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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 76o 29.13' East  11o 38.95' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 32,100 ha
Altitude 690 - 1,400m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Mudumalai National Park is located in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, in the Western Ghats. It is mainly known for its larger mammals but also harbours a rich avian diversity. The Sanctuary forms 14% of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is the first biosphere reserve of India. It is contiguous with Bandipur National Park (87,400 ha), Wynaad Sanctuary (34,400 ha) and Sigur and Singara Reserve Forests (Rodgers and Panwar 1988). The terrain of this IBA is extremely varied, with hills, valleys, ravines, floodplains, watercourses and swamps. Many streams drain into the area, the principal one being Moyar, the most important source of water for the Sanctuary, since most other streams dry up in early June. Most of the serious research efforts in this IBA have so far been focused on larger mammals, their predator-prey dynamics, and elephant studies. However, birds as a group have been largely ignored except by Gokula (1998). Mudumalai is endowed with a diversity of habitats, which support a rich variety of flora and fauna. There are three main types of forest: Tropical Moist Deciduous, Tropical Dry Deciduous and Southern Tropical Thorn. In certain places, mixed vegetation types are also present. Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest occurs in the western Benne Block, where rainfall is higher than in the other blocks. Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest is confined to the eastern side, but merges into Thorn Forest, where rainfall is lowest. Southern Tropical Thorn forest, also known as scrub jungle, occurs in parts of Avarihalla, Moyar and Bokkapuram blocks, and comprises xerophytic species (Jain and Sastry 1983). There are Teak plantations Tectona grandis largely in Benne Block, and a Blue gum plantation Eucalyptus globulus in the Masinagudi area. Bamboo Bambusa sp. have been planted mainly for supply to rayon mills in Kerala.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A total of 266 bird species has been recorded (Gokula 1998). Of the total, 213 are residents, 49 migrants, three local migrants, and one with unknown status. Most of the species are common and found in many other areas also, but endemics such as the Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus and Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus are present. Gokula and Vijayan (1996) have listed the globally threatened Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler Schoenicola platyura as resident, without giving more details. Another threatened species is TN-17 the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, recorded as rare in Bennae area, between May 1994 and August 1995. In the drier parts of this site, two globally Vulnerable species have been recorded: Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus and Pied Tit Parus nuchalis. The former was seen in Mavinahalla in 1996 (BirdLife International 2001), while the later was reported first by Ali and Whistler (1942-43) from Sathyamangala area, close to Mudumalai, and then by K. D. Bishop (BirdLife International 2001) from the northeastern edge of Masinagudi in March 1997. Owing to its altitudinal, precipitation and habitat variations, Mudumalai has two biomes: Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone). BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 species in Biome-10, of which 11 have been recorded in this IBA. Similarly, 59 species are representative of Biome-11, and in Mudumalai, 27 are recorded. There are not many IBAs where such a high percentage of biome bird species are found. The presence of so many biome species proves that the habitat is still relatively pristine, at least as far as the bird are concerned.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Mudumalai is famous for its large herds of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos frontalis and Chital Axis axis. Tiger Panthera tigris is widespread, whereas Leopard P. pardus is most often seen in the Kargudi area. Other carnivores include Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, commonly seen in Masinagudi and Theppakkadu Blocks, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus. The Asian Elephant population varies 300-400 (Ali et al. 1985). Most of the ungulates, primates and small carnivores of the regions are seen in this site.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis resident  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Broad-tailed Grassbird Schoenicola platyurus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher Cyornis pallipes 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mudumalai National Park 10,323 protected area contained by site 10,323  
Mudumalai Sanctuary 21,776 protected area contained by site 21,776  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Tourism and conservation
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and conservation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. Gokula, Lalitha Vijayan and Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri.

References 

Ali, S. and Whistler, H. (1942-43) The birds of Mysore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 43: 130-147, 318-341, 573-595; 44: 9-26, 206-220.

Ali, S. and Daniel, J. C., Sivaganesan, B. and Desai, A. A. (1985) Study of ecology of certain endangered species of wildlife and their habitats. The Asian Elephant. Annual Report 1984-85. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay. Pp. 65.

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.

Gokula, V. (1998). Bird communities of The Thorn and Dry deciduous forests in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, South India. Ph.D. Thesis, Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore.

Gokula, V. and Vijayan, L. (1996) Birds of Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, India. Forktail 12: 107-116.

Jain, S. K. and Sastry, A. R. K. (1983) Botany of some tiger habitats in India. Botanical Survey of India, Department of Environment, Government of India. 71 pp.

Nair, S. S. C., Nair P. V., Sharatchandra, H. C. and Gadgil, M. (1978) An ecological reconnaissance of the proposed Jawahar National Park. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74: 401-435.

Prabhakar and Gadgil, M. (1994) Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve: Biodiversity and population growth. Pp. 33-37 Survey of the Environment, The Hindu, Kasturi Publication, Chennai.

Rodgers, W. A. and Panwar, H. S. (1988) Planning a wildlife protected area network in India. Vol I & II. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun. 341 pp., 267 pp.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mudumalai National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014

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