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Location India, Haryana
Central coordinates 77o 32.65' East  30o 21.90' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 10,088 ha
Altitude 240 - 700m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary, an important IBA of Haryana State, was selected mainly for Biome-restricted species, as Kalesar represents the last stand of Broadleaf Deciduous Forest in the state. Kalesar is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Haryana covering 13,300 ha of the lower Shivalik in the Himalayan foothills. It is primarily Sal Shorea robusta forest of varying height and density and open scrub with broad, stony storm-watercourses, which are usually dry. The Yamuna River runs to the east. The site can easily be reached from Delhi via Yamunanagar (200 km) or from Dehra Dun or Chandigarh via Paonta Sahib. It is at the junction of the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh (Sharma 2002). The topography varies from plains to hills up to an elevation of 700 m, interspersed with narrow valleys locally called ‘khols’ between the hills. These valleys house seasonal rivulets locally called ‘soats’ which remain dry for most of the year. The Sanctuary has a number of natural and manmade waterbodies. It is linked by a metalled road with some villages located along the southwestern border of the Sanctuary.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A total of 304 bird species have been reported from this IBA (Sharma 2002) and the site fully earns its IBA status. As Kalesar is located, just at the foothills of the Himalayas, locally called Bhabar, it is at the junction of two biomes: Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forests (Biome-8) and Indo-Gangetic Plains (Biome-12). But as Kalesar is relatively dry, many species of Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone (Biome-11) are also present. As can be seen from Table, Kalesar has more species of Biome-11 than Biome-12 or Biome-8. In winter, many species of Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7) also descend to these forests, as passage migrants or to spend the winter. Some interesting birds reported by S. Sharma and B. Harvey (pers. comm. 2003) are Brown-fronted Woodpecker Dendrocopos nanus, Great Barbet Megalaima viridis, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis, Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata, Orange-flanked Bush Robin Tarsiger cyanurus, Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris, Grey-sided Bush Warbler Cettia brunnifrons, Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus, Gold-spectacled Flycatcher Warbler Seicercus burkii, Black-chinned Babbler Stachyris pyrrhops, Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis and Black-throated Accentor Prunella atrogularis. Kalsi (1998) studied this site from 1993-95 but his checklist contains only 161 species. There are a remarkable number of surprising omissions of species that are clearly common. There are also a few surprising inclusions (given the habitat) and where they have not been confirmed by later observers such as S. C. Sharma and Bill Harvey. One uncommon species, the Long-tailed or Rufous-vented Prinia Prinia burnesii, was described by Kalsi as a common resident but this would be the first location for it in Haryana. It is probably a case of mistaken identity (Sharma 2002). BirdLife International (2001) considers it as Near Threatened. This Prinia is found in long grasses, mainly in the vicinity of large rivers (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). Such habitat is lacking in Kalesar and adjoining areas. Kalesar’s relative accessibility and its position at the junction of the Indo-Gangetic Plains and the Western Himalayan make it likely that other species will be added. Indeed, recently Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis and Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra have been found suggesting some range expansion westwards (Sharma 2002). Kalesar also has some globally threatened species as listed by BirdLife International (2001). These include Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus and Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (Sharma 2002). It also has many Near Threatened species. Probably, pure breed of wild Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus is found in Kalesar but this needs further confirmation. Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos is quite common.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Kalesar forest harbours Leopard Panthera pardus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Hyena Hyaena hyaena among the large predators. Recently, pugmarks of Tiger Panthera tigris have been seen after a gap of several decades. Cheetal or Spotted Deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak are the common ungulates. Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus is also found.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kalesar Sanctuary 10,088 is identical to site 10,088  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Suresh Sharma, Bill Harvey, Ram Jakati, Rajiv Kalsi and Nikhil Devasar.


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

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Grimmett, R., Inskipp C. and Inskipp, T. (1998) Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, Christopher Helm, London.

Kalsi, R. S. (1998) Birds of Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary, Haryana, India, Forktail 13: 29-32.

Rodgers, W. A. and Panwar, H. S. (1988) Planning a Protected Area Network in India. 2 vol. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Sharma, S. C. (2002) Birds of Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary (Haryana). Unpublished.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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