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Location India, Uttaranchal
Central coordinates 78o 3.88' East  30o 3.38' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 82,000 ha
Altitude 302 - 1,000m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Rajaji National Park is situated in the Shiwalik hills and outer Himalayas of Uttaranchal state in India. Its 82,000 ha are spread over the districts of Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal. The tract is mainly hilly, traversed by a number of alternating steep ridges and valleys. The River Ganga bisects the Park. Rajaji NP was set up to protect the habitat of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus and Tiger Panthera tigris. Three wildlife sanctuaries - Rajaji, Chilla and Motichur, and the surrounding reserve forests, were merged to create this Park. The Park area to the west of the River Ganga belongs to the Shiwalik range and has a prominent northwest to southeast ridge running through it (Pandey et al. 1995). The area north of this ridge slopes gently into the Dehra Dun Valley and is covered with dense Sal Shorea robusta forests. Champion and Seth (1968) classified it as Moist Shiwalik Sal Forest. The area south of the ridge has a jagged topography with a number of steep ridges which emerge from the main Shiwalik ridge and have narrow valleys between them, which in monsoon turn into swift rivers. The dry river beds are locally called Rau. The ridges are grassy, with occasional trees. On the south of the main ridge there is Dry Shiwalik Sal Forest, with Anogeissus latifolia on the slopes, associated with Sal in some places. Some areas of the Park are under plantations of Tectona grandis, Ailanthus excelsa, and Haplophragma adenophyllum. The Park has one of the finest examples of the bhabar forest zone in India i.e. the belt between the Himalaya and the terai.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A total of 312 bird species has been recorded. Of these, 151 are residents, 87 migrants, and 49 are altitudinal migrants, 7 are local migrants, while the status of the remaining 18 is unknown. For some species, Rajaji forms the western edge of their range, e.g. Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons (Pandey et al. 1995). The Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis, a denizen of Broadleaf Evergreen and Moist Deciduous forest, has been reported from the forest adjoining Rajaji NP, which links it with Corbett NP. Rajaji NP is extremely rich in forest birds. For example, it has 11 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of barbets and 3 species of hornbills, including the Near Threatened Great Pied Hornbill. Under the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area, Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed Brooks’s Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus subviridis and Tytler’s Leaf-warbler P. tytleri as restricted range species. Both species are winter migrants to the Park (Pandey et al. 1995). According to BirdLife Internationals (undated) classification of biomes, Rajaji NP occurs in Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest (Biome-8). However, it has more species of Biome-7 (Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest) than Biome-8, especially in winter when the birds move down into these forests. A total of 112 species has been identified in Biome-7, and Rajaji NP has 12 of them, all recorded in winter. There is a barrage on the River Ganga near Haridwar city. The backwaters of the reservoir, as well as a small stretch of the River Ganga, lie in the Rajaji NP. These water bodies attract a lot of resident and migratory waterbirds in winter. Thirteen species of birds have been identified at the reservoir, including Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, birds considered as Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The area is highly important as the western limit of the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus and the Tiger Panthera tigris. Some other large mammals in Rajaji NP include Leopard Panthera pardus, Spotted deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus and Goral Nemorhaedus goral. This Park is a good place to see Goral (Johnsingh 2001). The forests east of River Ganga are occasionally visited by Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus in winter.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
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 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer winter  2004  present  A1  Endangered 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Rajaji National Park 82,000 is identical to site 82,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Cultivation
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human habitation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: A. J. T. Johnsingh and S. P. Goyal.

References 

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. Birdlife International, Cambridge, U.K.

BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Asia: Project Briefing Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A revised survey of the forest types of India. Government of India, New Delhi. PP Johnsingh, A. J. T. (2001) The story of goral, a mountain goat. Hornbill (October-December): 22-29.

Pandey, S., Joshua, J. Rai, N. D., Mohan, D. Rawat, G. S., Sankar, K., Katti, M. V., Khati D. V. S. and Johnsingh, A., J. T (1995) Birds of Rajaji National Park, India. Forktail 10(1994): 105-113.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife International Series No. 7. BirdLife International, U.K.

Williams, A. C., Johnsingh, A. J. T. and Krausman, P. R. (2001) Elephanthuman conflicts in Rajaji National Park, northwestern India. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29: 1097-1104.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rajaji National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/12/2014

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