Makalu Barun National Park

Country/territory: Nepal

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2005)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 150,000 ha

Bird Conservation Nepal
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2011 very unfavourable high medium
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Site description (2005 baseline)
Makalu Barun National Park lies in east Nepal bordering with Sagarmatha National Park in the west and the Arun river in the east. The core area covers 150,000ha and is surrounded by 83,000ha of buffer zone. The fifth highest mountain peak in the world, Makalu (8463 m) and the wild and comparatively uninhabited Barun valley lie in the park. Several large tributaries of the Arun River form important watersheds in the park. A wide range of vegetation is represented here in undisturbed form; even some of the steepest slopes of the mountain are vegetated. Sal forests reach their northern limit in Nepal along the banks of the Arun below 1000 m. Other forest types comprise subtropical broadleaved Castanopsis tribuloides, C. indica, C. hystrix, Schima wallichii, Alnus nepalensis; temperate Quercus lamellosa, Q. lineata, Acer campbellii, Magnolia campbellii and subalpine Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis, and shrubberies of Rhododendron spp. Vegetation in the alpine zone consists of herbs, grasses and shrubs of Rhododendron spp. (Shrestha 1989).

Key biodiversity
A total of 348 bird species has been recorded from the park and buffer zone (Cox 1999). The park is especially important for the globally threatened Wood Snipe which breeds, and the near-threatened Satyr Tragopan and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide which are resident and probably breed. It is also of special importance for the high number of seven restricted-range species from the Central and Eastern Himalayas EBAs that are probably resident: Yellow-vented Warbler, Broad-billed Warbler, Nepal Wren Babbler, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spiny Babbler, Hoary-throated Barwing and White-naped Yuhina. There are large subtropical and temperate forest and alpine zone areas. These support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest, Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane biomes respectively.

Non-bird biodiversity: Globally threatened mammals reported to occur include the Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster and Red Panda Ailurus fulgens.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Makalu Barun National Park. Downloaded from on 04/12/2023.