Gudavi Bird Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A4i (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 74 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)
Gudavi Bird Sanctuary is one of the well-known bird sanctuaries of Karnataka. It is located 13 km from Sorab and 0.5 km from Gudavi village, in Shimoga district. Gudavi, a traditional nesting habitat for a number of colonial waterbirds, appears to have been in existence for well over a century. The Sanctuary is a medium-sized tank of 30 ha with a raised bund, bordered on the eastern and southwestern sides by open, moist, deciduous forest. The waterspread area has been demarcated into a small southern and a much larger northern sector by raised bunds. The smaller sector harbours heronry where 12 species of waterbirds breed from July to November. The northern sector is inhabited by a variety of resident and migratory waterbirds. Vitex leucoxylon, Kirganelia reticulata and Phyllanthus polyphyllus trees in the tank provide these birds with good nesting sites (Manjrekar 2000). On its northern side, the Sanctuary has agricultural fields. The water from the tank is used for irrigating paddy fields on the eastern side of the Varada river, which flows 0.5 km from the Sanctuary (Lal et al. 1994). The tank gets flooded during the monsoon and becomes shallow and dry during summer. The average depth of water in the heronry is 1.5 m and the maximum depth is about 2 m. The vegetation around the tank is Moist Evergreen Deciduous type. The tank has floating lilies and Azolla, among other water plants. Tree species on the periphery are dominated by Vitex leucoxylon and Phyllanthus polyphyllus.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Gudavi is very popular with birdwatchers. Gururaja et al. (1993) have identified 254 species. The Sanctuary harbours 10-12 thousand birds of various species. Subramanya (1996) lists Gudavi as one of the top 10 heronries in India. It provides traditional nesting sites for more than 5,000 White or Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephala every year (B. B. Hosetti pers. comm. 2003). BirdLife International (2001) has listed the Black-headed Ibis as one of the Near Threatened species. Wetlands International (2002) states that the 1% biogeographical population of this species is only 100. Therefore, Gudavi Bird Sanctuary holds a significant global population of this species. Other species found nesting are cormorants, herons and egrets. Near Threatened species include Greater Grey-headed Fishing Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus and Darter Anhinga melanogaster. In the surrounding forest, three restricted range (endemic) species of the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area are found.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: As this is a small wetland sanctuary for birds, surrounded by agricultural fields and human habitation, large mammals are absent.

However, Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are seen in the environs. The tank water holds a significant population of several hundred Peninsular Mud Turtle or the Indian Flapshell Lissemys punctata (Ragunatha 1993).

Key contributors: B. B. Hosetti and K. V. Gururaja.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Gudavi Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.