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Location India, Madhya Pradesh
Central coordinates 81o 14.45' East  23o 35.63' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 44,885 ha
Altitude 440 - 800m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Shahdol district, 195 km from Jabalpur and 210 km from Khajuraho, two major tourist spots. This famous tiger hunting area was once owned by the erstwhile Maharaja of Rewa. It was handed over by him to the Government in 1968, when privy purses and privileges were abolished, and he was unable to look after the forest wealth. Charaching was rampant and the forest lay devastated. Once it came under the control of the Forest Department, Bandhavgarh’s fortune took dramatic turn. It was declared a protected area, and the animal population began to flourish. At that time, the Park covered an area of 10,600 ha, all of which comprised the present day Tala Range (Tyabji 1994). In 1984, the area of the Park was increased to 44,800 ha, with the inclusion of three ranges, namely Kalwa, Magadhi and Khitauli. In 1993, the Park was upgraded to a Tiger Reserve. Bandhavgarh is fortunate in that unlike most of the other parks in India, it is not an isolated and fragmented patch of forest. It forms part of a larger forest block. Apart from the 25,000 ha Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary that is connected with the Park to the north, there are a number of smaller pockets of protected and reserve forest, interspersed with small agricultural communities (Tyabji 1994). The Park has extensive Sal forest, hills, valleys, rivers, marshes and meadows, resulting in varied floral and faunal diversity. The forest is dominated by Sal Shorea robusta and Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus. The vegetation of the Park is Tropical Moist Deciduous. There are mixed forests in the higher reaches of the hills. A few rare species, such as the insectivorous plant Drosera peltata, and medicinal plants such as Buch Acorus calamus are found in some isolated patches of the Tala Range of the Reserve.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Bandhavgarh National Park holds about 242 species of birds (Tyabji 1994). Besides the two Critically Endangered Gyps species, the Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and Sarus Crane Grus antigone are also found. An interesting difference between Kanha and Bandhavgarh (both IBAs in central India) is the almost complete absence of the Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus in Kanha, while in Bandhavgarh it is just as abundant as the Oriental White-backed Gyps bengalensis. The steep cliffs of Bandhavgarh Hill provide suitable nesting habitats for the Long-billed Vulture. The Sal and Bamboo forests are good for the White-naped Woodpecker Chrysocolaptes festivus, Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus, Red Spurfowl Galloperdix spadicea and Painted Spurfowl G. lunulata (Kazmierczak and Singh 1998). Tyabji (1994) found some interesting Himalayan and Sub- Himalayan bird species such as the Plain-backed Mountain Thrush Zoothera mollissima, Gold-fronted Chloropsis Chloropsis aurifrons, Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus, Dark-grey Bush Chat Saxicola ferrea and Dusky Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus. This proves that these species are more widely distributed and abundant than was believed earlier. In January 2002, Rufous-gorgeted or Orange-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata was seen near a resort close to Bijaria village (D’Cunha, in press). According to Ali and Ripley (1987), and Grimmett et al. (1999), it is an altitudinal migrant and winters in the Himalayan foothills. Till now, there is no record of this species in central India. The Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, a Near Threatened species, is resident in the Western Ghats, East India and Sri Lanka (Grimmett et al. 1999). Regular sightings of this species in Bandhavgarh (Tyabji 1994), sometimes up to 13 individuals, including subadults, indicate that it is more widely distributed in central India than was believed earlier. The Sarus Crane breeds in this area, one chick was seen in July 1989 (Tyabji 1994). The site can be included in Biome-11, (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone). Out of the 59 species listed by BirdLife International (undated) for Biome-11, 32 are found in this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Bandhavgarh National Park is the place where the famous White Tigers of Rewa were discovered. The last known capture of a white tiger was in 1951. Bandhavgarh is densely populated with other animal species too. The faunal assemblage constitutes typical central Indian species.

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, A3  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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 hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bandhavgarh National Park 44,885 is identical to site 44,885  


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
water management -
Notes: Watershed management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: The IBA Team.


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

D’Cunha, E. P. (in press) Sighting of Orange gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh: First record from Peninsular India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C. and Inskipp, T. (1999) Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Kazmierczak, K. and Singh, R. (1998) A Birdwatchers’ Guide to India. Prion Ltd., Sandy, U. K.

Tyabji, H. N. (1994) The Birds of Bandhavgarh National Park, M.P. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 91: 51-77.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bandhavgarh National Park. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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