Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 10,400 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 high near favourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The 104 sq. km Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary forms a vital corridor connecting the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) to its north with the Singalila National Park of West Bengal to its south. Five forest types are seen in this site: Subtropical Moist Deciduous Forests (2,200-2,400 m); Wet Temperate Forests (2,400-2,700 m); Moist Temperate Forests (2,700-3,250 m); Subalpine Forests (3,250-4000 m), and Alpine meadows (>4,000 m) (Sharma 2001). These diverse forest types shelter a wide range of faunal elements. This Sanctuary harbours some pure stands of Rhododendron, the dominant genus favored by the wet and cold climate along the Singalila Range and a variety of epiphytic orchids, ferns, mosses and lichens. Meadows take over from above 4,000 m and are rich in medicinal plants.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: This is an important IBA on the southeast corner of Sikkim with Nepal as its western border and contiguity with KBR and Singalila, stretching from alpine meadows down to subtropical forests. Birds from biomes 5, 7, 8 and 9 have been recorded here including at least three globally threatened species, two restricted range species, five out of 48 Biome-5 species, 38 out of 112 Biome-7 species, 21 out of 96 Biome-8 species and three out of 19 Biome-9 species. However, much more research input is needed (U. Lachungpa pers. comm. 2003). During a brief survey in September 1996, Biome-7 birds such as White-browed Tit- Babbler Alcippe vinipectus, Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata, Grey-faced Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis, Orange-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata, Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara, Rufous-bellied Crested Tit Parus rubidiventris and Red-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythrocephala were ringed with BNHS rings (Ganguli-Lachungpa 1996).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Notable mammals include Leopard Panthera pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula, Masked Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Goral Nemorhaedus goral, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Asian Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Red Panda Ailurus fulgens, Crestless Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, and Himalayan Mouse- Hare Ochotona roylei. There are unconfirmed records of the Tibetan Wolf Canis lupus chanco and Wild Dog Cuon alpinus.

Research is also needed on the herpetofauna and invertebrates of this IBA.

Key contributors: Sandeep Tambe and Usha Lachungpa.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 03/06/2023.