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Location India, Jammu & Kashmir
Central coordinates 74o 46.00' East  33o 47.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 300 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Mirgund jheel is a shallow freshwater lake with associated reed beds and riverine marshes on the river Jhelum. The lake is fed by the local runoff and two nullhas. Much of the wetland dries out during the summer, and the water level fluctuates considerably according to the local runoff. The depth of the water varies between 0.1 m and 0.5 m. Large areas of Willow (Salix sp.) have been planted on the periphery of the lake (Scott 1989). Earthen bunds have been constructed to maintain the water level, and also to control siltation. The area has extensive reed beds and marshland. The open waterspread has floating communities of Nymphea candicia and N. stellata. The wetland is surrounded by paddy fields, pastures and plantations. All these habitat types provide foraging grounds for birds.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: This IBA is an important wintering and staging ground for thousands of migratory waterfowl. These include: the Common Teal Anas crecca, Northern Pintail A. acuta, Eurasian Wigeon A. penelope, Mallard A. platyrhynchos, Gadwall A. strepera, Northern Shoveller A. clypeata and Common Pochard Aythya ferina. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Water Rail Rallus aquaticus, Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus and Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus are said to breed in the marshes. Three to four Sarus cranes Grus antigone are regularly seen here (M. R. Dar pers. comm. 2003). Many birds occur in much larger numbers than their 1% population threshold determined by Wetlands International (2002). This site has been selected because it could be the northwestern most range of Sarus Crane in India. Another reason is the presence of very large numbers of migratory and resident birds. The third reason is its potential to become a very important bird sanctuary of the Kashmir Valley.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Not much is known about other fauna, except that the ubiquitous Golden Jackal Canis aureus occurs here. A variety of fishes such as Cyprinus carpio, Barbus conchonius and Gambusia affinis are found in the jheel.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature Conservation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: M. A. Parsa and M. R. Dar.


Scott, D. A. (ed.) (1989) A Directory of Asian Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. xiv + 1181 pp, 33 maps Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mirgund Jheel and Reserve. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015

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