email a friend
printable version
Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 77o 27.23' East  12o 18.68' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 52,696 ha
Altitude 125 - 1,514m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description As the name indicates, this Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the River Cauvery, which flows through the major part of this protected area. The River Cauvery demarcates the northern and eastern boundary of the Sanctuary. To the east and northeast, the Sanctuary is bordered by Tamil Nadu state. Deciduous and riverine forests cover much of the area, especially the eastern parts. The Sanctuary has riverine and dry deciduous forests, and some patches of scrub forest. Along the river, trees such as Terminalia arjuna and Syzygium cumini dominate the vegetation. Tamarindus indica, Hardwickia binnata, Acacia amara, Feronia sp., Ficus sp. and species of Acacia represent the vegetation in the rest of the Sanctuary. The northwestern part has been cleared, but good forests survive in other areas (Lal et al. 1994).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The avifauna of the Sanctuary is typical of semi-arid areas. Besides the two critically endangered Gyps species of vultures, which have a wide distribution and are not confined to this IBA or habitat alone, this IBA has four Vulnerable and two Near Threatened species. The sighting of Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon, a Vulnerable species (BirdLife International 2001), in Cauvery is interesting. This bird occurs in Moist Evergreen Forests in the Western Ghats complex, but moves a lot in search of fruiting trees. Therefore, it sometimes visits the Cauvery forests also. It seems that it is much more widespread than thought earlier. This site is an important area for the Pied Tit Parus nuchalis and has been recorded at several locations in and around this IBA (Lott and Lott 1999). BirdLife International (undated) have listed 15 species that represent Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). Even with no detailed work on bird life, nine out of 15 species have been seen in this site, more are likely to be recorded if proper study on birds is conducted. Although, this site lies in the drier zone of Karnataka, it also has some patches of forest where species of tropical moist forest are also seen. In the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone i.e. Biome-11, BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 species. Most of them are common, but nevertheless important representatives of their biomes. In Cauvery, 25 species have been recorded belonging to this biome, including Near Threatened Redheaded Vulture Sarcogyps calvus. Lott (1987a, 1987b, 1987c) has identified 127 species in and around Kaveri Valley. Shivanand (in press) has shown that the Cauvery basin, covering about 81,15,500 ha is an important wintering area for the globally threatened Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. He saw them on 29 sites, including two riverine areas.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna of the site includes Leopard Panthera pardus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Malabar Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica maxima, Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura, Common Otter Lutra lutra and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis. This Sanctuary is possibly one of the last refuges of the highly endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel in Karnataka (Manjrekar 2000). Reptiles include Marsh Crocodiles Crocodylus palustris, Turtles Chelonia sp, Indian Rock Python Python molurus, Indian Cobra Naja naja, Russell’s Viper Daboia russelii and Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus. This Sanctuary is known for its Mahseer fish Tor spp.

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, A3  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis resident  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high 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 hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams 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)  
Cauvery Sanctuary 52,696 is identical to site 52,696  


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: S. Subramanya.


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.

Lal, R., Kothari, A., Pande, P. and Singh, S. (1994) (Eds.) Directory of National Parks and Sanctuaries in Karnataka, Management Status and Profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. Pp. 231 Lott, E. J. (1987a) Birds of the Kaveri Valley. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 27 (1-2): 7-10 Lott, E. J. (1987b) Birds of the Kaveri Valley (continued). Newsletter for Birdwatchers 27 (3-4): 12-16.

Lott, E. J. (1987c) Birds of the Kaveri Valley- additions. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 27 (9-10): 16.

Lott, E. and Lott, C. (1999) On the occurence of White-naped Tit (Parus nuchalis) in Southern India. Forktail 15 : 93-94.

Manjrekar, N. (ed.) (2000) A Walk on the Wild Side, Karnataka Forest Department, Wildlife Wing.

Shivanand, T. (in press) Status of the Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga Pallas in the wetlands of the Kaveri Basin of Karnataka. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife