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Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 72o 53.00' East  19o 1.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 1,000 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The open mudflats of Trombay and Sewri are located along the Arabian Sea. An area c. 10 km long and 3 km wide, is dominated by mangroves all along the coast. The area is prohibited for the general public. The jetty of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and Tata Electrical are located along the area. There are refineries of Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). Despite the high degree of pollution, the area is a winter refuge for thousands of migratory birds from as far as the Arctic circle. They include sandpipers, plovers, gulls and terns. The area also supports a large congregation of flamingos, which are local migrants probably from Gujarat. Raptors also use the area as a stopover and a few of them winter here, such as the Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus and the Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. The area is dominated by mangrove vegetation and supports a diverse flora. Fifty-three species of vascular plants have been recorded. Of these 10 species are mangroves and 13 are mangroveassociated species. Avicennia marina is a dominant plant species in the area, while Rhizophora mucronata and Excoecaria agallocha also occur.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Till now about 150 bird species have been identified from this IBA. Along the mudflats in Sewri, 1,500-2,000 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber, 15,000 Lesser Flamingos P. minor, and 7,000 Lesser Sand Plovers Charadrius mongolus have been sighted in January 2003. Globally threatened species such as the Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca and Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis are seen here. Other bird species include the Little Green Heron Butorides striatus, Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis, Black-headed or White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Common Redshank Tringa totanus, Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatilis, Common Greenshank T. nebularia, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus, Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus, Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica, Caspian Tern Sterna caspia, Little Tern S. albifrons and Eurasian Marsh Harrier. Extremely large numbers of stints (Calidris spp.), sometimes in flocks of 8 to 10 thousand are seen, even to the end of May. It should be noted that many of these numbers are much above the 1% threshold of biogeographic population determined by Wetlands International (2002). This site easily fulfils A4i (=1% of biogeographic population) and A4iii (=20,000 waterbirds) criteria.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The only large mammal species recorded in this marshland was a Golden Jackal Canis aureus (Verma et al. 2002). Other fauna includes eight reptiles, 28 species of butterflies, eight species of gastropods, five species of bivalves, two species of pulmonates and nine species of crustaceans.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor non-breeding  2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer winter  2004  present  A1  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high near favourable low

Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Marine Coastal/Supratidal   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Mangrove forest (tropical)  major
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats  major
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Industrial area; Oil refineries; Saltpans; Shipyard

Acknowledgements Key contributors: T. V. Sowrirajan, S. Balachandran, Ashok Verma, I. Kehimkar and Vivek Kulkarni.


Wetlands International (2002) Waterbird Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Verma, A., Kehimkar, I., Balachandran, S., Chaturvedi, N. C., and J. C. Daniel (2002) Habitat enrichment of the salt marshes of Bharat Petroleum at Mahul for birds. Final Report Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mahul - Sewree Creek. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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