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Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 73o 35.15' East  19o 14.47' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 13,078 ha
Altitude 650 - 1,140m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the northern part of the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. It is situated at the crest of the main Sahyadri range and includes spurs running gradually into the eastern plains, as well as steep terraced western slopes leading to the Konkan. Three rivers, Bhima, Ghod and Arala, originate from the western part of the Sanctuary. The crest of the Sanctuary experiences high velocity winds from December to March and is completely fog-bound during the monsoon. The main physical features of the Sanctuary are ridges, hill slopes, plateau, uplands, gorges, ravines, cliffs, valleys, rocky stream basins, spurs with flat tops, and valleys. Bhimashankar Sanctuary is famous for the highly endangered subspecies of the Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica elphinstoni, locally known as Shekru. This is the state animal of Maharashtra. At the heart of the Sanctuary there is an old shrine of Bheema Shankar at the origin of the River Bhima. The Sanctuary includes Semi-evergreen, Moist Deciduous and scrub forest. It contains several evergreen species that are locally abundant only in restricted localities in the Western Ghats. Some plant species are Memecylon umbellatum, Atlantia racemosa and Xantolis tomentosa. Carvia callosa is another interesting species. During monsoon, various species of mosses and epiphytes including bioluminescent fungi can be seen on the trees.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  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, A3  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Tytler's Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus tytleri winter  2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bhimashankar Sanctuary 13,078 is identical to site 13,078  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Livestock grazing
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Transport

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Prakash Gole and Renee Borges.


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

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.

Gole, P. (2000) Survey of Birds of Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary and formulation of Management guidelines for their protection.Final Report. A project sponsored by the Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra.

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

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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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