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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 77o 40.50' East  13o 21.75' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 890 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Nandi Hills also referred to as Nandi Durg, about 60 km north of Bangalore, is a popular tourist spot. The site lies within the 2,837 ha Nandi State Forest, comprising three main hillocks (over 1,400 m) with seven peaks in all. Of these, Nandi Hills is the tallest (1,435 m). Though Nandi Hills has a general pattern of scrub and deciduous type of vegetation, altitudinal variations in the floristic composition can be seen owing to the influence of several ecological factors (Boraiah and Fathima 1970). There is an extensive plateau on the top, sloping to the west, that harbours a crater-like depression in the northwest. Part of this depression supports evergreen vegetation with a dense shrub layer dominated by Coffea sp. In addition to a few lianas, the trunks and branches of the vegetation within this evergreen patch are draped with Spagnaum moss (Subramanya et al. 1994). The hill slopes and valleys are covered with open scrub, and at places there are introduced Eucalyptus and Shorea talura. Most of the original forest cover has disappeared, replaced by secondary growth, primarily thorny scrub. However, some natural forest is still surviving, especially near the summit (Ghorpade et al. 1974). Lantana grows like a weed and has invaded the undergrowth, replacing native flora. Hillsides are clothed with scrub forest, mixed with Eucalyptus.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: During his Mysore survey, Ali (1939) had visited Nandi Hills and made notes on birds. Later, Ghorpade et al. (1974) made several trips to this area for bird watching and insect collection, and recorded only 38 bird species, some of them more common to hills than the Deccan plains. But none of these observers recorded the globally threatened Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus, till Subramanya et al. (1991) visited this area, especially looking for this bird. They found that it lives “near vertical slopes of giant rocky knobs dotted at places with dense canopies of stunted trees such as Ficus montana growing out of cracks and crevices.” Subramanya et al. (1994) have seen the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii in 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1992 at an elevation of 1,450 m. This is an interesting record, as the species is generally found in the moist evergreen biotope of the Western Ghats from Kerala to western Maharashtra (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). The species has also been observed nesting at Nandi Hills (Karthikeyan 2000). The Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon is listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001) owing to its small, declining population, as a result of widespread destruction of its forest habitat. Prior to its decline, Nandi Hills along with the adjoing hill ranges once supported a healthy population of Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus. In the evergreen patch of forests, Subramanaya et al. (1994) and Prasad et al. (1995) have recorded many forest species such as Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis, Blue-headed Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus, White-throated Ground Thrush Zoothera citrina cyanotus, Blackbird Turdus merula, Indian Blue Chat Erithacus brunneus and Pied Ground Thrush Zoothera wardii. The site lies in the Southern Deccan Plateau which comes under Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone, according to classification of biomes by BirdLife International (undated). In this biome, 59 species have been listed which could be considered as representative of the bird assemblages of this large biome. This biome includes a wide range of habitat, including both forests and open country. Many of the species listed have adapted to manmodified habitats, thus they are quite widespread and common. Nevertheless, out of the 59 species, 24 have been seen at Nandi Hills and its environs. Therefore, this site fulfils A3 criteria (the site is known or thought to hold a significant component of the group of species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to one biome: BirdLife International, undated).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.

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 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2014 very high favourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - unspecified species happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

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

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributors: S. Subramanya and the IBA team.


Ali, S. (1939) The Birds of Mysore: Part II. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 43: 318-341.

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.

Boraiah, G. and Fathima T. (1970) Some aspects of vegetation at Nandi Hills. Univ. Agricultural Sciences Publication, Bangalore, pp.22.

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

Ghorpade, K. D., Verghese, A. and Mallik, A. (1974) Birds of the Nandi Hills: A Preliminary Survey. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 14(5): 1-5.

Karthikeyan S. (2000) Circumstantial evidence of breeding of the Nilgiri Wood Pigon Columba elphinstonii (Sykes) at Nandi Hills, near Bangalore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 97: 429-430.

Prasad, J. N., Karthikeyan, S. and Subramanaya, S. (1995) The wintering of the Indian Blue Chat and Pied Ground Thrush at Nandi Hills, Karnataka. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 92(2): 267-269.

Subramanya, S., Karthikeyan, S. and Prasad, J. N. (1991) Yellow-throated Bulbul at Nandi Hills. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 31(3&4): 7-8.

Subramanya, S., Prasad, J. N. and Karthikeyan, S. (1994) Nilgiri Wood- Pigeon Columba elphinstonii (Sykes) at Nandi Hill near Bangalore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 91: 319-320.

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

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