Kulik (Raiganj) Bird Sanctuary

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Kulik (Raiganj) Sanctuary is an artificial plantation of Dry Deciduous Forest, around a U-shaped canal. During monsoon the canal gets connected with the Kulik river which marks the eastern and southern boundary of the Sanctuary. National Highway 34 passes through the Sanctuary, dividing it into two halves. The U-shaped canal has created a small island-like area in the middle of the Sanctuary, which is the main breeding ground for birds. This area is a preferred habitat for heronry species (Jha and Sengupta 1999). Around this artificial waterbody, the Forest Department has planted Anthocephalus cadamba, Lagerstroemia reginae, Dalbergia sissoo, Eucalyptus sp. and Barringtonia sp. (S. Jha, in litt. 2002).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The Sanctuary, although an artificially planted forest, holds perhaps the largest nesting colony of Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans (Jha and Sengupta 1999) in India. More than 11,000 nests were recorded in 1999. According to Wetlands International (2002), the total breeding population of this species is >1,25,000, and the 1% threshold is 1,250. Thus about 10% of the breeding population is found in this Sanctuary. The population of Asian Openbill has increased dramatically. For example, Shahi (1983) has seen 3,956 nests in 1981, and he estimated a population of about 15,800 storks (parents and two chicks in each nests). He also counted 1,030 nests of Black-crowned Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax, and estimated a population of about 4,000 Night Herons. His estimates of other species are 3,000 egrets and 2,700 Little Cormorants Phalacrocorax niger. Around 127 species of birds have been recorded from the area (S. Jha, in litt. 2002). Kulik is one of the most important heronries in India (Subramanya 1996).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The fauna does not include any species of much significance except for some Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Roofed Turtle Kachuga dhongoka, and Yellow Monitor Lizard Varanus flavescens.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Poaching of birds; Aquaculture/Fisheries; Disturbance to birds; Tourists; Firewood collection.

Tree felling by villagers as well as by the Forest Department, egg collection for commercial purpose, chick collection for the table, disturbance by insensitive tourists, noise from picnickers in the nearby Kulik river are some of the conservation problems in this Sanctuary. After these issues were raised by a local NGO called Green Peoples, the authorities stopped tree felling in the Sanctuary area, and also banned picnickers. However, egg and chick collection continues despite the ban. Unregulated fishing is another problem.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kulik (Raiganj) Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 15/08/2020.