IN441
Blue Mountain (Phawngpui) National Park


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Blue Mountain (Phawngpui) National Park is located in southeastern Mizoram. The Kolodyne river flows along the eastern side of the Park and also forms the international border with Myanmar. Eastward, beyond Kolodyne River lie the Chin Hills of Myanmar. The highest point in Mizoram, Phawngpui Peak (2,157 m), is located within this Park. Most of the Park is covered with Sub-tropical Broadleaf and Tropical Evergreen forests. There are some cliffs and patches of natural grasslands on the tableland near Farpak. The Park is surrounded by villages on all sides and is an isolated refuge for wildlife.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Though the Blue Mountain Park is a small protected area, it supports very rich bird life. Kaul et al. (2001) have reported more than 125 species of birds from this site, and more are likely to occur. A survey on status of Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae carried out by Choudhury (2002) reveals that this species is still widely distributed in the higher hills of eastern Mizoram. There is no report from the lower western hilly tracts. Phawngpui National Park is the known westernmost locality for this species. It is considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001) as it has a small, fragmented, decreasing population. Its status remain virtually unknown across a substantial portion of its historic range in Myanmar, while habitat loss and hunting continue to be major threats all over its range. This IBA site is extremely important for the survival of Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant in India. It also has good populations of Blyth’s Tragopan Tragopan blythii (Kaul et al. 2001), another Vulnerable species according to BirdLife International (2001). Perhaps the most important sighting in this Park is that of the globally threatened Dark-rumped Swift Apus acuticauda, also called Khasi Hill Swift. Ahmed et al. (2001) saw five birds in August 2001. Four individuals were sighted by Kazmierczak (quoted in BirdLife International 2001, p. 1784) in March 1998. Earlier, during March to May 1953, six specimens were collected in the Lushai hills (BirdLife International 2001). The Dark-rumped Swift is one of nine threatened members of the suite of 21 bird species that are entirely restricted to the “Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area” (Stattersfield et al. 1998). This site falls in the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998) in which 21 restricted range species have been identified by BirdLife International (undated). Besides the Vulnerable Blyth’s Tragopan, which is also endemic to this EBA, four more restricted range species have been identified from this site (Kaul et al. 2001): Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus, Brown-capped Laughingthrush G. austeni, Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis and White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri. No information is available on their abundance and population estimates. The altitude of Blue Mountain NP varies from 1,300 m to >2,000 m, covering two biomes: Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest (Biome-8) and Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest (Biome-9). Kaul et al. (2001) listed 19 species of Biome-8, and 12 of Biome-9. They also found White-cheeked Hill Partridge Arborophila atrogularis and Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea of other biomes.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Despite its small size, the Park has almost all the mammals found in the forests of Mizoram, such as Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Goral N. goral and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus. Among the non-human primates, Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides, Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock and Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus are found. There is no substantial information on reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Poaching; Tree felling; Jhum cultivation on the fringe.

Blue Mountain NP is quite small and surrounded by human habitation. Its location on the international border gives it a special status. Charaching still continues, but on a reduced scale after declaration of the area as protected. All around the Park, jhum cultivation (slash-and-burn shifting cultivation) is practiced. Villagers set fire to vegetation, and the fires sometimes spread to the Park. Firewood collection is another age-old practice still continuing in the Park, although it has been reduced The cliffs located inside the Park need to be surveyed during summer months to confirm the existence and possible breeding of Dark-rumped Swift. It is also necessary to study the ecology and habitat requirements of this Vulnerable species, as Blue Mountains NP could be the second most important site in India, following Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, for this globally Threatened species.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Blue Mountain (Phawngpui) National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/12/2019.