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Location India, Meghalaya
Central coordinates 92o 27.50' East  25o 9.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 16,110 ha
Altitude 100 - 1,000m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The site includes two reserve forests, Norpuh Blocks I and II in the southern part of Jaintia Hills district. The area has some of the finest primary forests remaining in Meghalaya. Block I, established in June 1909, lies west of Lubha, the main river of the area, while Block II, established in March 1918, is eastward of the river. Both are near the India-Bangladesh international boundary. Block II is also contiguous with Barail IBA site of Assam. The terrain is rugged, with steep slopes, deep gorges and narrow valleys. Other major rivers are Prang (Hari) and Apha. Although these forests are on National Highway-44, and can be reached easily, accessibility to the interior areas is very difficult because of the extremely rugged terrain and steep slopes and lack of roads to the interior. The climate of Norpuh (also spelled as Narpuh) forests is tropical monsoon type, with a hot and wet summer, and a cool and drier winter. The area often receives very heavy rainfall, may be more than 6,000 mm, from the southwest monsoon. In the lower warmer areas, Cachar Tropical Evergreen Forest is found, whereas in the higher cooler areas, Khasi Subtropical Hill Forest is seen (Champion and Seth 1968). There are grassy areas in the forest openings and in abandoned jhums. The area is known for its rich biodiversity but no systematic work has been done. The IBA site is likely to yield species new to science, especially among amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and plants.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: More than 140 species of birds have been recorded at this site (Lahkar 2002). Two globally threatened species, Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis and Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus are found here, perhaps in significant numbers. The Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler, an endemic bird of India, has a very small known range in Meghalaya, Assam and Manipur (Ali and Ripley 1987, BirdLife International 2001). The site lies in Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA-130). According to Stattersfield et al. (1998), 21 species can be considered as Restricted Range in this EBA. From the available literature (Lahkar 2002), four are found here. Perhaps some more are yet to be identified. This site lies in Biome-9 (Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest). In this Biome, BirdLife International (undated) has listed 19 species that represent the typical bird assemblage. The following four species of this biome have been seen by Lahkar (2002): Whitecheeked Hill Partridge Arborophila atrogularis, Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus and Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea. As the site has relatively intact Tropical Evergreen Forest in lower warmer areas and Sub-tropical Evergreen Forest in cooler higher areas, many species of Biome-7 and Biome-8 are found here in winter. Some interesting species of these biomes are: Mountain Bamboo-Partridge Bambusicola fytchii, Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii, Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica, Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis, Blyth’s Kingfisher Alcedo hercules, Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina melaschistos, Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris, White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus, Orange-bellied Chloropsis Chloropsis hardwickii, Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus, Nepal Tit- Babbler Alcippe nipalensis, Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae, Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna, Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii, Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae, Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush G. pectoralis and Yellow-breasted Babbler Macronous gularis. This site is selected as an IBA as it has globally threatened species (A1 criteria) and restricted range species (A2 criteria).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The site is rich in primates with seven species, namely Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Stump-tailed macaque Macaca arctoides, Pigtailed Macaque M. nemestrina, Rhesus Macaque M. mulatta, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileata, and Hoolock gibbon Hylobates hoolock (Choudhury 1998). The presence of endangered mammals such as the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Yellow-throated marten Mustela strigidorsa, Dhole or Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Golden Cat Catopuma temmincki, Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis and Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine Atherurus macrourus shows the importance of this IBA. Other notable mammals include the Himalayan Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Large Indian civet Viverra zibetha, Small Indian civet Viverricula indica, Himalayan Palm Civet Paguma larvata, Binturong Arctictis binturong, Leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis and Jungle cat Felis Chaus. The ungulates present are Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer or Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak and Gaur Bos frontalis (Choudhury 1999).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator winter  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - smog happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture; Cash crop (Arecanut)
forestry -
Notes: Forest

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Kulojyoti Lahkar and Anwaruddin Choudhury.


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.

Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A Revised Survey of the Forest types of India. Government of India, New Delhi.

Choudhury, A. U. (1998) A survey of primates in the Jaintia Hills. America Society of Primatology Bulletin 22(3): 8 -9.

Choudhury, A. U. (1999) Wildlife in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya with a proposal for a national park/wildlife sanctuary. Interim Report. The Rhino Foundation for Nature in NE India, Guwahati. Pp 4.

Lahkar, K. (2002) Birds of Upper Shillong, Norpuh, Umiam and Mawphlang. Unpublished Report to the Bombay Natural History Society. Mumbai. Pp 41. + 2 maps.

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: Norpuh Reserve Forests. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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