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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 77o 14.50' East  31o 6.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 1,025 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 3,324m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description This IBA is one of the few sanctuaries in the state free from human habitation, mainly due to a long history of protection and the steep terrain which discouraged human habitation. It was protected in British India as the catchment area for supply of water to Shimla, the summer capital of the British. After India’s Independence in 1947, the area came under state control and was notified as a protected forest in 1952. To the south, it is connected by a forest corridor to Chail Sanctuary (another IBA). The Sanctuary area is within the purview of the Simla Municipal Corporation. The entire Sanctuary is forested, mostly with temperate coniferous forest. Cedar Cedrus deodara is predominant, mixed with Ban Oak Quercus incana and Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii at lower altitudes, and Fir Abies pindrow, Blue Pine Pinus wallichiana, Moru Oak Quercus. dilatata and Spruce Picea smithiana at higher altitudes. Shrub and ground layers are generally well developed, with shrubs covering 50% of the area. Ground vegetation is mainly grasses, but includes a variety of ferns and forbs (Gaston 1979).

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)  
Shimla Catchment Sanctuary 1,025 is identical to site 1,025  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
water management -
Notes: Water catchment

Acknowledgements Key contributor: IBA team.


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 BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Gaston, A. J. (1979) Preliminary reports on the results of the course on ‘Techniques for Censusing Pheasants’, 21-28 April 1979, Simla Water Catchment Area and Chail Reserve, Himachal Pradesh. Unpublished report to World Pheasant Association and Himachal Pradesh Forest Department.

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.

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.

Green, M. J. B. (1981) Himalayan musk deer, India. Progress Report No. 7. WWF Project No. 1328. P. 14.

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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 16/09/2014

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