|Location||India, West Bengal|
|Central coordinates||88o 45.27' East 26o 55.63' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||183 - 3,200m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description Neora Valley National Park is one of three protected areas in Darjeeling district, and probably the most undisturbed patch of forest in West Bengal. It is unique and ecologically important as it includes a relatively inaccessible patch of late successional forest with rich diversity and a wide range of environmental gradients. The Neora Valley National Park has four main habitat types: Subtropical Mixed Broadleaf Forest, Lower Temperate Evergreen Forest, Upper Temperate Mixed Broadleaf Forest and Rhododendron Forest (Pradhan in. litt. 2003).
AVIFAUNA: Neora Valley and Lava are very popular among birdwatchers, so there is a fairly comprehensive birdlist. A total of 258 bird species have been sighted (Nick Dymond in litt. 2002; Anand Prasad in litt. 2003). Prakriti Samsad has recorded 288 species from Lava and Loleygoan Range (Kushal Mokherjee pers. comm. 2004). Seven globally threatened species and two Near Threatened species are found at this site. It is one of the best sites in India to see rarities such as the Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra. This species is also considered as restricted range by Stattersfield et al. (1998) as it is endemic to the Eastern Himalayas and perhaps has a narrow distributional range. However, the discovery of nine singing males in the Lava area in 1996 (Mauro and Vercruysse 2000) was the first record in the Darjeeling area since 1945, and confirmed that fairly dense populations survived in at least this area (BirdLife International 2001). Thanks to its great altitudinal variation from 183 m to 3,200 m, Lava-Neora Valley covers two biomes: Biome-7 (Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest) from about 1,800 m to 3,600 m, and Biome-8 (Sino Himalayan Subtropical Forest) from about 1,000 m to 2,000 m. BirdLife International (undated) has listed 112 and 95 species respectively in these biomes. Fortythree species of Biome-7 and 24 of Biome-8 have been identified so far. As Neora Valley is regularly visited by birdwatchers, some very interesting records are available from this site. For instance, a spectacular calling flock of almost 600 Hill Myna Gracula religiosa was seen near Loleygaon, and another flock of about 1,000 individuals of Dark-throated Thrushes Turdus ruficollis was seen at Rishyap (Mike Prince in litt. 2002). Suntalekhola, on the fringes of Neora Valley NP, is also a good area for birds. Its altitude varies from 2,000 to 3,200 m, so it has many restricted range species of the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area. D. Ghosh (in litt. 2002) has sighted 64 species of birds.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||passage||2004||present||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca||winter||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardi||resident||2004||present||-||A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|2003||low||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%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||low|
|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||logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Natural system modifications||fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|No known threats||no known threats||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Neora Valley||National Park||8,800||is identical to site||8,800|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature conservation and research|
|Notes: Tourism and recreation|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: Nick Dymond, Anand Prasad and Peter Lobo.
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) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.
Mauro, I. and Vercruysse, E. (2000) Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra at Lava, Darjeeling, India in April and June 1996. Forktail 16: 176-177.
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 Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
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