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Location India, West Bengal
Central coordinates 87o 52.83' East  25o 58.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 130 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Kulik (Raiganj) Sanctuary is an artificial plantation of Dry Deciduous Forest, around a U-shaped canal. During monsoon the canal gets connected with the Kulik river which marks the eastern and southern boundary of the Sanctuary. National Highway 34 passes through the Sanctuary, dividing it into two halves. The U-shaped canal has created a small island-like area in the middle of the Sanctuary, which is the main breeding ground for birds. This area is a preferred habitat for heronry species (Jha and Sengupta 1999). Around this artificial waterbody, the Forest Department has planted Anthocephalus cadamba, Lagerstroemia reginae, Dalbergia sissoo, Eucalyptus sp. and Barringtonia sp. (S. Jha, in litt. 2002).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The Sanctuary, although an artificially planted forest, holds perhaps the largest nesting colony of Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans (Jha and Sengupta 1999) in India. More than 11,000 nests were recorded in 1999. According to Wetlands International (2002), the total breeding population of this species is >1,25,000, and the 1% threshold is 1,250. Thus about 10% of the breeding population is found in this Sanctuary. The population of Asian Openbill has increased dramatically. For example, Shahi (1983) has seen 3,956 nests in 1981, and he estimated a population of about 15,800 storks (parents and two chicks in each nests). He also counted 1,030 nests of Black-crowned Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax, and estimated a population of about 4,000 Night Herons. His estimates of other species are 3,000 egrets and 2,700 Little Cormorants Phalacrocorax niger. Around 127 species of birds have been recorded from the area (S. Jha, in litt. 2002). Kulik is one of the most important heronries in India (Subramanya 1996).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The fauna does not include any species of much significance except for some Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Roofed Turtle Kachuga dhongoka, and Yellow Monitor Lizard Varanus flavescens.

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 
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus 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 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Raiganj Sanctuary 130 is identical to site 130  


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

Land use

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

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.

Shahi, S. P. (1983) A little known Bird Sanctuary. Hornbill 1983 (2): 30-32.

Subramanya, S. (1996) Distribution, Status and Conservation of Indian Heronries. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 93 (3): 459-486.

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: Kulik (Raiganj) Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/04/2015

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