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Location India, Madhya Pradesh
Central coordinates 80o 53.15' East  22o 20.13' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 94,000 ha
Altitude 600 - 900m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Kanha National Park (Tiger Reserve) in the central Indian highlands is well known as a world-class natural heritage site due to its large mammals, but not many people know that it is also an excellent bird watching area. Located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh and stretching over an area of 94,000 ha, Kanha National Park is part of one of the largest Tiger Reserves in the world. The National Park constitutes the core of the Tiger Reserve. The buffer zone comprises of 194,500 ha of Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest and grassland. We have considered the National Park as an IBA. Two river valleys are prominent features of the Park’s topography: the Banjar in the west and the Halon in the east, both tributaries of the Narmada. Kanha is a comparatively well-studied area (Schaller 1967, Kurt 1973, Martin 1977, Newton 1984, Kotwal 1984, 1987; Panwar 1977) but information on birds was lacking till Newton et al. (1986) published a preliminary list. Since then, there have been many additions to their records. Four principal vegetation types have been identified in Kanha: Moist Deciduous Forest, Dry Deciduous Forest, valley meadow and plateau meadow. The vegetation is chiefly made up of Sal and bamboo forests, and grassland. The vegetation has been described in detail by Jain and Sastry (1983) Kotwal (1984, 1987), and Kotwal and Parihar (1989).

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 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kanha National Park 94,000 is identical to site 94,000  


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: The IBA Team.


Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Bell, D. J., Oliver, W. L. R. and Ghose, R. K. (1990) The Hispid Hare Caprolagus hispidus. In: Chapman, J. A. and Flux, E. C. (Eds) Rabbits, Hares and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN Gland, Switzerland.Pp. 128-136.

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

D’Abreu, E. A. (1913) The occurrence of the Himalayan Yellowbacked Sunbird Aethopyga seheriae in the Central Provinces and extension of its habitat. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 22(2): 392-393.

D’cunha, E. P. E (1998) Checklist of the birds of Kanha National Park (M.P).

D’Cunha, E. P. E. (2003) Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja seheriae in Madhya Pradesh. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.100 (1):147-148.

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

Jain, S. K. and Sastry, A. R. K. (1983) Botany of some tiger habitats in India. Botanical Survey of India, Dept. of Environment, Government of India.

Kotwal, P. C. (1984) The ecology and social organization of Hanuman Langur (Presbytis entellus Dufresne, 1797) in Kanha Tiger Reserve, central Indian highlands. Ph.D. thesis, Oxford University, U.K.

Kotwal, P. C. (1987) Ecological studies on evaluation of certain wildlife habitats and their utilization by major mammals in Kanha National Park. D.Sc. thesis. Doctor Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar.

Kotwal, P. C. and Parihar, A. S. (1989) Management Plan of Kanha National Park for period 1989 to 1998-99. Project Tiger, Kanha, Mandla.

Kurt, F. (1973) Zoologisch-okologische Exkursion in den Kanha- Nationalpark (Indien). Vierteljahrsschr. Naturforsch. Ges. Zurich. 118. In German with English summary.

Martin, C. (1977) Status and ecology of the barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi) in Kanha National Park (India). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74: 61-132.

Newton, P. N. (1984) The ecology and social organization of Hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus Dufresne 1797) in Kanha Tiger Reserve, Central Indian Highlands. D. Phil. thesis, University of Oxford.

Newton, P., Breeden, S. and Norman, G. J. (1986) Birds of Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 83.

Panwar, H. S. (1977) Success with the Branderi, Barasingha. Tigerpaper 4(4): 1-6.

Ranjitsinh, M. K. (1983) Occurrence of Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica) in Kanha National Park. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.80(3): 641.

Schaller, G. (1967) The Deer and the Tiger. Chicago University Press, Chicago.

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