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Location India, Uttar Pradesh
Central coordinates 81o 54.00' East  27o 31.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 2,950 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Pyagpur Jheel (2,800 ha) is a shallow, freshwater lake with associated marshes on the plains between the Rapti and Ghagra rivers. It is an excellent permanent jheel of 1-3 m depth, and supports very important fishery. It has a tropical monsoon climate typical of the Gangetic Plains. It is state owned, and the surrounding area is privately owned agricultural land. Sitadwar (150 ha) is a similar shallow freshwater lake with associated marshes, situated some 20 km away on the plains between the Rapti and Ghagra rivers. It is a site of religious pilgrimage and festivals. Sitadwar Jheel is somewhat shallow, prone to drying out in summer. It is state owned, while the surrounding area is privately owned agricultural land (Islam 2001). Sitadwar has the usual complement of aquatic vegetation, some floating and emergent plants such as Ipomea carnea. Pyagpur jheel bears similar submerged, floating and emergent plants of a typical jheel of the Gangetic plains. It also suffers from infestation of Water Hyacinth Eichhcornia crassipes and Ipomea carnea.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The site is important for migratory and resident waterfowl. Congregations of 100-150 Sarus Crane Grus antigone are found in certain months (K. S. Gopi Sunder, pers. comm. 2003). The Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus was reported from Pyagpur jheel nearly 100 years ago (Ali and Ripley 1987). Despite the tremendous disturbance due to fishing activities, and some bird trapping, this jheel still supports thousands of waterfowl in winter. With better protection and restriction of fishing in some months, Pyagpur jheel could support 4-5 times more birds than it does today. In a short survey in 1986, Asad Rahmani and Carl D’Silva recorded the following species: Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus, Northern Shoveller Anas clypeata, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, and Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans (Scott 1989). Detailed investigation of avifauna is urgently required for this important waterfowl refuge. Sitadwar was also surveyed in 1986, by Rahmani and D’Silva, who recorded Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo, Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus and Sarus Crane Grus antigone (Scott 1989).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No terrestrial mammal of any conservation significance occurs in Pyagpur or Sitadwar wetlands. If fishery is controlled, these wetlands could become good habitats for the Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fisheries

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. P.Singh, K. S. Gopi Sunder and Asad R. Rahmani.


Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D.(1987) Compact Edition of the Handbook of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Islam, M. Z. (2001) IBA Survey report of Uttar Pradesh. Unpublished.Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Scott, D. (ed.) (1989) A directory of Asian wetlands. Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pyagpur and Sitadwar Jheel. Downloaded from on 03/05/2015

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