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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 76o 41.22' East  11o 23.63' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 243 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Cairnhill is located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats. It is a part of the South Range of Nilgiris South Forest Division, located 4-5 km from Ooty town. The site is surrounded by agricultural fields and settlements. It is one of the oldest converted forests in the Upper Nilgiris Plateau. A few small patches of sholas still thrive amid the old plantations of Pinus sp., Cyperus sp. and Wattle Acacia mearnsii. Despite its small size, it is a promising area for the conservation of endangered and Western Ghats endemic bird species. A very small patch of shola is left in Cairnhill that supports bird species of conservation interest. Plantations, mainly Wattle and Cyperus form the principal habitat type in Cairnhill, replacing a significantly higher proportion of the indigenous vegetation. Over a hundred years old, the Cyperus plantation stands tall, surrounded on all sides by Wattle, at the top of the hill. Owing to the creation of bare patches in the forest, shrub vegetation characteristic of forest edges now dominates this IBA. Rhododendron nilagiricum, endemic to the Nilgiris, is very common. The grassland in and around this site has disappeared during the 20th century.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Black-chinned Laughingthrush Strophocincla cachinnans resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Endangered 
Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Endangered 
Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa resident  2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus resident  2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry; Plantation

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri.


Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Zarri, A. A., Rahmani, A. R., and Senthilmurugan, S. (2002) Ecology of Shola and Alpine Grasslands. Annual report. 2 Part 1. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cairn hill Reserve Forest (Nilgiri). Downloaded from on 23/10/2014

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