Behali Reserve Forest

Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
Behali Reserve Forest is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya, in Sonitpur district of Assam, on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. It is part of the Sonitpur Elephant Reserve that was notified in 2003. The area is flat with gentle slopes. Some hilly areas lie in the extreme north of the IBA. The forest is Tropical Wet Evergreen and Semi-evergreen. Some fine patches of primary rainforest are still to be seen in the area. The top canopy consists of species such as Tetrameles nudiflora, an emergent deciduous species, which is widely used by hornbills for nesting (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A rich and diverse bird life exists in the area, but a full checklist is yet to be completed. This IBA is known for its population of Whitewinged Duck Cairina scutulata (Choudhury 2000). There are four species of hornbills, the Oriental Pied Anthracoceros albirostris, Wreathed Aceros undulatus, Great Pied Buceros bicornis and the globally threatened Rufous-necked Aceros nipalensis. The last named species is only occasional in winter. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is seen regularly in small numbers at the edges of the IBA and in the encroached areas. In winter, the abundance of birds increases to a great extent, with the arrival of altitudinal migrants (A. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003). As no detailed study on birds has been conducted, this site could be considered Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Behali is an important area for the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileata, Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, among others.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Encroachment; Illegal felling of trees; Poaching; Insurgency.

Behali RF is among the survivors in Sonitpur where organized encroachment has destroyed most of the forest outside the protected areas. A relatively small area of this IBA has been encroached, but it is under constant pressure (Choudhury 2002). Illegal tree felling and occasional poaching are other issues. The interstate border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh often makes the area vulnerable to encroachment and felling of trees.

Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Behali Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 05/10/2023.