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Location India, West Bengal
Central coordinates 87o 48.30' East  25o 5.73' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Farakka Barrage, constructed in 1974-75 over the River Ganga, about 20 km from the border of Bangladesh has created a large reservoir, which stores water for irrigation. The overall span of the barrage is 1,200 m. The proposed IBA site starts from Farakka Barrage up to the Manikchak Ghat of Malda district (West Bengal). The maximum depth of water near the barrage is 25 m. From the onset of winter, the water starts to recede in the river and several chaurs or riverine islets emerge. The birds use these chaurs for day roosting and other diurnal activities. Around mid-February, as the chaurs reach a considerable size, the villagers of nearby villages reclaim them for agricultural purposes. On some chaurs, large reed beds are present that are used by migratory terrestrial birds such as reed warblers for foraging and roosting.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Fulvous Whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Aquaculture

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Samiran Jha.

References 

Jha, S. and Sengupta, S. (1999) Proposed IBA Sites of Malda and Uttar Dinajpur report. Green Peoples India, Malda. Pp. 8.

Sharma, A. (1998) More than 70,000 Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) sighted again on the river Ganges, Malda district, West Bengal. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 38(3): 57.

Sinha, R. K. (2000) Status of the Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) in the Vicinity of Farakka Barrage, India. Pp. 42-47. In: Biology and Conservation of Freshwater Cetaceans in Asia. (eds) Reeves, R. R., Smith, B. D. and Kasuya, T. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Farakka Barrage and adjoining area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2014

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