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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 74o 18.43' East  15o 32.57' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 60,000 ha
Altitude 60 - 810m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Bhimgad forest lies in the districts of Belgaum and Uttar Kannada (North Kanara) in Karnataka. This region is part of the central Western Ghats, forming a large corridor as it is surrounded on all sides by sanctuaries and national parks, except to the east. The site is an excellent representative of Wet Evergreen Rain forests and is home to a diverse flora and fauna. Amidst these forests lie the ruins of an old fort Bhimgad of historical importance. Therefore, to give a single recognizable name to this unprotected forest area, the region is called Bhimgad forest. The Bhimgad forest is a part of one of the largest contiguous forest ranges in the Western Ghats. To the southeast lies Dandeli WLS, to south lies Anshi NP (both in Karnataka), the western border extends to Goa and is formed by Cotigao WLS, Netravali WLS, Bhagwan Mahavir WLS and Molem NP, which are contiguous with the rich evergreen forests extending up to Radhanagiri WLS through the Amboli Reserve Forest areas in Maharashtra. Castle Rock is a small village on the Miraj-Londa railway line. The site spreads over 5,820 ha of forested land around Castle Rock railway station and village of the same name. It is under the jurisdiction of the Karnataka Forest department. A railway line passes through the site, connecting Londha (Karnataka) with Collem (Goa) stations. There is a tar road within the site, which connects Castle Rock village with National Highway 4A and nearby villages. Castle Rock has a population of 1,500. Apart from this village, there are 11 small settlements with a total population of around 5,000. These are isolated agricultural patches in the forest. Blessed with good rainfall, Bhimgad and Castle Rock are covered with Wet Evergreen, Semi-evergreen Moist Tropical Forest and Moist Deciduous Forests, interspersed with grasslands, some degraded forest and cultivation. The vegetation has been described by Thakur et al. (1964) and Vartak (1966). The vegetation changes from Moist Deciduous to Semi-evergreen at higher elevations. At still higher elevations around crest lines, there are isolated patches of typical Tropical Evergreen Forest. These forests contain some endemic species such as Diospyros nigrescens, Connarus ritchiei, Jasminum malabaricum, Memecylon talbotianum and Myristica malabarica. The mountain range and valleys are crisscrossed with perennial streams, providing drinking water to millions of people. The Mahadayi river originates here and runs in to Goa as Mandovi, a major source of fresh water for the state.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus 2004  present  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Wynaad Laughingthrush Garrulax delesserti 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
energy production and mining -
Notes: Mining
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. Tejal, V. R. Bhagwat, S. D. Apte, R. Ashtekar, M. Wadekar, Vishweshwar Madhav and S. Thejaswi.


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

Bates, J. J. and Harrison, D. L. (1997) Bats of the Indian Subcontinent. Harrison Zoological Museum, England. Pp. xvi + Pp. 258.

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

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

Rasmussen, P. C. and Anderton, J. C. (in press) Birds of South Asia: the Ripley guide. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Thakar, C. V., Diva, V. V. and Subramanyana, M. C. (1964) Bee Keeping potentiality of the Castle Rock area. Indian Bee Journal 26: 4-15.

Vartak, V. D. (1966) Enumeration of plants from Gomantak, India: with a note on botanical excursions around Castle Rock. Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Sciences, Pune - 4. 132-149.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bhimgad Forests. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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