|Central coordinates||76o 28.18' East 11o 12.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Nilgiri Wood-pigeon Columba elphinstonii||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Black-chinned Laughingthrush Strophocincla cachinnans||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Endangered|
|Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Endangered|
|Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Near Threatened|
|Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Near Threatened|
|Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis||-||2004||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Vulnerable|
|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|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature Conservation|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri and Asad R. Rahmani.
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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