Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 18,129 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed low not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
The Sanctuary, located on the Karnataka-Kerala border, adjoins Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. It is separated from the Nagarhole National Park by a narrow strip of coffee estates and from the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary by a thick evergreen forest corridor and coffee estates. It forms the catchment for the Lakshmanathirtha river, a tributary of the Cauvery. On the lower altitudes and slopes, evergreen forests dominate, while on the higher hills, montane sholas and grasslands are found.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Thejaswi Shivanand (pers. comm. 2002) has identified at least 135 species from the Sanctuary. The threatened White-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx major, the only Shortwing found in south India, has been recorded from this Sanctuary earlier (BirdLife International 2001). Two specimens were collected in April 1881, and one in February 1883, and one male in April 1896 (BirdLife International 2001). Recently, Vijayan, R. (2002) conducted a survey of this species in Karnataka and Goa. He could not locate any Shortwing in Brahmagiri, but it is likely to be found here as the habitat is still suitable. Stattersfield et al. (1998) have identified 16 endemic or restricted range species in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA). At this site, 12 of them are found, which proves that the natural forest is largely intact because most of these restricted range species are forest birds (see Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). Some of them, e.g. Blue-winged Parakeet Psittacula columboides and Small Sunbird Nectarinia minima are quite common, while others like the White-bellied Shortwing are listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001). The Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii is considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001) owing to its small, declining population, as a result of the widespread destruction of its forest habitat. More than hundred years ago it was comparatively common in the Brahmagiris in Coorg (Davison 1883) but subsequently Betts (1951) did not record it. As Davison has mentioned, this pigeon “moves about a good deal, and a shola that may be full of them one week, will not contain a single specimen the following week; this is due …. To the prevalence or otherwise of berries”. This site lies in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest BirdLife International undated). Fifteen species are listed in this Biome, of which 12 have been reported from here (S. Thejaswi pers. comm. 2003). This further shows the importance of this site as an excellent habitat for the birds of the Western Ghats EBA. Nine species listed in Biome-11 (Indo- Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) are also found at this site but they all are widespread and some are fairly common. Only one, Redheaded or King Vulture Sarcogyps calvus, is listed as Near Threatened (BirdLife International 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Four species of primate are present in the Sanctuary: Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus and Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata. Recently, Groves (2001) has upgraded different subspecies of Semnopithecus to full species status. According to this classification, the site harbours the Black-footed Gray Langur S. hypoleucos, perhaps the most endangered primate in India.

Among the predators, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus and Jungle Cat Felis chaus are common. Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Wild Boar Sus scrofa are also present. Herbivores include the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, Chital or Spotted Deer Axis axis, Sambar C.

unicolor and Gaur Bos frontalis. Reptiles include the Draco or Gliding Lizard Draco dussumieri, King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah and Bamboo Pit Viper Trimeresurus gramineus. Ansonia oronata, an endangered amphibian endemic to the Western Ghats has been recorded from the Brahmagiri hills.

Key contributors: Thejaswi Shivanand, A. Sivaprakash and S. V. Narasimhan..

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.