha
Altitude 2,250 - 6,044m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamba district is connected in the west by a forest corridor to the Tundah Sanctuary, another IBA. Kugti has a diverse topography and abundant water sources, many of them originating from glaciers (Singh et al. 1990) The nearest town is Bharmaur, c. 13 km away. It houses the famous Manimahesh temple, an attraction to thousands of pilgrims despite the difficult terrain and extreme cold conditions. The motorable road ends at Hadsar, a small village and then one has to trek to Kugti or Manimahesh temple. According to the classification of Champion and Seth (1968) the vegetation consists of Alpine Pasture, Western Mixed Coniferous Forest and Moist Deodar Forest. These forest types are seen at different altitudinal zones, sometimes within a few hundred metres. High altitude coniferous forest is dominated by Fir Abies pindrow, with some mixed deciduous woodland, particularly at the bottom of the valley. Extensive stands of Cedar Cedrus deodara are seen, along with many species of Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome. Similarly, subalpine forest and alpine scrub (Gaston et al. 1981a) provide good habitats to many mammals and birds. The Western Mixed Coniferous Forest component provides another habitat type for the birds.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Not much work has been done on the bird fauna of Kugti WLS. Gaston et al. (1981a) have recorded 117 species in the Ravi Valley from Dalhousie and Chamba upwards. Three species of pheasants are found at different levels: Himalayan Monal Lophophurus impejanus is reported to be common (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003), Koklass Pucrasia macrolopha is also numerous and Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii has been recorded on the north side of Budhil Nala, but not within the sanctuary itself (Gaston et al. 1981a, 1981b). Sondhi (unpublished tour report) during his survey in June 1997, recorded 40 species, including many species of the Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7), and some of Eurasian High Montane (Alpine and Tibetan) (Biome-5) and Sino- Himalayan Subtropical forests (Biome-8). Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest biome species includes Slatyheaded Parakeet Psittacula himalayana. Kugti WLS will come in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA). This large EBA, ranging in altitude from 1,500 m to 2,600 m, and in an area of about 130,000 sq. km in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal has many globally threatened and restricted range species. In India, there are 11 Restricted Range species. Looking at the undisturbed habitat available in this IBA, some restricted range species would have considerable percentage of their overall numbers in this IBA alone. More research is required to study abundance and density of different bird species. We consider this site as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The information on other fauna is also meagre, except for the work by Gaston et al. (1981a, 1983) which records: Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Goral Nemorhaedus goral¸ Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Ibex Capra sibirica and Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus. Kugti is one of the best protected areas in Himachal Pradesh for Brown Bear (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003). Other mammals listed by Singh et al. (1990) include the Leopard Panthera pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

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, A3  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kugti Sanctuary 37,886 is identical to site 37,886  


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

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
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: S. Sathyakumar, G. S. Rawat and Sanjeeva Pandey.


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

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

Gaston, A. J. Garson, P. J. and Hunter, M. L. Jr (1981b) Present distribution and status of pheasants in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. WPA Journal 6: 10-30.

Gaston, A. J., Garson, P. J. and Hunter, M. L. Jr (1983) The status and conservation of forest wildlife in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. Biological Conservation 27: 291-314.

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.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 05/05/2015

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife