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Location India, Uttar Pradesh
Central coordinates 79o 15.28' East  26o 58.32' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 690 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Sarsai Nawar is a natural depression which fills up during the monsoon. A very old Shiva temple adjoins the lake and is visited by thousands of pilgrims each year, particularly during Shivaratri festival in the first week of March. The importance of the lake lies in the fact that it is the roosting area of the largest flock of Sarus Crane Grus antigone in the region, consisting of nearly 400 individuals. The name of the lake is derived from the Sarus (Sarsai from Sarus, and Nawar meaning shallow wetland; Wetland for the Sarus). In addition, a vast number of waders, ducks and geese visit the lake in winter. Three resident species of storks, namely the Painted Mycteria leucocephala, Wooly-necked or White-necked Ciconia episcopus and Black-necked Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus feed in the lake throughout the year. The wetland is unusual in that the principal vegetation is Cyperus rotundus and there is no emergent vegetation. Other vegetation includes several species of grasses and water lilies.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The site has been selected as an IBA on the basis of congregations of Sarus and waterfowl. In addition, eight breeding pairs of Sarus have made parts of this lake their territory. Between 1999-2002, these pairs raised 23 young, making this the most productive wetland known for Sarus Cranes (K. S. Gopi Sundar pers. comm. 2003). Two pairs of Black-necked Stork have adopted portions of the lake as part of their territory and raise young nearly every year. The wetland and surrounding trees used to have a resident population of over 150 Oriental White-backed Vultures Gyps bengalensis until 2000, when a drastic population decline was noted. Each year, a minimum of 6,000 ducks and geese, and 12,000 waders winter in the lake, the principal species being the Wigeon Anas penelope, Greylag Goose Anser anser, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, and Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Small numbers (<10) of the Eurasian Crane Grus grus winter in the lake for a month or so each year.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The lake has a good population of the Flap-shell Turtle Lissemys punctata, and many families of the Common Mongoose Herpestes javanicus live immediately around the lake.

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   

IBA Monitoring

2003 very high 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture

Acknowledgements Key contributor: K. S. Gopi Sundar.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sarsai Nawar Lake. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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