Governor's Shola (Nilgiri)

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 2,287 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
Governor’s Shola is located in the northwestern corner of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala. It lies c. 8 km from Ooty town along the Ooty-Porthimunth road. It is a part of the Wenlock Down’s Range in the Nilgiris South Forest Division. This site was known for its excellent natural forest and grassland till the first half of the 20th century. Today, much of what existed in the mid 20th century is converted into exotic plantations, as in many other sites in the Nilgiris. This site also experienced significant habitat loss over the years because of anthropogenic pressures from the surrounding villages and conversion of land to agricultural use. Nevertheless, this small forest area still harbours a number of bird species of conservation interest. Governor’s Shola is a medium size patch of shola amid a sea of plantations and cultivation. Species comprising such shola include Actinodaphne bourneae, Ilex denticulata, Litsea wightiana, Michelia nilagirica, Microtropis ramiflora, Pithecolobium subcoriaceum, Symplocos pendula and Syzygium arnottanum, Eurya nitida, Photina notoniana, Ternstroemia japonica, Berberis tinctoria, Heydotis stylosa, Leucas suffruticosa and Smithia blanda. Besides, several genera of Himalayan elements such as Rhododendron, Hypericum, Rubus, Lonicera, Gaultheria and Pittosporum are also common.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Governor’s Shola holds a bird community with small populations of some of the globally threatened and restricted range species, besides many common birds also. A checklist of birds recorded in the area around this site is given in Zarri et al. (2002). Governor’s Shola is located in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), where Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed 16 restricted range species. We could record only five such species from this site; most of them are associated with Wet Temperate sholas and Subtropical Broadleaf Hill Forest, which proves that some natural vegetation is still surviving. This site is selected as an IBA based on the presence of globally threatened and restricted range species, A1 and A2 criteria respectively, of BirdLife International (2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Most of the mammals found in the sholas of the Nilgiris are also found here. Noteworthy species are Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak.

Key contributor: Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Governor's Shola (Nilgiri). Downloaded from on 06/12/2021.