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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 77o 25.12' East  9o 31.27' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 48,520 ha
Altitude 200 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Srivilliputtur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wild Sanctuary is located about 40 km south of Madurai, north of Sivagiri Hills. Its southwestern boundary abuts Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. The terrain is mostly undulating with high grassy and barren rocky peaks, while the slopes and deep valleys have very dense vegetation. Srivilliputur receives the major part of its annual rainfall from the northeast monsoon from October to November. It also receives heavy rain from the southwest monsoon. The vegetation of the Sanctuary consists of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest, Tropical Moist Forest, and Tropical Thorn Forest. The Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest dominates in the eastern and lower altitude slopes. It is also an important habitat for the Grizzled Giant squirrel Ratufa macrura dandolena. The higher areas have Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest and Wet Evergreen Forests. The eastern lowlands have Tropical Thorn Forest.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: About 220 bird species have been recorded in this area, which includes 14 of the 16 restricted range and endemic species found in the Western Ghats (J. Joshua pers. comm. 2003). There is a clear evidence of change in species composition according to change in altitude and habitat. The valleys with Moist Deciduous, Semi-evergreen and Evergreen forests on the slopes are home to the Small Sunbird Nectarinia minima, White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallipes and many endemic species, that still exist in good numbers. The Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii is also frequently sighted in this area. The raptors are well represented, with more than 14 species including the Critically Endangered Oriental White-bellied Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Long-billed Vulture G. indicus. Another raptor, the Rufousbellied Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii, also exists in this area. Three hornbill species, the Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Malabar Pied-hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus and Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus can be sighted frequently.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura dandolena is the most famous mammal of Srivilliputtur Sanctuary. It is endemic to the southern Western Ghats and Sri Lanka (Prater 1990). This Sanctuary has a viable breeding population of this rare animal.

The other threatened mammals found here are Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica indica, Slender Loris Loris tardigradus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus, Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsi, Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius, Asiatic Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos frontalis and Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus.

Nineteen species of reptiles were recorded during a study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (Bhupathy and Kannan 2002). The following three species are endemic to the Western Ghats: Draco or Gliding Lizard Draco dussumieri, Large-scaled Calotes Calotes grandisquamis and Southern Green Calotes C. calotes (Malhotra and Davis 1991).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus 2004  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Broad-tailed Grassbird Schoenicola platyurus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Wynaad Laughingthrush Garrulax delesserti 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Black-chinned Laughingthrush Strophocincla cachinnans resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Endangered 
White-bellied Blue Robin Myiomela albiventris 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 
Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis resident  2004  present  A2  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Srivilliputhur Sanctuary 48,520 is identical to site 48,520  
Western Ghats World Heritage Site 795,315 protected area overlaps with site 0  


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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Justus Joshua.


Bhupathy, S. and P. Kannan (2002) Status of Agamid lizards in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India. In: Biodiversity ‘Hot Spots’ conservation programme (BHCP). Final Report, Vol-I. Forests and Biodiversity Conservation Division, World Wide Fund for Nature-India, New Delhi. Pp.133-170.

Joshua, J. (1992) Ecology of the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura) in Tamil Nadu, South India. Ph.D. Thesis Submitted to Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli. 131pp.

Joshua, J. and Johnsingh, A. J. T. (1994) Impact of biotic disturbances on the habitat and population of the endangered grizzled giant squirrel Ratufa macroura in south India. Biological Conservation 68:29-34.

Malhotra, A. and Davis (1991) A report on a herpetological survey of the Srivilliputur Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 88: 157-166.

Prater, S. H. (1980) The book of Indian animals. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 04/05/2015

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