Mokama Taal (Barah) Wetlands

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Mokama Taal wetlands cover more than 1,000 ha of shallow waterbodies, situated in Patna, Samastipur and Begusarai districts of Bihar. They lie about 75 km of Patna city towards the southern bank of the River Ganga, which drains the wetland. The topography of the area is generally flat land, like most of the Gangetic plains. It is a fairly compact tract of alluvial plain, sloping gently from south to north. Mokama Taal is a perennial water system and exhibits enormous biodiversity. Kawar (Kabar) Lake, an IBA site is close to Mokama, and when the birds get disturbed at Kawar they fly to Mokama.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: About 149 species of birds have been estimated to occur in the area. Further surveys will most certainly add to the number of species. The site also holds, on a regular basis, over 20,000 breeding and migratory waterbirds. The Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Greylag Goose Anser anser and Barheaded Goose A. indicus are some of the species reported from the area. Ten globally threatened and Near Threatened species are found here. Flocks of 200 Eurasian Spoonbill are not uncommon. Similarly, Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica is found in thousands, along with a few hundred Large Whistling Duck D. bicolor (Mehboob Alam pers. comm. 2002).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: As the site is surrounded by agricultural fields and villagers, there is no large wild mammal or reptile of conservation concern.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Filling in of wetlands; Poaching; Construction of thermal power plant; Pollution from agricultural chemical runoff.

The wetlands are under considerable threat from the proposed construction of the Barh Super Thermal Power Plant by the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (Anon. 2000). The construction of the plant and the subsequent dumping of fly ash generated by it would choke the wetland and destroy its wildlife. Currently, no scientific information on the state of the environment of Mokama Taal is available. Although trapping and shooting of birds is prohibited by law, these activities go on, albeit on a much smaller scale than before. Poisoning of waterfowl with pesticide using rice as bait is also becoming a common modus operandi to catch birds.

Key contributors: Arvind Mishra, Mehboob Alam, Ali Hussain and S. P. Roy.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mokama Taal (Barah) Wetlands. Downloaded from on 17/05/2022.