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Location India, Rajasthan
Central coordinates 75o 4.00' East  26o 57.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 19,000 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Sambhar is a large, shallow saline lake, only about 3 m at its deepest. The maximum length of the lake basin is 22.5 km, while the width ranges from 3.2 km to 11.2 km. The lake bed is almost flat. The lake basin is divided into two unequal parts by a 5.16 km long dam between the settlements of Jhapok to the south and Gudha to the north. The western part is a natural, undisturbed, continuous sheet of water. The eastern part, which is used exclusively for salt extraction, covers 76.8 sq. km and comprises two large reservoirs for holding brine, with a series of canals and saltpans. The pans can be approached by the narrow bunds that separate them. After the brine reaches a certain level of concentration, it is transferred from the western part of the lake to the reservoirs through two sluice gates in the dam (Gopal and Sharma 1994). Semi-arid and arid vegetation and important tree species of xeric characteristics are found around the lake. Important shrubs are Salvadora oleoides and S. persica.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  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 
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sambhar Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 24,000 unknown 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Salt industries
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Satish K. Sharma, Brij Gopal and K. P. Sharma.


Agarwal, S. C. (1951) The Sambhar lake salt resource. Government of India Publication, New Delhi.

Gopal, B.and Sharma, K. P. (1994) Ramsar Sites of India: Sambhar Lake.WWF-India.

Sangha, H. S. (undated) Checklist – up to May 1998. Unpublished.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sambhar Lake. Downloaded from on 24/07/2014

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