IN144
Halali Reservoir


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Halali reservoir is located 25 km from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. The reservoir was created in 1973, when an earthen dam was constructed over the River Halali. Two more rivers, Chamari and Ferozi, feed this huge reservoir. Mainly used for irrigation and fishery, the reservoir attracts a large number of birds during winter. It has vast shallow stretches of water on its western shores. Most of the birds are seen towards the shallow end. Towards the bund side, the forest attracts many terrestrial birds. Although no detailed study has been conducted on the avifauna of this wetland and its environs, some useful information was collected during the winter of 2001-2002.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The precise number of species in this area is unknown, but certainly more than 20,000 migratory birds visit the reservoir during winter (Koustubh Sharma pers. comm. 2003). The shallow shores of Halali reservoir can be reached by travelling through undulating village paths, via Islamnagar, which is a famous picnic spot near Bhopal. The area surrounding the villages is often littered with carcasses of domestic cattle. The carcasses can have Oriental White-backed Gyps bengalensis, Long-billed G. indicus and Egyptian Neophron percnopterus vultures feasting on them, along with domestic dogs. The vast open fields around the villages have clusters of trees, distributed sporadically, that provide perches for these scavengers. It is quite possible that these vultures could be nesting here, as was evident from discussions with local villagers. A more detailed investigation to confirm their breeding is required. As a result of the slow recession of water during winter, good roosting and foraging sites emerge on the shores. These areas provide perfect foraging grounds to waterfowl and waders. The presence of an unidentified species of pelicans and the Sarus Crane Grus antigone in the area, along with massive congregations of over 30,000 birds, makes this site a contender for IBA status.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Poaching and trapping; Use of pesticides by farmers.

The reservoir is under the control of the Irrigation Department of Madhya Pradesh. Changes are taking places in the cropping pattern, which could be detrimental to birds, as the farmers have now started using pesticides. Their increasing investment of money and other resources makes them less tolerant to crop damage by birds. Charaching, especially by rich and influential people, is another problem, which could be solved by patrolling by forest guards. Presently, there is no Forest Department staff in the area. There is an urgent need for a study on the socio-economic and ecological importance of this wetland, to develop a long-term conservation strategy that would benefit farmers and birds.

Acknowledgements
Key contributor: Koustubh Sharma.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Halali Reservoir. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2022.