Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 52,696 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2003 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
As the name indicates, this Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the River Cauvery, which flows through the major part of this protected area. The River Cauvery demarcates the northern and eastern boundary of the Sanctuary. To the east and northeast, the Sanctuary is bordered by Tamil Nadu state. Deciduous and riverine forests cover much of the area, especially the eastern parts. The Sanctuary has riverine and dry deciduous forests, and some patches of scrub forest. Along the river, trees such as Terminalia arjuna and Syzygium cumini dominate the vegetation. Tamarindus indica, Hardwickia binnata, Acacia amara, Feronia sp., Ficus sp. and species of Acacia represent the vegetation in the rest of the Sanctuary. The northwestern part has been cleared, but good forests survive in other areas (Lal et al. 1994).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The avifauna of the Sanctuary is typical of semi-arid areas. Besides the two critically endangered Gyps species of vultures, which have a wide distribution and are not confined to this IBA or habitat alone, this IBA has four Vulnerable and two Near Threatened species. The sighting of Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon, a Vulnerable species (BirdLife International 2001), in Cauvery is interesting. This bird occurs in Moist Evergreen Forests in the Western Ghats complex, but moves a lot in search of fruiting trees. Therefore, it sometimes visits the Cauvery forests also. It seems that it is much more widespread than thought earlier. This site is an important area for the Pied Tit Parus nuchalis and has been recorded at several locations in and around this IBA (Lott and Lott 1999). BirdLife International (undated) have listed 15 species that represent Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). Even with no detailed work on bird life, nine out of 15 species have been seen in this site, more are likely to be recorded if proper study on birds is conducted. Although, this site lies in the drier zone of Karnataka, it also has some patches of forest where species of tropical moist forest are also seen. In the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone i.e. Biome-11, BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 species. Most of them are common, but nevertheless important representatives of their biomes. In Cauvery, 25 species have been recorded belonging to this biome, including Near Threatened Redheaded Vulture Sarcogyps calvus. Lott (1987a, 1987b, 1987c) has identified 127 species in and around Kaveri Valley. Shivanand (in press) has shown that the Cauvery basin, covering about 81,15,500 ha is an important wintering area for the globally threatened Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. He saw them on 29 sites, including two riverine areas.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Other fauna of the site includes Leopard Panthera pardus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Malabar Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica maxima, Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura, Common Otter Lutra lutra and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis. This Sanctuary is possibly one of the last refuges of the highly endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel in Karnataka (Manjrekar 2000). Reptiles include Marsh Crocodiles Crocodylus palustris, Turtles Chelonia sp, Indian Rock Python Python molurus, Indian Cobra Naja naja, Russell’s Viper Daboia russelii and Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus. This Sanctuary is known for its Mahseer fish Tor spp.

Key contributor: S. Subramanya.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 01/06/2023.