Mudumalai National Park

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 32,100 ha

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

Site description
Mudumalai National Park is located in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, in the Western Ghats. It is mainly known for its larger mammals but also harbours a rich avian diversity. The Sanctuary forms 14% of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is the first biosphere reserve of India. It is contiguous with Bandipur National Park (87,400 ha), Wynaad Sanctuary (34,400 ha) and Sigur and Singara Reserve Forests (Rodgers and Panwar 1988). The terrain of this IBA is extremely varied, with hills, valleys, ravines, floodplains, watercourses and swamps. Many streams drain into the area, the principal one being Moyar, the most important source of water for the Sanctuary, since most other streams dry up in early June. Most of the serious research efforts in this IBA have so far been focused on larger mammals, their predator-prey dynamics, and elephant studies. However, birds as a group have been largely ignored except by Gokula (1998). Mudumalai is endowed with a diversity of habitats, which support a rich variety of flora and fauna. There are three main types of forest: Tropical Moist Deciduous, Tropical Dry Deciduous and Southern Tropical Thorn. In certain places, mixed vegetation types are also present. Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest occurs in the western Benne Block, where rainfall is higher than in the other blocks. Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest is confined to the eastern side, but merges into Thorn Forest, where rainfall is lowest. Southern Tropical Thorn forest, also known as scrub jungle, occurs in parts of Avarihalla, Moyar and Bokkapuram blocks, and comprises xerophytic species (Jain and Sastry 1983). There are Teak plantations Tectona grandis largely in Benne Block, and a Blue gum plantation Eucalyptus globulus in the Masinagudi area. Bamboo Bambusa sp. have been planted mainly for supply to rayon mills in Kerala.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A total of 266 bird species has been recorded (Gokula 1998). Of the total, 213 are residents, 49 migrants, three local migrants, and one with unknown status. Most of the species are common and found in many other areas also, but endemics such as the Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus and Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus are present. Gokula and Vijayan (1996) have listed the globally threatened Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler Schoenicola platyura as resident, without giving more details. Another threatened species is TN-17 the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, recorded as rare in Bennae area, between May 1994 and August 1995. In the drier parts of this site, two globally Vulnerable species have been recorded: Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus and Pied Tit Parus nuchalis. The former was seen in Mavinahalla in 1996 (BirdLife International 2001), while the later was reported first by Ali and Whistler (1942-43) from Sathyamangala area, close to Mudumalai, and then by K. D. Bishop (BirdLife International 2001) from the northeastern edge of Masinagudi in March 1997. Owing to its altitudinal, precipitation and habitat variations, Mudumalai has two biomes: Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone). BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 species in Biome-10, of which 11 have been recorded in this IBA. Similarly, 59 species are representative of Biome-11, and in Mudumalai, 27 are recorded. There are not many IBAs where such a high percentage of biome bird species are found. The presence of so many biome species proves that the habitat is still relatively pristine, at least as far as the bird are concerned.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Mudumalai is famous for its large herds of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos frontalis and Chital Axis axis. Tiger Panthera tigris is widespread, whereas Leopard P. pardus is most often seen in the Kargudi area. Other carnivores include Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, commonly seen in Masinagudi and Theppakkadu Blocks, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus. The Asian Elephant population varies 300-400 (Ali et al. 1985). Most of the ungulates, primates and small carnivores of the regions are seen in this site.

Key contributors: V. Gokula, Lalitha Vijayan and Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mudumalai National Park. Downloaded from on 31/03/2023.