|Location||India, Tamil Nadu|
|Central coordinates||78o 52.00' East 9o 22.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description Big Tank or Peria Kanmai (System Tank) (891 ha) and Sakkarakottai Kanmai (Non-system Tank) (1,650 ha) are twin wetlands of great importance for bird conservation, although they were initially built to provide irrigation and drinking water. Peria Kanmai is fed by the River Vaigai and Sakkarakottai Kanmai is rainfed. These wetlands are located 5 km north of the district headquarters at Ramanathapuram. The wetlands are rich in aquatic flora, especially Scirpus, Cyperus pygmaeus, Cyperus difformis and Cynodon dactylon. Ipomea carnea can be seen in dense stands on the periphery.
AVIFAUNA: This site has been selected as an IBA based on the large numbers of congregatory waterfowl, and especially as a nesting site for the globally threatened Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis. The wetlands have attracted waterfowl immediately after the completion of the dams. Many birds started nesting on the numerous Acacia nilotica trees found inside the tank. Significant numbers of heronry species such as the Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, cormorants Phalacrocorax spp., Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Little Egret Egretta garzetta and Large or Great Egret Casmerodius albus nest there. Coot Fulica atra is also found breeding on these wetlands. Recently small numbers (35-40) of Spotbilled Pelican were found breeding. Balachandran (pers. comm. 2003) has found that the pelicans shift their nesting site between these two wetlands, depending upon availability of water. The Big Tank (Peria Kanmai) is close to the Gulf of Mannar, from where Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber frequent this lake in thousands when the water level is low (S. Balachandran, per. comm. 2002). During the Annual Waterfowl Count in 2002, nearly 1,600 were sighted. A very large congregation of ducks is also seen. At a time, there may not be as much as 20,000 birds (A4iii criteria), but in a year more than 20,000 birds use these wetlands. These tanks also attract many species listed as Near Threatened. On 25 April, 2002, 1,800 White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, 250 Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa, 1,300 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, 1,500 Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and 2000 Little Egret Egretta garzetta were seen, along with other waterbirds (S. Balachandran pers. comm. 2003). The numbers were much more than the 1% mentioned by Wetlands International (2002).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: As these wetlands are surrounded by human habitation, there is not much large terrestrial fauna.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||unknown||2004||20,000 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - aquatic||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Cultivation of vegetables on the banks|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: S. Balachandran, S. S. Ramchandran Raja and V. Kannan.
Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, the Netherlands.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Big Tank (Peria Kanmai) and Sakkarakotai Kanmai. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/03/2015
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