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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 76o 37.12' East  11o 31.02' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 0 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Governor’s Shola is located in the northwestern corner of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala. It lies c. 8 km from Ooty town along the Ooty-Porthimunth road. It is a part of the Wenlock Down’s Range in the Nilgiris South Forest Division. This site was known for its excellent natural forest and grassland till the first half of the 20th century. Today, much of what existed in the mid 20th century is converted into exotic plantations, as in many other sites in the Nilgiris. This site also experienced significant habitat loss over the years because of anthropogenic pressures from the surrounding villages and conversion of land to agricultural use. Nevertheless, this small forest area still harbours a number of bird species of conservation interest. Governor’s Shola is a medium size patch of shola amid a sea of plantations and cultivation. Species comprising such shola include Actinodaphne bourneae, Ilex denticulata, Litsea wightiana, Michelia nilagirica, Microtropis ramiflora, Pithecolobium subcoriaceum, Symplocos pendula and Syzygium arnottanum, Eurya nitida, Photina notoniana, Ternstroemia japonica, Berberis tinctoria, Heydotis stylosa, Leucas suffruticosa and Smithia blanda. Besides, several genera of Himalayan elements such as Rhododendron, Hypericum, Rubus, Lonicera, Gaultheria and Pittosporum are also common.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Governor’s Shola holds a bird community with small populations of some of the globally threatened and restricted range species, besides many common birds also. A checklist of birds recorded in the area around this site is given in Zarri et al. (2002). Governor’s Shola is located in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), where Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed 16 restricted range species. We could record only five such species from this site; most of them are associated with Wet Temperate sholas and Subtropical Broadleaf Hill Forest, which proves that some natural vegetation is still surviving. This site is selected as an IBA based on the presence of globally threatened and restricted range species, A1 and A2 criteria respectively, of BirdLife International (2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Most of the mammals found in the sholas of the Nilgiris are also found here. Noteworthy species are Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak.

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 
Garrulax cachinnans resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Not Recognised 
Brachypteryx major resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Not Recognised 
Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa resident  2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
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
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri.


BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Governor's Shola (Nilgiri). Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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