Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo)

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 720 ha

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

Site description (2004 baseline)
Kaj Lake is situated 10 km eastward of Kodinar town in Junagadh district. It is a tidal regulatory dam constructed by the Irrigation Department, Government of Gujarat in 1995. The name of the site on government record is ‘Pipalava Bandharo’ (Bandharo = earthen dams erected to harvest rainwater). The lake is bordered by three villages: Nanavada, Pipalava and Chikhli. Maximum depth of the lake is 2 m. During the high tide, particularly on full moon and no moon days, tidal water from the Arabian Sea touches the dam. Thus, one side of the dam is a large, shallow freshwater lake with moderate vegetation and on the other side the tidal mudflat attracts thousands of waterfowl in winter. The maximum water is seen during July and August and minimum during March when the lake is totally dry. As the farmers of surrounding villages drain the water to irrigate their crops from October onwards, the lake almost dries out by the end of February or March. The farmers use diesel engine or submersible water pumps to draw the water. The village Kaj is about 8 km from the lake which is also known as Kaj Nu Talav. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. Cotton, groundnut, sugarcane, sorghum, maize and millet are cultivated. Typha and Cyperus are the common emergent vegetation. The vegetation cover is moderate. The surrounding area has sparse stands of Prosopis chilensis. Sedges and grasses are found on the islands and margins of the lake. Scattered shrubs of Zizyphus and Capparis are also seen in the surrounding area.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: About 40 species of birds were observed by Indira Gadhvi (pers. comm. 2003). The wetland regularly harbours more than 20,000 birds during winter, thus it fulfills A4iii criteria. At least two globally threatened species are seen here every winter, so it also qualifies A1 criteria. Besides this, four Near Threatened species have been seen till now, and more are likely to occur. Wetlands International (2002) has recently published new waterbird population estimates. The A4i criteria of BirdLife International (undated) states that any site which has =1% of the biogeographic population of a congregatory waterbird species could be considered as an IBA. The Kaj Lake easily qualifies this criteria as it has more than 1% population of five species. The Common Crane Grus grus can be mentioned here, although with a maximum number of 675 seen in January 2003, it does not strictly hold 1% population threshold (Wetlands International estimates 1% population threshold as 700).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no mammal of great conservation concern. Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, and Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus are the commonly seen in the area.

Key contributor: I. R. Gadhvi.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo). Downloaded from on 25/02/2024.