Kunthur - Kallur Lakes

Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
These two lakes are situated about half a kilometre apart on the newly formed National Highway 209, 20 km from Kollegal town in Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka. The Kunthur Lake is overgrown with water lily, Typha and Ipomea carnea while Kallur Lake is relatively free of emergent vegetation, but has good underwater vegetation. The Typha reedbeds in Kunthur attract bitterns and crakes, while the waters of Kallur regularly support the Near Threatened Blackbellied Tern Sterna acuticauda. Kunthur also attracts huge flocks of the Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus, up to 2,500 on one occasion, and rare visitors like the Caspian Tern Sterna caspia and White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus have been seen (T. Shivanand, unpublished). The importance of the lakes as a wintering ground to the Near Threatened Black-bellied Tern cannot be stressed enough, as they are very close to a substantial breeding colony of the species at Talakad on the banks of the Kaveri river, a few kilometres north of the lakes (T. Shivanand in litt. 2003).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The site is important for congregations of winter migrants, especially ducks and waders. Over the past twelve years, the lakes have recorded very large congregations of migratory ducks and waders, often crossing the 20,000 mark. In the past three years, the number of birds recorded crossed 35,000 and touched 55,000 in the year 2000. Thresholds for 1% biogeographic population of species were crossed by Garganey (total 16,900, threshold 2,500), Comb Duck (total 65, threshold 60), and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (total 6200, threshold 1,000). The 1% biogeographic population threshold information is taken from Wetlands International (2002). Ducks such as the Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea and Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos prefer the Kunthur, while others such as Garganey Anas querquedula, Northern Pintail A. acuta and Wigeon A. penelope favour Kallur Lake. These waterbodies are also the winter home of 2 to 3 individuals of the globally threatened Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Poaching; Spread of weeds.

The Kunthur Lake faces the twin threats of siltation and overgrowth of Ipomea carnea that has choked several important lakes in the region and rendered them unproductive. The Kallur Lake is not in immediate danger, but an invasion of this noxious weed has begun in a corner of the lake. The 1.5 km long, black soil bund of the Kunthur Lake, is cracking up at many places due to the unchecked growth of Prosopis shrubs that can reach the proportion of small trees, thus endangering the existence of the wetland. All pleas by birdwatchers and local people from Kunthur village to initiate immediate action have failed to elicit a response from the authorities concerned. Charaching remains a problem, as these lakes are famed for their waterfowl all over the region. Duck from the Kunthur Lake used to be supplied to the royal kitchens of the Mysore Palace (T. Shivanand in litt. 2003).

Key contributors: Thejaswi Shivanand and A. Shivaprakash.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kunthur - Kallur Lakes. Downloaded from on 21/09/2023.