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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 79o 51.00' East  10o 18.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 37,733 ha
Altitude 0 - 3m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary is situated on a low promontory on the Coromandel coast in Nagapattinam district. The Great Vedaranyam Swamp stretches for about 48 km from east to west, parallel to the Palk Strait and separated by a sand bank. Its dimensions are about 10 km from north to south, and it is broadest in the east, narrowing to about 8 km in the central part and 6 km at the western end. It is about 11 km from Vedaranyam town. There are only two villages, namely Kodikkarai and Kodikkadu. A motorable road connects the Sanctuary with the nearest town. The control of the area passed from the Revenue Department to the Forest Department in 1907. The forest of Point Calimere Sanctuary has an area of 1,729 ha, comprising of the Kodikkadu Reserve Forest and Kodikkadu Extension Reserve Forest. During 1988, it was proposed to declare Point Calimere Sanctuary as Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary and Bird Sanctuary with a total area of 37,733 ha, including the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and Talaignayar Reserve. This IBA comprises of mangrove forest and lagoon in the Muthupet-Adirampattinam, and mudflats interspersed with numerous islets in the Siruthalaikkadu-Kodikkarai area. The IBA also encompasses Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest and low-lying coastal grazing lands. Five freshwater channels empty into the Swamp, most of which have running water only during the monsoon. The Korayar river confluences with the Mullipallam lagoon in the west. The Swamp is demarcated to the north by an artificial bund. There is a 30 m wide belt of mangrove vegetation. The area has variable rainfall regimes, and is not typical of tropical monsoon climate. The northeast monsoon is the main contributor to this area, though some rainfall occurs during the southwest monsoon. The winds are dry, but cause low-pressure depressions in the Bay of Bengal, resulting in cyclonic storms on the mainland (Daniel and Rao 1988-1991).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The IBA is an extremely important staging and wintering ground for migratory birds. Remarkable among them are flamingos, ducks, waders, gulls and terns. It is also a vital foraging ground for several species. It harbours a large number of migratory waders and flamingos (Ali 1963). A total of 110 species of waterbirds has been recorded from the swamp and saltpans. Of these, 34 are winter migrants from the Palearctic region (Sugathan 1982). According to a census in January 1987, 28,000 Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber and 1,00,000 Garganey Anas querquedula were recorded. The threatened Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis also occurs here. Manakadan (1992) had recorded 150-250 birds yearly in the late 1980s in the Great Vedaranyam Swamp during regular bird census. About 1,200 pelicans were recorded in the Great Vedaranyam Swamp during October 1999 (Balachandran pers. comm. 2002). Hussain (1976) has recorded Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler or Grassbird Schoenicola Platyura, a globally Vulnerable species. Many species of ducks and waders occur in much above their 1% biogeographical number as determined by Wetlands International (2002).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Major mammals include Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra, Spotted Deer or Chital Axis axis, Jackal Canis aureus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis. Large number of feral cattle and feral horses are seen in the Kodiakkadu forests.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Garganey Spatula querquedula 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer winter  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
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 annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
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 hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Point Calimere Sanctuary 17,260 protected area contained by site 17,260  
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 38,500 protected area contains site 37,733  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Dry evergreen forest (tropical); Mangrove forest (tropical)  major
Coastline Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Lagoons; Sand dunes & beaches  major
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
other -
Notes: Medicinal plant collection

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. Kannan and Ranjit Manakadan.


Ali, S. (1963) Point Calimere as a refuge for wintering shorebirds. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 60 458-460.

Daniel, J. C. and Rao, Y. N. (1988-1991) Ecology of Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (An Endangered ecosystem). Final report. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay.

Hussian, S. A. (1976) Occurrence of the Broadtailed Grass Warbler [Schoenicola platyura (Jerdon)] on the Coromandal coast. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 73: 400-401.

Manakadan, R. (1992) Ecology of waterbirds of Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary with special reference to impact of salt works. Ph.D. Thesis. Mumbai University, Mumbai.

Sugathan, R. (1982) Some interesting aspects of the avifauna of the Point Calimere, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.79: 567-575.

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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