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Location India, Madhya Pradesh
Central coordinates 74o 58.08' East  23o 24.43' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 1,296 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary was declared a protected area in June 1983 to safeguard the highly endangered Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica, known locally as Kharmor or ‘Grass Peacock’. It comprised of 354 ha of grassland, crop fields and grazing lands. The Sanctuary is bounded by three villages, Sailana, Adwanya and Gordhanpura, and the whole area is jointly owned by agriculturists. The grassland area within the Sanctuary is about 200 ha and is known as Naulakha beed (Sankaran 1990). The grassland was maintained and protected primarily for fodder production. Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary falls within the Malwa plateau, which covers about 3,460,000 ha and is a wide tableland with a mean elevation of about 484 m above msl. It is a vast, undulating plateau, interspersed with a few small hills. Once this plateau was apparently well wooded, with Teak Tectona grandis and Dhak Butea monosperma, but with the loss of the original forest, pure grasslands were formed. Most of the area of the Sanctuary is treeless, and dominated by the grass species Sehima nervosum-Chrysopogon fulvus type. Other grass species are Heteropogon contortus, Apluda mutica, Cymbopogon martinii, Aristida funiculata and species of genera Brachiaria, Eragrostis, Dicanthium, Digitaria, Setaria, Bothriocloa and Pseudoanthistiria. The scattered trees found in the Sanctuary area are Prosopis chilensis, Zizyphus jujuba, Acacia catechu and Butea monosperma.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The BNHS initiated studies on this bird in 1984. During these preliminary surveys, 15 floricans, mainly males were seen (Sankaran and Rahmani 1990). Intensive studies were conducted from 1986 to 1989 (Sankaran and Rahmani 1990, Sankaran 1991). The area was going through a cyclic dry phase, and 1987 experienced extreme drought. The florican population declined, and by 1989, only 11 males were sighted. However, from 1991 onwards, for almost a decade the rainfall was normal or above normal but the florican number still declined mainly due to shrinkage of habitat. As the grassland habitat was converted into crop fields, there was less and less habitat available for florican. During a survey in 2002, only 4- 5 males were seen (P. M. Lad pers. comm. 2002) Records of floricans from different grasslands, some outside the notified Sanctuary, are given in Sankaran et al. (1992). Besides the Lesser Florican, 125 species of birds have been reported from Sailana grasslands (Anon. 1990). In the 1980s, a pair of Sarus Crane Grus antigone was found in the Sanctuary, and many more in the surrounding areas. According to P. M. Lad (pers. comm. 2003), a pair of Sarus is still seen around Sailana. Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica commonly breeds in the grasslands near wetlands, especially during normal monsoon years when the grass is tall. During winter, three species of harriers (Circus macrourus, C. pygargus and C. aeruginosus) are seen, sometimes as many as 40-50 gather to roost. Sailana grasslands are good breeding grounds for the endemic Sykes’ Crested Lark Galerida deva. Hundreds of European Rollers Coracias garrulus, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters Merops superciliosus and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters M. philippinus are seen on passage migration.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no large wild mammal left in Sailana and the surrounding areas. Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis and Jungle Cat Felis chaus are the major predators of Lesser Florican, other birds and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.

Many species of snakes are found, including Indian Cobra Naja naja, but none of them are of any conservation concern as they are commonly found in many areas.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
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 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high very unfavourable medium

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Grassland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Sypheotides indicus Lesser Florican 15 3 individuals 20 very unfavourable

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  Unknown  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sailana Sanctuary 1,296 is identical to site 1,296  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human habitation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Asad R. Rahmani, Ravi Sankaran and P. M. Lad.


Anonymous (1990) Status and Ecology of Lesser and Bengal Floricans: Final Report. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. Pp.155.

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, U.K.

Sankaran, R. (1990) Ecology and behaviour of the Lesser Florican. In: Status and Ecology of the Lesser and Bengal Floricans: Final Report. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. Pp. 85-93.

Sankaran, R. (1991) Some aspects of the breeding behaviour of the Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica (J. F. Miller) and the Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis (Gmelin). Ph.D. Thesis. Bombay University. Pp. 265.

Sankaran, R. and Rahmani, A. R. (1990) Status of the Lesser Florican in Western India. In: Status and Ecology of the Lesser and Bengal Floricans: Final Report, Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. Pp. 101-111.

Sankaran, R., Rahmani, A. R. and Ganguli-Lachungpa, U. (1992) The distribution and status of the Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica (J. F. Miller) in the Indian subcontinent. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 89: 156-179.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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