email a friend
printable version
Location India, Rajasthan
Central coordinates 72o 55.00' East  27o 40.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 5,019 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Diyatra Closed Area in Bikaner is one of the most important sites for the Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps in the Thar Desert (Rahmani 1986, 1997). In the early 1980s, there were 30-50 bustards in this area, but due to intensification of agriculture, overgrazing and poaching, the number has perhaps halved. The site used to be the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Bikaner for Great Indian Bustard. The site is situated approximately 65 km southwest of Bikaner along the National Highway to Jaisalmer. Various departments of the Rajasthan Government have established pasture enclosures at various periods of time but most of them are neglected and over-run by livestock. If properly protected, these grassland enclosures would have provided undisturbed breeding areas to the Great Indian Bustard. However, now these enclosures are mainly used by Chinkara Gazella bennettii, and Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, and rarely by the Great Indian Bustard. Important flora of Diyatra consists of Zizyphus rotundifolia, Capparis decidua, Calotropis procera, Prosopis cineraria, Calligonum sp., Leptadenia pyrotechnica and the grass Cenchrus biflorus (Satish K. Sharma pers. comm. 2003). The sandy zone, having low grasslands and scrub vegetation is dominated by Zizyphus rotundifolia and Capparis decidua.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Besides the Great Indian Bustard, Diyatra Closed Area is a regular wintering ground of the Houbara or Macqueen’s Bustard Chlamydotis macqueeni. It is also one of the major strongholds of Stoliczka’s Bushchat Saxicola macrorhyncha. During a survey in 1994, thirty six were sighted in one day in Diyatra area, especially near Hadda, Tokla and Niagaon (Rahmani 1996). Earlier, a lake near Diyatra village used to be an important watering spot for the Imperial or Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis. The Maharaja of Bikaner had built a hunting lodge beside the lake. This rainfed shallow lake is still present, but the number of Imperial Sandgrouse has drastically decreased, some may have moved away as they get water in many other places due to irrigation by the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (Rahmani 1997). The site lies in Biome-13 i.e., Saharo-Sindian Desert. Sharma (1986) was the first to report breeding of the Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor within Indian limits, from Diyatra region when he saw small chicks in February. Later, this species was found breeding in the Desert National Park (an IBA) (Rahmani and Manakadan 1989). In winter, vast flocks of Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata, Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla, Lesser Short-toed Lark C. rufescens and some Hume’s Short-toed Lark C. acutirostris are seen. In the extant grasslands, Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus are often seen, sometimes 15-20 roosting in few square metres area. The Near Threatened Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus is frequently seen, along with other vultures.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna of Diyatra includes Chinkara, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Desert Monitor Varanus griseus, and Spiny-tailed Lizard Uromastyx hardwickii. Nilgai or Bluebul which was not present earlier is now increasingly seen, thanks to availability of water and irrigation facilities due to the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project.

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  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
White-browed Bushchat Saxicola macrorhynchus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high near favourable negligible
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Grazing

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Asad R. Rahmani.


Rahmani, A. R. (1986) Status of the Great Indian Bustard in Rajasthan–I. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. Pp. 34.

Rahmani, A. R. (1996) Status and distribution of Stoliczka’s Bushchat Saxicola macrorhyncha in India.Forktail 12: 61-77.

Rahmani, A. R. (1997) Wildlife in the Thar. World Wide Fund for Nature, New Delhi.

Rahmani, A. R. and Manakadan, R. (1989) Breeding records of Creamcoloured Courser Cursorius cursor cursor (Latham) from India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.86: 447-448.

Sharma, V. D (1986) Sariska jewel of the Aravallis. Sanctuary Asia 6(2): 143, 164-169.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Diyatra Closed Area. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife