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Location India, Kerala
Central coordinates 76o 11.00' East  11o 14.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 26,572 ha
Altitude 40 - 2,554m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Amarambalam Reserve Forest is one of the largest reserve forests of Kerala. It shows very high altitudinal gradation from 40 m to 2554 m, and coupled with high rainfall, the forest cover is extremely thick. It continues with the Silent Valley National Park (an IBA) and also forms a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Sharma et al. 2000).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: P. O. Nameer, State Coordinator of Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) has identified 212 species of birds from Nilambur and Amarambalam reserve forests. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998) where 16 Restricted Range species have been identified. Eight such species have been sighted in this IBA. Beside the Restricted Range species, one Critically Endangered, and two Vulnerable species are also known to occur. BirdLife International (2001) has also identified 52 Near Threatened species in India. Three of them are found in this IBA, but more are likely to be found once detailed studies are conducted. Amarambalam Reserve Forest lies in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest), classified by BirdLife International (undated). In this Biome, 15 bird species have been identified as typical biome assemblage. Twelve such species are found in this IBA. Interestingly, P. O. Nameer (pers. comm. 2003) has seen 11 species of woodpeckers and three species of barbets, seven species of bulbuls, nine species of babblers and 11 species of flycatchers. This shows that the habitat, at least for birds, is still intact in this site. Sharma et al. (2000) found high bird diversity index comparable to other areas. Shannon-Weiner Index was 3.73 and Simpson’s Index of diversity was 0.04. The bird community showed high evenness. Maximum species richness was obtained during November and highest diversity index was recorded during April.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: This site has almost all the large and small mammals found in the Western Ghats. Sharma et al. (2000) have reported 25 mammals, including the endemic and threatened Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus and Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius (observed near Mukurthi NP, another IBA).

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, 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 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

No known threats no known threats 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)  
Silent Valley National Park 8,952 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Western Ghats World Heritage Site 0 protected area contains site 26,572  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributor: P. O. Nameer.


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.

Nameer, P.O. (1993) Birds of Nilambur Forest Division - a survey report. NEST & Kerala Forest Department.

Sharma, J. K., Ramachandran, K. K., Nair. K. K. N., Mathew, G., Mohandas, K., Jayson, E.A. and Nair, P. V. (2000) Studies on the Biodiversity of New Amarambalam Reserved Forest of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In: Biosphere Reserves in India and their Management. Proceedings of the Review Meeting: Biosphere and their Management, 8-11 September 2000, Peechi, Kerala.

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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Amarambalam Reserved Forest - Nilambur. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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