IN322
Lava - Neora Valley National Park


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Neora Valley National Park is one of three protected areas in Darjeeling district, and probably the most undisturbed patch of forest in West Bengal. It is unique and ecologically important as it includes a relatively inaccessible patch of late successional forest with rich diversity and a wide range of environmental gradients. The Neora Valley National Park has four main habitat types: Subtropical Mixed Broadleaf Forest, Lower Temperate Evergreen Forest, Upper Temperate Mixed Broadleaf Forest and Rhododendron Forest (Pradhan in. litt. 2003).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Neora Valley and Lava are very popular among birdwatchers, so there is a fairly comprehensive birdlist. A total of 258 bird species have been sighted (Nick Dymond in litt. 2002; Anand Prasad in litt. 2003). Prakriti Samsad has recorded 288 species from Lava and Loleygoan Range (Kushal Mokherjee pers. comm. 2004). Seven globally threatened species and two Near Threatened species are found at this site. It is one of the best sites in India to see rarities such as the Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra. This species is also considered as restricted range by Stattersfield et al. (1998) as it is endemic to the Eastern Himalayas and perhaps has a narrow distributional range. However, the discovery of nine singing males in the Lava area in 1996 (Mauro and Vercruysse 2000) was the first record in the Darjeeling area since 1945, and confirmed that fairly dense populations survived in at least this area (BirdLife International 2001). Thanks to its great altitudinal variation from 183 m to 3,200 m, Lava-Neora Valley covers two biomes: Biome-7 (Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest) from about 1,800 m to 3,600 m, and Biome-8 (Sino Himalayan Subtropical Forest) from about 1,000 m to 2,000 m. BirdLife International (undated) has listed 112 and 95 species respectively in these biomes. Fortythree species of Biome-7 and 24 of Biome-8 have been identified so far. As Neora Valley is regularly visited by birdwatchers, some very interesting records are available from this site. For instance, a spectacular calling flock of almost 600 Hill Myna Gracula religiosa was seen near Loleygaon, and another flock of about 1,000 individuals of Dark-throated Thrushes Turdus ruficollis was seen at Rishyap (Mike Prince in litt. 2002). Suntalekhola, on the fringes of Neora Valley NP, is also a good area for birds. Its altitude varies from 2,000 to 3,200 m, so it has many restricted range species of the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area. D. Ghosh (in litt. 2002) has sighted 64 species of birds.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: No information.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Fuel wood collection and forest fires; Poaching; Encroachment; Grazing.

Like any other protected area in India, Neora-Valley National Park also suffers from illegal cattle grazing, firewood collection, encroachment on the fringes and poaching. But due to inaccessibility and difficult terrain, the biotic pressures are not very acute. The Neora Valley National Park has some intact forest patches.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lava - Neora Valley National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/11/2019.