|Central coordinates||75o 4.00' East 26o 57.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
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.
AVIFAUNA: Sambhar Lake supports a large number of birds especially Greater Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser Phoenicopterus minor flamingos. About 45 species of aquatic birds (including ducks, geese, and shorebirds) have been recorded from the lake and its surroundings. The flamingos have been a regular visitor for several decades. Agarwal (1951) reported that soon after the rains, as the lake is filled, “thousands of birds, flamingos and ducks descend on the lake and feed on innumerable insects and small animals that develop in water.” The number of flamingos visiting the lake varies considerably, depending upon the timing and amount of rainfall. Both Greater and Lesser flamingos occur, the former greatly outnumbering the latter. In dry years, the population of migratory birds as well as of resident birds is very low. After a good monsoon in 1982, Prakash Gole (pers. comm.) observed an estimated population of 50,000 flamingos and 200 pelicans (probably Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus), besides many other waterfowl species. However, he did not find any flamingo in the winter of 1984. During surveys conducted in 1992-93, it was estimated that the lake attracted a population of about 5000 flamingos (mostly in the salt pans), and an approximately equal number of other waterfowl species. Sangha (undated) has listed 57 bird species in the main lake and the reservoir up to May 1998. It includes many Near Threatened species.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are the common mammals found in this IBA.
|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|
|2013||very high||very unfavourable||negligible|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Human intrusions and disturbance||work and other activities||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||very high|
|Wetlands (inland)||0||0||moderate (70-90%)||poor (40-69%)||very unfavourable|
|Little/none of site covered (<10%)||No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun||Very little or no conservation action taking place||negligible|
|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)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature conservation and research|
|Notes: Salt industries|
|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 http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2014
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