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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 76o 8.93' East  12o 1.05' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 64,339 ha
Altitude 701 - 959m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Situated within the southeastern parts of Kodagu (Coorg) and southwestern parts of Mysore district, Nagarhole NP borders Kerala State, while Mysore city is about 50 km to its northeast. The southern border is contiguous with the reservoir of the Kabini River Dam. The southeastern boundary follows the state border, while the western border runs along the Mysore-Mangalore highway. The northern boundary extends along this road to just south of Hunsur and the eastern boundary runs from this point south to the Kabini Reservoir. The Brahmagiri Hills lie west of the Park. Nagarhole forms a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and together with the Bandipur Tiger Reserves (87,500 ha) and Mudumalai National Park (32,500 ha) on the southeast and the Wynaad Wildlife Sanctuary (35,000 ha) on the southwest forms the largest protected forest tract in peninsular India. There are two main types of vegetation: Moist Deciduous Forest in the northern and western parts of the IBA, and Dry Deciduous Forest in the southeastern part. The Moist Deciduous Forests are tall and dense, with a two-storey canopy. The upper canopy, at approximately 30 m, is dominated by Terminalia tomentosa, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Pterocarpus marsupium, Grewia tiliaefolia, Dalbergia latifolia and Tectona grandis. The lower canopy has the prolific fruit bearers: Phyllanthus emblica, Dillenia pentagyna and Randia sp. The shrub layer is usually very dense and varied in composition. A unique feature of these forests is the open grassy swamps, locally called hadlus, where the grass is lush all the year round. In the Dry Deciduous Forest, the canopy is lower and trees are more widely spaced. A second canopy is barely discernable. Many moist forest trees are also present: Anogeissus latifolia is usually the commonest; Cassia fistula, Butea monosperma and Dendrocalamus strictus are all common. Patches of open grassland are present (Karanth 1983; Israel and Sinclair 1987). The bamboo flowering occurs every 40-50 years (Seshadri 1986). Much of the Park is covered by plantations of teak and species of Eucalyptus (Nair et al. 1978).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Over 270 species of birds are present (Anon. 1987), including Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus and Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus. Andheria (1999) has listed 130 species based on his two visits. He reports globally Vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, and many species, listed by BirdLife International (2001) as Near Threatened. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is regularly sighted in this Park (Andheria 1999) and probably breeds there. During winter, the Black Stork Ciconia nigra is occasionally seen. The important feature of this site is the presence of two major forest types (biomes): Moist Deciduous Forest having avian elements of the Western Ghats, and on the rain shadow side, the Dry Deciduous Forest showing species of the much drier Deccan regions. BirdLife Interantional (undated) has identified 15 species in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) which occur mainly in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area. Seven species of this biome have been noted from this IBA till now. Similarly, in Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone), BirdLife International has identified 59 species. Twenty-one species of this biome are found in Nagarhole NP but more are likely to be found, if more detailed research is conducted. Many of the species listed in this biome have adapted to man-modified habitats, therefore they are widespread and common. This site has been selected as an IBA as it has threatened species, restricted range (endemic) species and biome-restricted assemblages. It also forms an important part of a much large, conservation unit that includes at least four IBAs (Nagarhole, Mudumalai, Bandipur and Wynaad). Another reasons is that it has extensive dry deciduous and moist forests, providing habitat to a large number of bird species. Their diversity, density and distribution need to be studied.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The diverse fauna includes Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata and Slender Loris Loris tardigradus.

Notable among the carnivores is Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Jungle Cat Felis. chaus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, while the Hyena Hyaena hyaena is rare.

Herbivores include Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, with a population of approximately 300 animals, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Indian Muntjak or Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Mouse-deer Moschiola meminna, Gaur Bos frontalis and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Small mammals include the Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica, Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Brown Mongoose Herpestes fuscus and Stripednecked Mongoose H. vitticollis, Common Otter Lutra lutra, Blacknaped Hare Lepus nigricollis, Pangolin Manis crassicaudata, Common Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica maxima and the Porcupine Hystrix indica.

Among reptiles, Mugger Crocodylus palustris, Indian Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, and Rock Python Python molurus are present.

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, A3  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

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 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Mudumalai National Park 10,323 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Mudumalai Sanctuary 21,776 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Nagarahole National Park 64,339 is identical to site 64,339  
Nilgiri UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 552,000 protected area contains site 64,339  
Wayanad Sanctuary 34,444 protected area is adjacent to site 0  


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

Land use

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


Andheria, A. (1999) Birds of Nagarhole (Rajiv Gandhi) National Park, Karnataka. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 39 (4): 58-60.

Anon.(1987) A preliminary checklist of birds of Nagarhole and environs. Wildlife Department, Karapur, Jungle Lodge and Resort. Unpublished.

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.

Israel, S. and Sinclair, T. (1987) Indian Wildlife, APA Productions, Hong Kong. Pp. 363.

Karanth, U. (1983) Nagarhole. Sanctuary- Asia 3: 140-153.

Nair, S. C., Nair, P. V., Sharatchandra, H. C. and Gadgil, M. (1978) An ecological reconnaissance of the proposed Jawahar National Park. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74: 401-435.

Seshadri, B. (1986) India’s wildlife and wildlife reserves. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Nagarhole National Park. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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