email a friend
printable version
Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 80o 4.05' East  21o 18.77' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 15,281 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Tirora Range of Bhandara Forest Division in Bhandara district. The Sanctuary is considered as an oasis in the easternmost part of Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region. The Sanctuary is an important connecting link for the movement of tigers between Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) and Indravati Tiger Reserve (Chhattisgarh). The forests have the advantage of two perennial tanks, one in Nagzira and the other in Thadezari. These two tanks guarantee a source of water to wildlife throughout the year. The Sanctuary has the rare distinction of allowing no grazing rights and no forest exploitation since its inception in 1970. The habitat in the Sanctuary varies from dense mixed forests, bamboo brakes, and grasslands interspersed with fruit and fodder trees, caves, valleys, aquatic and riparian habitats, along with seasonal streams. There are no villages inside the Sanctuary. Nagzira harbours diverse vegetation ranging from Dry, Mixed Forests to Moist Forests and is classified as a Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest. Tectona grandis grows sparsely associated with Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Diospyros melanoxylon. Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus grows abundantly. The vegetation of Nagzira has been described by Malhotra and Rao (1981).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: 166 bird species have been reported from the Sanctuary by the Forest Department (Misra undated). Both Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus and Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii have been listed. Ali and Ripley (1987) have reported many areas where both these species occur, and sometimes hybridize. However, precise distribution ranges, especially the outer boundaries of their distribution are not fully recorded. Chitampalli (1977) has seen three Pale-capped or Purple Wood- Pigeons Columba punicea on a salt lick near Intiadoh lake. This bird is found only in the Eastern Ghats, northeast India and Bangladesh (Grimmett et al. 1998) so the presence of this Vulnerable species (BirdLife International 2001) in this region is interesting. Possibly, it is found in many adjoining areas in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. This whole region in central India remains under-explored as far as bird life is concerned. Jamdar (1982) has reported the Forest Wagtail Motacilla indica from this IBA. Four globally threatened species have been identified from this IBA. The Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus are widely distributed. Probably, this IBA would be quite important for the Green Munia Amandava formosa whose population is declining, mainly due to trapping for trade (R. Bhargava pers. comm. 2003). Nagzira has been selected as an IBA primarily for its biome species. It is one of the best areas to see the species of Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone (Biome-11). Of the 59 species identified by BirdLife International (undated), 28 have been seen here. The list is too long to be included here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Mammals include the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Chital Axis axis, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak. The Sanctuary harbours about 50 species of butterflies. Amphibians are represented by Common Tree Frog Polypedates maculatus, Fungoid Frog Rana malabarica and Indian Burrowing Frog Sphaerotheca breviceps. Among the reptiles, besides lizards such as Fan-throated Lizard Sitana ponticeriana, the Jerdon’s Snake-eye Ophisops jerdoni is also found here.

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 
Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 low favourable medium

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

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

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Nagzira Sanctuary 15,281 is identical to site 15,281  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Nisarg Vidnyan Sanstha [Nature Science Society] 0


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

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: Girish Jathar, B. Raha and N. B. Bhure.


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.

Chitampalli, M. B. (1977) Occurrence of and some observations of the Purple Wood-Pigeon in Maharashtra (Bhandara district). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74(3): 527-528.

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

Jamdar, N. (1982) Occurrence of Forest Wagtail (Motacilla indica Gmelin) in Nagzira Sanctuary, Bhandara District (Maharashtra). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 79(3): 671.

Kothari, A, Pande, P, Singh, S, Variava, D. (1989) Management of National Parks and Sanctuaries in India: A status report. Environmental Studies Division, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi.

Malhotra, S. K. and Rao, K. M. (1981) The vegetation of Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and its environs (Maharashtra state). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.78 (3): 475-486.

Misra, S. S. (undated) Checklist of Birds: Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. Publ. Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Nagpur.

Rodgers, W. A., H. S. Panwar and V. B. Mathur (2000) Wildlife Protected Area Network in India: A Review (Executive Summary). Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife