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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 76o 22.47' East  11o 49.82' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 87,420 ha
Altitude 690 - 1,450m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Extremely rich wildlife characterizes Bandipur, one of the most famous national parks not only in Karnataka but also in the country. Contiguous to Mudumalai WLS (IBA) in Tamil Nadu in the south, to Wynaad WLS (IBA) in Kerala in the southwest, and to Nagarhole NP (IBA site) in the northwest, it holds most of the representative species of South India biodiversity. This Park is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Details about the habitats and fauna are given by Sharatchandra and Gadgil (1975), and Johnsingh (1983, 1984). Much work on the wildlife of the Park has been done by Gadgil (1974) of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Johnsingh (1983) completed a long-term study of wild dog Cuon alpinus at the Park. An ecological reconnaissance by Nair et al. (1977) referred to the formation of the Jawahar National Park, especially in the context of elephant habitat, and under Project Tiger scheme. The terrain of Bandipur is undulating and broken by chains of hills, flat-topped hillocks and watercourses. The Park is drained by the perennial Kabini, Nugu and Moyar rivers, and by the Bavali, Moolehole, Kekkanalla, and Marandi streams. The River Moyar has cut a picturesque, 260 m deep gorge, prosaically known as the Mysore Ditch (Neginhal 1974). The soil is usually a mixture of red laterite and black cotton soil. In some places, sandstone, semiquartzite and shales are present (Jain and Sastry 1983). Cultivated land borders the north side of the National Park. The Kabini river, across which a major irrigation dam has come up at Beechanahalli, forms the boundary between this Park and the Nagarhole NP. Three main types of vegetation are observed in the Park, namely Scrub in the easternmost portion, Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest in the central portion, and Tropical Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest in the western part. The Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest has a top canopy of Anogeissus latifolia, Tectona grandis, Terminalia tomentosa, and others (Neginhal 1974). The undergrowth comprises mainly grasses and Lantana. The Tropical Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest in the National Park used to feature extensive stands of Bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea and Dendrocalamus strictus). Top canopy species include: Tectona grandis, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Terminalia tomentosa, Dalbergia latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Salmalia malabarica, Kydia calycina, Adina cordifolia, Stereospermum zylocarpum, Schleichera oleosa and Ficus infectoria. Details of vegetation are given in Naginhal (1974) and Jain and Sastry (1983).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Some studies on large mammals have been conducted in Bandipur, but not much work has been done on its bird life, except for checklists based on short visits. Even so, more than 180 bird species have been reported, including many threatened ones. This IBA also has eight restricted range species of the Western Ghats. As Bandipur is at the edge of Biomes-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) and Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest), it harbours elements from both biomes. From the available literature, we could identify seven species from Biome-10 out of the 15 listed by BirdLife Internationl (undated) and 27 from Biome-11 out of the 59 listed. Most of them are common species. More are likely to be listed once detailed research is done. Many migratory species occurring in other biomes also winter here. Although, Bandipur has four Vulnerable and one Critically Endangered species, based on the classification of BirdLife International (2001), most of these species are found in other places also and none of them have highly significant populations in Bandipur. For instance, the Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus are widely distributed. Similarly, the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, although confined to the Western Ghats (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998), is widespread and found in many IBAs.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Bandipur NP is extremely rich in wildlife, due to effective protection by the Karnataka Forest Department. Despite selective poaching of tuskers, we still find some fine old male Asian Elephants Elephas maximus sporting large tusks.

It has a huge population of ungulates such as Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Gaur Bos frontalis, and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. This community supports a healthy population of Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Wild dog Cuon alpinus and Hyena Hyaena hyaena. Sloth bear Melursus ursinus is regularly seen. Among the smaller predators, there are the Jungle Cat Felis chaus and the Golden Jackal Canis aureus. Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna may not be uncommon, but is rarely seen due to its secretive nature. Reptiles include the Mugger Crocodylus palustris in the Nugu river, Indian Rock Python Python molurus and numerous species of snakes, lizards and turtles.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus resident  2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high favourable medium
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Unknown  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bandipur National Park 87,420 is identical to site 87,420  
Nilgiri UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 552,000 protected area contains site 87,420  


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Thejaswi Shivanand.


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.

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

Gadgil, M. (1974) Wildlife Ecology Research Project, Bandipur National Park. Report for the period May-November, 1974. Centre for Theoretical Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

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

Jain, P. (2001) Project Tiger Status Report. Project Tiger, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Jain, S. K. and Sastry, A. R. K. (1983) Botany of some tiger habitats in India. Botanical Survey of India, Howrah. Pp.71.

Johnsingh, A. J. T. (1983) Large mammalian prey-predators in Bandipur. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Society 80: 1-57.

Nair, S. S. C., Nair, P. V., Sharatchandra, H.C. and Gadgil, M. (1977) An ecological reconnaisance of the proposed Jawahar National Park. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Society 74: 401-435.

Neginhal, S. G. (1974) Project Tiger. Management plan of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Karnataka State. Pp.142.

Sharatchandra, H. C. and Gadgil, M., (1975) A year of Bandipur. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Society 72: 623-646.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bandipur National Park. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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