Kottiyoor Reserve Forest

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Situated on the western slopes of the Brahmagiri, Kottiyoor Reserve Forest is adjacent to the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. Though bounded by the contiguous forests of Aralam and Hilldale RF on the east, northeast and northwest sides, the south and southwest sides of this forest are bordered by thickly populated villages. The main forest types are West Coast Tropical Evergreen and West Coast Tropical Semi-evergreen. A significant extent of this area is covered by grassland at altitudes ranging from 900 to 1,361 m. A small part of the reserve forest has been converted to teak plantation. This forest had been heavily worked on by selective felling until the early 1970s. The area is well watered, with several perennial streams running into Bavali Puzha, a tributary of Valapattanam River.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A total of 168 birds belonging to 43 families was recorded (Sashikumar 2002). This includes one globally threatened species, Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler Schoenicola platyura. Another globally threatened species likely to occur here is the Nilgiri Wood- Pigeon Columba elphinstonii because the habitat is quite suitable for this forest loving pigeon. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area, where Stattersfield et al. (1998) have identified 16 restricted range or endemic species. As this site has good forest cover, and it also adjoins other protected areas, 10 endemic species have been identified. One or two more are likely to be found here, once detailed studies are conducted. This site is also suitable for biome restricted assemblages. One of the criteria for the identification of an IBA is that the site is known or thought to hold, a significant component of a group of species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to one biome. This site falls in the Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest), where BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 bird species. Twelve of these 15 biome restricted species are found in Kottiyoor Reserve Forest (Sashikumar 2002), which further proves the importance of this site as an IBA. The site also holds significant population of Near Threatened Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus. This species has seen rapid decline in Sri Lanka, and similar losses are occurring in India (BirdLife International 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Kottiyoor and the surrounding reserve forests harbour a number of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus. Gaur Bos gaurus, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak are the main herbivores. Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard Panthera pardus are the major carnivores reported from the site. No study on wildlife has been done in this IBA site.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Burning of grasslands; Poaching; Unrestricted collection of minor forest produce; Firewood collection.

The presence of vast grasslands, an ecosystem absent from the adjacent Aralam WLS, gives Kottiyoor RF great conservation value. The globally threatened Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler or Grassbird and the endemic Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis are typical inhabitants of these grasslands. Nair (1991) identified this reserve forest as an important site for long-term conservation of the mega-vertebrates such as the Asian Elephant and the Tiger. It is also a prime bird habitat. This forest forms the watershed area of Bavali Puzha, thereby contributing to the water resources of Kannur district. It is necessary that this reserve forest be elevated to protected area status by being added to the Aralam WLS.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kottiyoor Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 03/12/2020.