Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2004)
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Area: 2,500 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 medium favourable high
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Site description (baseline)
The Angami tribe of South Nagaland has been traditionally conserving forests even within agricultural areas. In 1989, the Village Council agreed to protect the forest of the Khonoma watershed, an important source of water to the village and its wet paddy cultivation. They constituted an independent body, the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS) Trust. The Sanctuary is located 16 km south-west of Kohima city, bordering Manipur to the south. There is a self-imposed complete ban on hunting in Khonoma village. The KNCTS includes part of the Dzukou valley through which Dzukou, a tributary of the river Barak, flows down forming a small valley. A well preserved patch of subtropical broadleaf forest is present in KNCTS. In the higher reaches, temperate broadleaf forest is found, with oak dominant in both the forest types. The temperate broadleaf forest supports good numbers of Blyth’s Tragopan Tragopan blythii. During a survey sponsored by the IBA project, Dark-rumped or Khasi Hills Swift Apus acuticauda was reported for the first time in Nagaland state (Ahmed et al. 2003).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Not much information is available on the avifauna of this IBA, except that a new locality of Dark-rumped or Khasi Hills Swift has been recorded (Ahmed et al. 2003). Other species recorded are the Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis, Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata, Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva, Large Niltava Niltava grandis, Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea, Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis and Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaniceps. A good population of Blyth’s Tragopan (Choudhury 1997) is also recorded. This site falls under the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA), in which 21 restricted range species are included. Many of these are likely to occur in Khonoma. Choudhury (2001) has seen many restricted range species being sold for meat in the market of the state capital. Khonoma adjoins Kohima town, so it likely that many restricted range species are caught from this site also. Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla humei (Near Threatened), Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni, and White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri were among the birds being sold.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No detailed work has been done on the mammalian fauna, but the following species have been recorded: Clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Leopard Panthera pardus, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Stump-tailed macaque Macaca arctoides, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang and Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock (A. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003).

Key contributors: Tsilie Sakrie, Khrie Kho Tuo, K Shohe, Thomas Kent, M. Firoz Ahmed, Kulojyoti Lahkar and Anwaruddin Choudhury.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 07/06/2023.