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Location India, Uttaranchal
Central coordinates 78o 54.95' East  29o 35.38' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 131,854 ha
Altitude 400 - 1,210m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Corbett Tiger Reserve is situated in the hilly districts of Pauri Garhwal and Nainital in the northern state of Uttaranchal. It is one of the nine Tiger Reserves created at the launch of Project Tiger in 1973. This Reserve includes Corbett National Park (NP), which was the first Park to be established in India. It was declared in 1936 as Hailey NP with an area of 32,375 ha to which 19,707 ha were added later as Ramganga NP, and finally named as Corbett NP in 1957, in the memory of the legendary hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett. In 1991, 79,772 ha was added as a buffer area to the Tiger Reserve (Jain 2001). Now the total area of Corbett Tiger Reserve is 1,31,854 ha (Jain 2001). This is one of the most famous Tiger Reserves in India and is extremely popular with tourists for its history, scenery and the wildlife. Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Corbett Tiger Reserve, is considered as a separate IBA for administrative reasons. The area in the Himalayan foothills wherein the Reserve is situated is known as the South Patlidun, and ranges from 400 m to 1210 m. Corbett includes the foothills of Outer Himalayas in the north and the Shivaliks in the south. The Outer Himalayas form the northern boundary of the Reserve and Kanda, the highest point, with its magnificent panoramic view of the Reserve, is located here. The Ramganga valley, the largest in the Reserve, with its long axis from east to west, lies between the Outer Himalayas and the Shivaliks. Through Ramganga valley, three thickly forested ridge systems run roughly parallel to one another. Small offshoots of these ridges run north to south and the small valleys formed in between are known as sots. Many smaller valleys run from the Shivaliks towards the south and the prominent one is Paterpani sot. Different types of vegetation are found all along the varied topography, which comprises hilly and riverine areas, temporary marshy depressions, plateaux and ravines. Up to 110 species of trees, 51 species of shrubs and over 33 species of bamboo and grass are found here. The Reserve is known for its almost pure stands of Sal Shorea robusta in the lower hilly ridges and flat valleys. The chaurs, or savanna grasslands, are covered with a variety of tall grasses such as Themeda arundinacea, Vetiveria zizanioides, Cymbopogon jwarancusa and Desmostachya bipinnata. Encroachment on these grasslands, which are vital for species such as Hog deer Axis porcinus, by Cannabis sativa is a cause for concern. Controlled burning is carried out during winter to prevent woodland encroachment and promote growth of fresh grass.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Corbett has many attractions for bird watchers. Over 580 species of birds are reported (Grewal and Sahgal, 1995; other communications). Of the total 69 species of diurnal raptors reported from the Indian subcontinent, 51 are found in Corbett (Naoroji 1999) and of the 26 species of woodpeckers 15 are reported from Corbett (Grewal and Sahgal, undated). Although Corbett does not have many restricted range species, it has 15 species of Biome-8 (Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest). Species from Biome-5 (Eurasian High Montane - Alpine and Tibetan) and Biome-7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest) are also found here. Among the interesting species is Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii, a bird of cold streams and shingle beds of the Himalayas. Brown dippers Cinclus pallasii is also frequent seen in winter. Thirteen Near Threatened species are also found in this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Approximately fifty species of mammals are found in the area.

Among the larger mammals, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Cheetal Axis axis, Hog Deer Axis porcinus, Barking Deer or Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Goral Nemorhaedus goral, and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are noteworthy. Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis are occasionally seen in Kanda ridge. Interestingly, in winter the Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus visits the northern part of the Reserve and Sloth Bears Melursus ursinus are resident in the southern portion of the Reserve. Among the reptiles, the two largest Indian species, namely Gharial Gavialis gangeticus and Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris are found in the Reserve.

In addition to numerous amphibians and lizards, the largest of the poisonous snakes, the King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah and Python Python molurus are frequently seen. Some of the best game fish of India, such as Golden Mahseer Tor putitora and Indian Trout Barilius bola abound in the waters of Ram Ganga streams which flow through the Reserve.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 medium 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 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) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Corbett National Park 52,080 is identical to site 52,080  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: A. J. T. Johnsingh and Rishad Naoroji.


Grewal, B. and Sahgal, B. (1995) Birds of Corbett Tiger Reserve and its Environs. Published by Bikram Grewal for private circulation, pp. 24 Jain, P. (2001) Project Tiger Status Report, Project Tiger, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi Naoroji, R. (1999) Status of diurnal raptors of Corbett National Park with notes on their ecology and conservation. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 96 (3): 387-398.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Corbett Tiger Reserve. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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