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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 79o 11.12' East  10o 58.02' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 454 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu has a large number of irrigation reservoirs, fed by the River Kaveri and by rainwater. Karaivetti is one such lake, about 50 km northeast of Tiruchchirappalli town. This freshwater lake is fed by Pullambadi, Kattalal canal. It is the biggest waterbody in the district and attracts hundreds of thousands of birds every year. Considering its importance as a bird habitat, the Government of Tamil Nadu declared it as a bird sanctuary in 1999. When full, the lake can hold water to an average depth of 3 m (Anon. 1993). From April to August, the water level is low. In the northern dry part of the lake, cotton, castor, maize, gram and coriander are cultivated annually, while in the wetter southern part, paddy and sugarcane are cultivated. The natural and planted vegetation consist of Acacia nilotica, Prosopis chilensis, Azadirachta indica and Tamarindus indica. The Acacia nilotica plantation is the major nesting site for birds. In the wetland, Typha angustata and Fimbristylis sp. are present. Ipomea aquatica grows as a weed in many parts of the reservoir. Floating and partly submerged plants include Elodea, Hydrilla, Salvinia and Spirodella sp.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A total of 188 species of birds, including 101 migrants, has been identified from Karaivetti lake (Anon. undated; Relton 1998). Thirteen species of ducks have been identified from this IBA site, the majority consisting of Garganey Anas querquedula, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Northern Shoveller Anas clypeata and Spotbilled Duck Anas platyrhynchos. Up to 1,000 Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus are found in some years; the 1% population threshold for this species is 560 (Wetlands International 2002). The Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis, a globally threatened species, congregates in Karaivetti lake in large numbersa flock of 475 was seen in June 2002 (Anon., undated). The 1% threshold is only 40. A small number of White Stork Ciconia ciconia (7 recorded in October 2000) is also found, but the number is much less than its 1% threshold of 45. Ten species of waterbirds breed here. Among them are the globally threatened Spot-billed Pelican and Near Threatened Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and Darter Anhinga melanogaster. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia also breeds in this site. During winter, the total number of birds recorded is between 20,000 to 60,000, mostly Anatidae. Therefore, this site qualifies A4iii criteria also, besides qualifying A1 (Threatened Species) and A4i (=1% biogeographic population).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: As this is a lake system, not much terrestrial fauna is present, except for some Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis in the scrub patch and plantation. However, the lake supports 15 species of fish.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Karaivetti Sanctuary 454 is identical to site 454  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
water management -
Notes: Watershed management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: A. Relton.


Anonynous (1993) Directory of Indian Wetlands, 1993. WWF India, New Delhi and Asian Wetland Bureau, Kuala Lumpur.

Anonynous (undated) Karaivetti Bird Monitoring Project. Nature Club, Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirappalli. Pp.19.

Relton, A. (1998) Threatened birds of Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, Tiruchirapalli-Tamil Nadu. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 38: 21- 22.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbird Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands Internationl Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, the Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Karaivetti Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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