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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 78o 9.23' East  9o 55.28' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 278 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Madurai tank, as the name indicates, is located on the outskirts of Madurai city, north of the river Vaigai. The tank is fed by monsoon rains and also by the Periyar-Vaigai irrigation system, located about 2 km from the tank. This irrigation system is on the two rivers, Periyar in Kerala and the seasonal Vaigai. The water is diverted to Madurai tank through channels. The tank contains water till February/March, after which it dries out. Prosopis chilensis and Ipomea mainly dominate the vegetation of the tank, which is infested with Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The site has become significant as the globally threatened Spotbilled Pelican Pelecanus philippensis is present during the monsoon. About 150 Spot-billed Pelicans were reported from this site during April 1997 (Sathasivam 1997). Apart from this, the site harbours several resident and migratory waterfowl. The significant species are Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus, Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha, Garganey A. querquedula, Northern Shoveller A. clypeata, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Purple Moorhen Porphyrio porphyrio, Common Coot Fulica atra, Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, Pheasanttailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus, Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger and Indian Shag P. fuscicollis.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: As the tank lies close to the city, the site does not have any large mammal of conservation concern.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - run-off happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. Kannan, S. Badrinarayanan, S. Balachandran and J. C. Daniel.


Sathasivam, K. (1997) Notes from Madurai. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 37:86.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Vandivoorand Kunnathur Tanks (Madurai). Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife