|Location||India, West Bengal|
|Central coordinates||87o 48.30' East 25o 5.73' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
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.
AVIFAUNA: Nearly 70 species of birds have been reported from this IBA (Samiran Jha in litt. 2002).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: The area supports a healthy population of the highly endangered Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica (Sinha 2000). Other major species of conservation concern are Gharial Gavialis gangeticus, Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris and Otters Lutra spp.
|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|
|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||small area/few individuals (<10%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||low|
|Biological resource use||fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Natural system modifications||dams & water management/use - large dams||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||very high|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - aquatic||-|
|Artificial - terrestrial||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Acknowledgements Key contributor: Samiran Jha.
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 (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Farakka Barrage and adjoining area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/07/2015
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