|Central coordinates||87o 0.00' East 20o 45.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Altitude||0 - 50m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (67,200 ha) and Bhitarkanika National Park (14,500 ha), located on the eastern coast, together represent one of India’s finest mangrove forests. The area was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 to protect the Estuarine or Saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus (Kar and Bustard 1981, 1990) but later it was also found to be a haven for birds (Pandav 1996). The Sanctuary has a coastline of 35 km on its eastern side known as the Gahirmatha coast, and is surrounded by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani and their tributaries on the other three sides. The area is laden with alluvial silt brought down by the rivers and deposited in deltaic areas by regular tidal inundation. The vegetation is characterised by vast stretches of Phoenix paludosa. Pure formations of tree species such as Heritiera fomes, Excoecaria agallocha, Avicennia officinalis and A. marina occur in the Sanctuary. Other dominant tree species are Sonneratia apetala, Amoora cucullata, Cynometra iripa, Rhizophora mucronata and R. apiculata.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Indian Vulture Gyps indicus||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A4i||Near Threatened|
|Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Bhitarkanika||National Park||14,500||protected area contained by site||14,500|
|Bhitarkanika||Sanctuary||67,200||protected area contained by site||52,500|
|Bhitarkanika Mangroves||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||65,000||unknown||0|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature conservation and research|
|Notes: Tourism and recreation|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: Bivash Pandav and Biswajit Mohanty.
Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.
Dani, C. S. (1992) A checklist of birds of Orissa. Wildlife Wing, Forest Department, Government of Orissa.
Das, C. S. and Kar, S. K. (1990) The turtle paradise - Gahirmatha. Interprint, New Delhi.
Kar, S. (1991) Checklist of birds in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Orissa. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 31 (11&12): 3-6.
Kar, S. K. and Bustard, H. R. (1981) Status of the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus Schneider) in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Orissa, India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 86(2): 141-150.
Kar, S. K. and Bustard, H. R. (1990) Results of a Pilot restocking of Saltwater Crocodiles Crocodylus porosus Schneider in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Orissa. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 87: 195-200.
Pandav, B. (1996) Birds of Bhitarkanika mangroves, eastern India. Forktail (12): 9-20.
Subramanya, S. (1996) Distribution, status and conservation of Indian heronries. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 93(3): 459-486.
Wetlands International (2002). Waterbird 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: Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2014
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