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Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 77o 0.10' East  21o 28.27' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 115,003 ha
Altitude 312 - 1,178m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve lies at the northern extreme of Amravati district of Maharashtra on the Madhya Pradesh border. It is situated on a southern offshoot of the Satpura range. The name Melghat means the place where the ghats meet. The core area (36,128 ha) is formed by the Gugamal National Park and the buffer area (78,828 ha), by the Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary. These were together re-notified by the state government in 1994 as the Melghat Tiger Reserve. The remaining area (52,693 ha) is managed as a ‘multiple use area’. The Variat Devi Point in the Chikaldhara Plateau is at 1,178 m, the highest point in Melghat. The vegetation is mainly Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest. Besides these forests, there are grassy meadows throughout the Reserve, especially on the hilltops. The terrain of the Melghat Tiger Reserve is a rugged portion of the Gavilgarh hills, which are a part of the Satpuras. Topographically it consists of a succession of hills and valleys. The main ridge, called Gavilgarh Ridge, runs east-west on the southern part of the Reserve. It is a flat plateau on top, descending in abrupt and sharp precipitous scarps on both sides and then steep slopes down to narrow valleys. These abrupt variations in altitude, aspect and gradient are seen throughout the Reserve. The Plateau was earlier used for agriculture. The Reserve is a catchment area for five major streams, all of which are tributaries of the River Tapti. The forest type is Tropical Dry Deciduous, dominated by Teak Tectona grandis and Bamboo. There are patches of Semi-evergreen and Moist Deciduous Forests. The dominant species is Teak (30- 70%), which was planted in a large area clear felled for this purpose. There are many species of orchids, ferns, grasses and other herbs. The common epiphytic orchids are Aerides, Rhynchostylis and Vanda. Ceropegia odorata, an extremely rare species, is found in this area.

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, A3  Critically Endangered 
Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Critically Endangered 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa resident  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gugamal National Park 36,128 protected area contained by site 36,128  
Melghat Sanctuary 77,875 protected area contained by site 77,875  


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Kishore Rithe, Deepak Apte, Dilip Yardi, S. Jhunjhunwala, B. Raha and N. B. Bhure.


BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Ishtiaq, F. and A. R. Rahmani (2000) Further information on status and distribution of Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti). Forktail 16: 125-130.

Kasambe, R. M. (2002) Additions to the birds of Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra. Zoo’s Print Journal 18(3): 1050.

Rithe, K. (2003) Saving the Forest Owlet Sanctuary Asia 23 (1):30-33.

Savarkar, V. B. (1987) Bird Survey of the Melghat Tiger Reserve. Cheetal 29: 4-27.

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: Melghat Tiger Reserve. Downloaded from on 17/09/2014

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