Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,000 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 low not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary in Medak district, located 50 km northwest of Hyderabad, is recognized as an important wetland for migratory birds. The water body provides considerable ecological diversity to support a large population of wetland birds. The reservoir provides drinking water to Hyderabad and Secundrabad, hence water is always stored even during the dry season. The reservoir has several islands with extensive marshy fringes, which provide good nesting sites for waterbirds. Interestingly, Manjira was declared a sanctuary not for its large congregation of birds, but for its small population of the Mugger crocodile Crocodylus palustris (Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury 1994). An area of 2,800 ha between Singoor and Manjira Barrage was declared a crocodile sanctuary in June 1978 (Vijaya Kumar 1988-1992). In the mid 1980s, Manjira became known to bird watchers and an annual waterfowl count was initiated. The reservoir supports submergent and emergent vegetation. A narrow margin of Typha, Ipomoea and Acacia fringes the waterline, while agricultural fields surround the reservoir and the river (Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury 1994). The river does not flow through the forested area. In the dry savannah type vegetation, scattered Acacia, Prosopis, Tamarindus indicus and Azadirachta indica are seen. The reservoir has several islands with extensive marshy fringes.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Around 73 species of birds are recorded from this site (Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury 1994, 1995; Vijaya Kumar 1998-1992), including many species of Biome-11, i.e., Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone. During winter, there are usually 30,000 birds (Vijaya Kumar 1988-1992). Although the number of the species present during winter remains roughly the same, the species population fluctuates. A very large congregation of Common Teal Anas crecca and Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus is found. Sometimes more than 1,500 Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea are seen (Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury 1995). A Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber, ringed in 1971-74 in Lake Rezaiyeh, Azerbaijan, Iran was recovered here in the winter of 1986-87 (Vijaya Kumar 1988-1992). Fourteen species of birds breed in Manjira, Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Coot Fulica atra and Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax being the most significant breeders (Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury 1994). Many species are present in this IBA in much higher numbers than their 1% biogeographic population threshold determined by Wetlands International (2002). For instance, the population of Barheaded Goose Anser indicus is estimated to be between 52,000 to 60,000 (Wetlands International 2002). At Manjira, up to 500 are found regularly which is almost 1% of the population. To give a more specific example, about 3% of the non-breeding population of Brahminy Duck winters in Manjira. Wetlands International (2002) estimates about 50,000 individuals of this species in South Asia, whereas in Manjira, Vijaya Kumar and Choudhury (1995) have found up to 1,500. When the rainfall is inadequate in northwest India, large numbers of Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo are seen in peninsular India. For instance, 1986-87 saw extreme drought conditions in Gujarat, the main stronghold of Demoiselle and Common cranes Grus grus. In January 1987, about 3,000 Demoiselle cranes were seen in Manjira which according to recent population estimates by Wetlands International (2002), would be 3% of the total population of this species wintering in the Indian subcontinent. Such examples reinforce the importance of having a chain of IBAs in the general distribution of species range, so that if, one region is affected by human pressures or environmental factors, the species has other areas to fall back upon. In recent years, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis, both Vulnerable species, have been sighted at Manjira (A. Pittie pers. comm. 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Among other fauna, an important species is the Mugger or Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris.

Key contributors: V. Vijaya Kumar, Aasheesh Pittie and B. C. Choudhury.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/03/2023.