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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 78o 32.38' East  10o 5.88' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 38 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary is located in the Sivagangai district, although its administration is under the authority of Ramanad district. The sanctuary is about 2 km from Solasakarakottai village, about 10 km from Tirupattur and about 51 km from Madurai on Madurai-Melun-Tirupattur road. The Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary (38.4 ha) consists of three freshwater tanks: Periyakollukudikanmai (13.5 ha), Chinnakollukudi-kanmai (6.2 ha) and Vettangudi-kanmai (18.2 ha). All three tanks are in the vicinity of villages and were together declared as a sanctuary in 1997. The Sanctuary receives its major rainfall from the northeast monsoon, with 330-390 mm precipitation between October and December. The southwest monsoon also brings some showers between June and September, with a maximum rainfall of 300 mm. Thus, from June to December, rainwater helps to sustain the breeding birds at Vettangudi. Besides this, Vaigai, the major river of the district, and surrounding paddyfields also provide foraging grounds. The area surrounding the wetland has been invaded by Prosopis chilensis, which was introduced a few decades ago. Acacia nilotica trees grow in the lake and remain submerged for a few months. On the bunds, large Tamarindus indica, Azadirachta indica and Mangifera indica trees are present which provide roosting sites for birds.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: This site was selected as an IBA due to the large breeding colony of up to 5,000 birds. More than 250 nests of Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans have been seen. The 1% threshold of Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus is 100 (Wetlands International 2002). In Vettangudi, up to 250 birds are found. Similarly, the Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus is also found above 1% threshold of its total biogeographic population (Wetlands International, 2002). Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger and Indian Shag Phalacrocorax fuscicollis also breed here. Waterfowl such as the Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha, Northern Shoveller A. clypeata and Common Teal A. crecca also congregate at Vettangudi. Darter Anhinga rufa, and Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia are also seen in small numbers. The Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis appears in Vettangudi to feast on the abundant fish life, depending upon water conditions (Manakadan and Kannan 2003).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: All the three tanks harbour fish species such as Ambasis urotaenia, Channa punctatus, Ophiocephalus sp. and Mystus tenegra. Some of these fish are the major prey component for pelicans, storks and cormorants.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus resident  2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Vettangudi Sanctuary 38 is identical to site 38  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
forestry -
Notes: Firewood collection
water management -
Notes: Irrigation; Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: V. Kannan.


Manakadan, R. and V. Kannan (2003) A study of Spot-billed Pelicans Pelecanus philippensis with special reference to its conservation. Final Report, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbird 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: Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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