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Location India, Orissa
Central coordinates 86o 0.00' East  21o 55.87' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 84,570 ha
Altitude 500 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description The Simlipal National Park is the most important protected area of Orissa, and one of the largest Tiger Reserves (2,75,000 ha) in India. At one time, it was the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj, where record sized tigers were shot. In 1980, 84,570 ha were declared as a National Park - the core area continues to have four villages which have not been shifted even after 30 years. and has no human habitation. The surrounding forest was taken up as the buffer zone, where tribals continue to live their traditional life. A much larger area of 4,37,400 ha constitutes Simlipal Biosphere Reserve (Srivastava and Singh 1988) The highest peak in Simlipal hills is Khairi-buru (1178 m). There is no locality in the Simlipal hills which suffers from scarcity of water at any time of the year. Several streams flow through the Park and drain into the Bay of Bengal. The major perennial streams are the Budhabalanga, Palpala, Deo, Nekendanacha, Bandan, Kahairi and Khadkei. Simlipal is very popular with tourists who come to enjoy its scenic beauty and to see the Tiger, but most of them do not know of the rich bird life of this area. The vegetation of the Simlipal National Park ranges from Semi- Evergreen to Dry Deciduous. Semi-evergreen forest is characterized by Michelia champaca, Anthocephalus cadamba and Mesua ferrea. Moist Deciduous forest is comprised of Shorea robusta, Terminalia arjuna and T. chebula, and Dry Deciduous forest has Boswellia serrata and Acacia leucophloea. The most important species are Shorea robusta, Terminalia tomentosa, Syzygium cumini, Protium serratum and Dillenia pentagyna (Mohanty et al. 2002). More than 90 species of orchids are found in this IBA, of which atleast two are endemic (Eria meghasaniensis and Bulbophylum panigrahium).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Despite the great importance of Simlipal National Park to the Orissa Government and Project Tiger authorities, its bird life is not well documented. However, Jain (2001) says that more than 250 species of birds are found here. Simlipal forest stands as a link between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas. For instance, the Red-breasted Falconet Microhierax caerulescens was sighted in Simlipal in 1987 (Prakash and Rahmani 1989), far south of its known range in the Himalayan foothills, Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam (Ali and Ripley 1987). BirdLife International has identified 59 species in Biome-11, of which 33 have been reported till now from Simlipal. Besides, six species of Biome-10 are also seen. Species at the northernmost extreme of their range are the Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus, Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, and Malabar Whistling Thrush Myiophonus horsfieldii. The essentially Himalayan species such as Large Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis and Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica are near their southern limit in Simlipal (Kazmierczak and Singh 1998). Ripley (1978) has recorded Picus canus, another Himalayan bird with disjunct distribution in Mayurbhanj district in Orissa (see map. 6, plate 16, Grimmett et al. 1999). Other Himalayan species found in these forests are the Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps and Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis (Ripley 1978). Thus, Simlipal is a very interesting IBA, not only from the view point of protection of tropical dry forest avifauna, but also from the biogeographic point of view as it connects the Eastern Himalayan avifauna to that of the Western Ghats, albeit through a weak link.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Important mammals of the Park include Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Chital Axis axis, Gaur Bos frontalis, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena. Among reptiles, Mugger Crocodylus palustris is the most prominent species. King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah is also found.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa resident  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Simlipal National Park 84,570 is identical to site 84,570  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Wild Orissa(Similipal National Park) 1997

Habitats

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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Wildlife Society of Orissa.

References 

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

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

Jain, P. (2001) Project Tiger Status Report, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.

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

Mohanty, R. C., Mishra, R. K. and Bal, S. (2002) Phytosociological and plant diversity studies of Simlipal Biosphere Reserve. Pp 16-26. Proceedings of National Seminar on Conservation of Eastern Ghats, March 24-26, 2002, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.

Prakash, V. and Rahmani, A. R. (1989) Occurrence of Redbreasted Falconet Microhierax caerulescens (Linn.) in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve, Orissa. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 86: 241.

Ripley, S. D. (1978). Changes in the bird fauna of a forest area, Simlipal Hills, Mayurbhanj district, and Dhenkanal district, Orissa. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 75: 570-574.

Srivastava, S. and Singh, L. A. K. (1988) Simlipal Biosphere Reserve. Pp. 65-70.In Biosphere Reserves and Management in India. (eds. Maikhuri, R.K., Rao, K. S. and Rai, R. K.).Himavikas Occasional Publication No.12. G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora.

Srivastava, S. and Singh, L. A. K. (2002) Simlipal Biosphere Reserve. Pp 485-491. In: Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Managing Biosphere Reserves in South and Central Asia (Eds.: Ramakrishnana, P. S., Rai, R. K., Kotwal, R. P. S. and Mehndritta), Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Simlipal National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

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