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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 76o 28.18' East  11o 12.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 7,846 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Mukurthi National Park lies at the southwestern end of the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. It encompasses an area of 7,846 ha. This IBA was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1980, and later a National Park in 1990, mainly for the protection of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius. Mukurthi is perhaps the only area of the Nilgiris that has not been badly affected by conversion to exotic monoculture plantations. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which was the first to be declared among the 18 biosphere reserves present in India. Today it forms a key area for the conservation of grassland habitat in the Nilgiris Hills. The terrain is generally undulating, mostly grassland, and has patches of Montane Evergreen Forest (shola), confined to the folds and depressions of the Western Ghats. There are several streams, many of which drain in to the Bhavani River. There are numerous peaks inside the National Park, the highest being Kolaribetta (2,630m), together with Mukurthi Peak (2,556m) and Nilgiri Peak (2,477m. Toward the southwest of Mukurthi lies the famous Silent Valley, and to its west the land falls steeply to nearly 2,000 m to the Amarabalam Forests. Unlike the rest of the Nilgiris district, the area under monoculture plantations in Mukurthi is comparatively less, and comprises mainly of Acacia mearnsii, Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus patula. The vegetation of this site can be classified into three major types, namely Southern Montane Wet Temperate Forest (shola) as classified by Champion and Seth (1968), Grassland and Plantation. Pristine patches of shola can be seen all throughout Mukurthi National Park, generally at the heads of streams in the folds of converging slopes. These forests support an amazing variety of flora and fauna. This IBA site is among the richest regions of plant biodiversity, with many endemic orchids and other plant groups. Grasslands in Mukurthi are common and form a mosaic with shola. They are a mixture of Chrysopogon, Ischaemum, Dicanthium, Andropogon, Eragrostis and Panicum species. The ecological status of these grasslands has been a subject of debate.

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 
Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis resident  2004  present  A2  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mukurthi National Park 7,846 is identical to site 7,846  
Western Ghats World Heritage Site 795,315 protected area contains site 7,846  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature Conservation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri and Asad R. Rahmani.

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 the forest types of India. Govt. of India Press, Nasik.

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 I. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mukurthi National Park (Nilgiris). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2014

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