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Location India, Madhya Pradesh
Central coordinates 77o 21.63' East  23o 13.67' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 3,072 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Bhoj Wetland comprises two contiguous man-made reservoirs, the “Upper Lake” and the “Lower Lake”. The Upper Lake was created by Raja Bhoj in the 11th century by the construction of an earthen dam across the Kolans river, and the Lower Lake was constructed nearly 200 years ago, largely from the overflow of water from the Upper Lake. Both the lakes are urban waterbodies, located in the fast growing city of Bhopal, the state capital. Bhoj Wetland was designated as a Ramsar site in November 2002. The Upper Lake is surrounded by Van Vihar National Park on the south, human settlements on the east and north, and agriculture fields on the west. The Lower Lake is surrounded by human settlements on all sides. The Upper Lake is a major source of potable water for Bhopal. The Upper lake is very rich in biodiversity, particularly resident and migratory birds, macrophytes, phytoplankton, zooplankton, both natural and cultured fish species, insects, reptiles and amphibians. A management action plan has been implemented since 1995, with financial support from the Government of Japan. As part of this management plan, to follow up the impact on birds, 18-month study was undertaken in 2000-01, which helped in documenting the avifauna of the site. During this study, more than 20,000 waterbirds (A4iii criteria) were recorded. A belt of deciduous forest, with cliffs and steep contours towards the southeastern boundary comprises Van Vihar National Park. The greater part of the long western and southwestern peripheries of the site is covered with a mix of semi-desert and secondary scrub, semi-arid grassland, arable land, improved pastureland, perennial crop cultivation and forestry plantation. The extensive forestry plantation, being still young, around the lake boundaries augurs well for avian diversity in the near future.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Common Coot Fulica atra 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bhoj Wetland Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 3,201 unknown 0  
Van Vihar National Park 445 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -
Artificial - aquatic   -
Grassland   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Aquaculture
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Domestic water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Koustubh Sharma and P. K. Nandi.


Sharma, K. (2002) Avifauna Study of the Upper Lake, Bhopal. Pp. 292.

Bhoj Wetland Project, Environment Planning and Coordination Organization, Bhopal.

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bhoj wetland. Downloaded from on 30/10/2014

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