Country/territory: India

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

Area: 2,932 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 very high near favourable negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This is the second largest protected area for birds in Bihar, known since pre-Independence for its large and diverse congregations of birds. This permanent waterbody is located about c. 60 km from Darbhanga in Birail subdivision and includes the blocks of Biraul, Ghanshyampur and Kusheshwarsthan. The low lying areas of these blocks are dotted with perennial ponds and lakes. During floods, the water from nearby rivers fills the lake and the water level of the lake rises. During the monsoon, more than 10,000 ha become inundated as this lake joins with Simri Jheel and Kabar Taal (an IBA) (Yahya 1995). Rain and overflow of the rivers Kamla, Bagmati and Karree are the main sources of water for this lake. Large numbers of local people have been dependent on this wetland for fishing and for some aquatic crops such as Makhana Euryale ferox. This was a hunting ground for birds for royal parties and administrators, but now the lake is occupied by fishermen and agriculturists. Although trapping of birds is prohibited, many local people still depend on it for their survival, catching birds and selling them live. Kusheshwarsthan was known as the ‘winter capital’ of migratory birds. A. O. Hume in his journal Stray Feathers considered it as one of the best waterfowl habitats in India. A local NGO has proposed to develop this area as Dr. Sálim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Most of the wetlands and ponds are covered with Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes, but the local fishermen and bird trappers bind them together in small pockets so as to clear the surface area for fishing and bird trapping.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Kusheshwarsthan used to be one of the most important wetlands of Bihar, but now it is in a sorry state. However, even now, thousands of waterfowl are seen wherever human disturbance is low. According to S. K. Verma of the UNESCO Club of Darbhanga, a local NGO, the birds flock to nearly 200 private-owned ponds sprawled over 162 ha, and 412 medium-size Government owned ponds spread over 240 ha in Kusheshwarsthan. Presently, we do not have information about the total number of birds visiting this cluster of wetlands, but as the site has great potential, it is considered as a Data Deficient IBA. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus have been reported by A. Mishra (in litt. 2002).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.

Key contributors: S. K. Verma and Arvind Mishra.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kusheshwarsthan. Downloaded from on 25/06/2022.