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Location India, Uttar Pradesh
Central coordinates 78o 33.00' East  28o 12.68' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 12,700 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Narora, on the River Ganga, between Karnabas and Ramghat, includes the total catchment area of Narora Barrage or the Lower Ganga Barrage, and the marshes and wetlands situated along the river banks. The site also includes the areas adjoining the Ganga 1000 to 2000 m from each bank. The total area of this IBA site is c. 12,700 ha. This site is named after a small town of the same name. The total catchment area of Narora barrage is 3251 ha, and its total length is 922 m. The main purpose of the barrage is to supply water to Narora Atomic Power Station for cooling and to Lower Ganga Canal and Parallel Lower Ganga Canal for irrigation. The reservoir attracts thousands of waterbirds, and there are many lakes and jheels in its vincinity, where resident waterfowl are found. During winter and summer, when the water level is low, a large number of islands appear in the reservoir and all along the Ganga. These islands and sand bars provide safe resting places for ducks, geese, cranes and other birds. Terns, lapwings and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breed on these islands during summer (Rahmani 1981).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Rahmani (1981) identified 120 species of birds in and around Narora reservoir alone, but recently S. Behera (pers. comm. 2003) has listed 133 species in a much larger area. Globally threatened species found in Narora are listed in the table. Several pairs of Sarus Grus antigone breed in the area. During winter, thousands of waterfowl, especially diving ducks are seen in the main reservoir. Flocks of several thousand Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Redcrested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina, Tufted Pochard Aythya fuligula and White-eyed Pochard or Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca are not uncommon. Sometimes, pure flocks of 2-3 thousand Red-crested Pochard are found. There are not many sites in India where such flocks are seen now. Up to seven Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus were counted in 1980 (Rahmani 1981) but their present status is not known. Similarly, several pairs or individuals of Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus were seen in the jheels and shallow areas of the reservoir but now this bird has become uncommon. Small temporary islands and sand bars, formed due to decrease in water level, could provide ideal habitats for summer breeding species such as the Indian Skimmer, River Tern Sterna aurantia, Black-bellied Tern S. acuticauda, Spur-winged Plover or River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii and pratincoles Glareola spp., but no research has been conducted on this aspect. The Narora reservoir, adjoining jheels and a stretch of the Ganga from Narora barrage to Karnabas could easily hold more than 20,000 waterfowl in winter, thus qualifying for A4iii criteria. There are very few riverine protected areas in India. On this account also, Narora is significant.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Narora reservoir and a stretch of about 60 km on the River Ganga is extremely important for the protection of the Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica, 11 species of freshwater turtles and for Mugger Crocodylus palustris and Gharial Gavialis gangeticus. The Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata, Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrina, and Hog Deer Cervus porcinus are other important mammals. There are unconfirmed reports of a small population of Swamp Deer Cervus duvauceli surviving on some grass covered islands.

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 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2003 low 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
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides 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

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 26,590 protected area contains site 12,700  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Farming
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Sandeep Kumar Behera, Raja Mandal and Jitender Pandey.


Rahmani, A. R. (1981) Narora reservoir, U.P. – A potential Bird Sanctuary. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 78 (1): 88-92.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Narora. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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