IN305
Udhuwa Lake Bird Sanctuary


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Udhuwa or Udhwa Lake is situated 11 kms southeast of Rajmahal in the Sahebganj district of Jharkhand state. This Bird Sanctuary is constituted by two waterbodies, namely Pataura (155 ha) and Berhale (410 ha). Pataura is a comparatively clean waterbody and the average depth is about 2 m whereas Berhale is a shallow one having average depth of about 70 cm. Berhale is largely choked with aquatic vegetation, with small pockets of clear water. Both these waterbodies are inter-connected by a water channel and the whole bird Sanctuary is connected with River Ganga at Farraka by Udhuwa Nala which is a 25 km stretch. Pataura is surrounded by hillocks on one side, and on the other side, the Forest Department has done some plantations (on the hillocks).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Not much work has been done on this Sanctuary, but Choudhary et al. (1992) have identified 83 species of birds, including many forest species. The list includes such rarities as Nordmann’s Greenshank or Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer but this needs confirmation. A. Mishra (pers. comm. 2001) has sighted the Near Threatened Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus. At present, it does not qualify in A4iii criteria but once it is properly protected, Udhuwa has great potential to become an important waterfowl refuge (A. Mishra pers. comm. 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There are not many large mammals of conservation concern. The lake has about 22 fish species, most of them of commercial value (Choudhary et al. 1992).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Agriculture and illegal settlements; Illegal fishing and poaching; Tree felling in surrounding areas; Use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Charaching of birds and illegal fishing are the biggest challenges for the Forest Department ever since it was declared as a bird sanctuary under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. The surrounding hillocks suffer a severe threat due to heavy influx of suspected illegal Bangladeshi migrants who have settled beside the lake and have added to the demand on the surrounding natural resources. Also, the area surrounding both the lakes is used for agriculture, and in summer when the water-level of Berhale recedes, the exposed land is also used for agriculture.

Acknowledgements
Key contributor: Arvind Mishra.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Udhuwa Lake Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/12/2022.