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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 76o 52.00' East  11o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 116 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Longwood is located in the Nilgiris district, at the extreme northwest end of Tamil Nadu on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala. In this site, the only major pocket of natural Shola remaining is in the immediate vicinity of Kothagiri village. Though relatively small, it is highly important to the whole Kothagiri region as it harbours a variety of endemic flora and fauna. It is also one of the key areas for the conservation of the Rufousbreasted or Nilgiri Laughingthrush Garrulax cachinnans, Whitebellied Shortwing Brachypteryx major and the Nilgiri Wood- Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, listed as Endangered or Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001). Though it has a history of encroachments and habitat loss, this IBA has ultimately been given much needed protection, with the active involvement of an enlightened group of local residents, named Longwood Shola Watchdog Committee. Like the other sholas of the Nilgiris, Longwood is also classified as Southern Montane Wet Temperate Forest by Champion and Seth (1968). Tall trees of up to 20 m are still seen in this shola. Species comprising such sholas are evergreen and include Actinodaphne bourneae, Ilex denticulata, Litsea wightiana, Michelia nilagirica, Microtropis ramiflora, Pithecellobium subcoriaceum, Symplocos pendula and Syzygium arnottianum, Eurya nitida, Photina notoniana, Ternstroemia japonica, Berberis tinctoria, Heydotis stylosa, Leucas suffruticosa and Smithia blanda. Many species of Himalayan affinity are found here, like in the whole of the Nilgiris. Tea plantations surround this site.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Longwood Shola is home to several important bird species such as the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Laughingthrush and the Whitebellied Shortwing. Of the 16 Western Ghats endemics, 10 have been recorded in this area. The site is adjacent to the eastern slopes of the Nilgiris and consequently harbours some species of lower elevations including Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica, Common Iora Aegithina tiphia, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallipes and Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina. These species are not recorded from the Upper Plateau except as vagrants (Zarri et al. 2002). This site lies in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) where BirdLife International (undated) has identified 15 species which can be considered as representative of bird assemblages of this biome. Most of them are lower elevation (<1,500 m) birds. Two of these biome species, White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis and Indian Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus horsfieldii, have been recorded here. Like other sholas of the Western Ghats, this site is also an important wintering habitat for many migrants from the Himalayas, such as the Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis, Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris, Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui, Blue-headed Rock-thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus and Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea. These birds are found in Biome-7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest) and Biome-8 (Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest). Despite its small size (116 ha), Longwood Shola qualifies two criteria of the IBA selection process – A1 (Threatened Species) and A2 (Endemic Bird Area 123: Western Ghats).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The small size of Longwood Shola and its isolation from the neighbouring sholas limits the population of most of the large animals. Leopard Panthera pardus and Tiger P. tigris are rarely seen even though their prey Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak are relatively common. Other mammal species include Gaur Bos frontalis, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Porcupine Hystrix indica, Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica, and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.

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 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus 2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
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 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Conservation
water management -
Notes: Water catchment

Acknowledgements Key contributor: The IBA Team.

References 

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

BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K. Unpublished.

Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A revised survey of forest types of India. Govt. of India Press, Delhi.

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: Longwood Shola - Kothagiri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife