Murlen National Park

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 20,000 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2003 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
The Murlen National Park is situated c. 220 km east of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. This Park lies close to the Indo-Myanmar border and is significant for its proximity to the Chin Hills. Large tracts of relatively undisturbed Tropical Evergreen/Semi-evergreen forests are to be found in the Park. Some areas of primary and secondary forest growth also lie outside the Park boundary. A jeepable track links the Park (Kaul et al. 2001) to Champai, the nearest town. There are two main villages, Vapar and Murlen, close to the Park border. Although the original proposed sanctuary areas was 20,000 ha, it was reduced to 15,000 ha at the time of finalisation due to opposition from villagers of Murlen (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003)

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: More than 150 species of bird have been identified by Kaul et al. (2001) from this site. Murlen NP is located in a region which is considered Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area. In this EBA, 21 restricted range or endemic species have been identified by BirdLife International (undated). The Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis and White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri, two restricted range species, have been seen (Kaul et al. 2001) but more are likely to occur. Therefore, this IBA qualifies A2 criteria. However, the most important species for which this site has been selected is the Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae. According to Choudhury (2002), Champhai and Saiha are the main districts in Mizoram where this species occurs. Champhai district alone accounts for about 61% (about 800 sq. km) of the total potential habitat. Choudhury (2002) recorded this species from 12 new sites in Mizoram. Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos and Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum are the two common pheasants in this IBA. Kaul et al. (1996) encountered them frequently all over the Park. The Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola and Rufous-throated Partridge A. rufogularis are also common. The Mountain Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola fytchii (Choudhury 2002) is very common, sometimes seen near villages also. A globally threatened species that is likely to occur in this IBA is the Dark-rumped or Khasi Hills Swift Apus acuticauda. Although none were seen during a recent survey, Ahmed et al. (2001) found good potential habitats for this species.They found a number of Apus pacificus and Apus apus, but no Apus acuticauda. A cliff located inside the evergreen patch of forest, however, needs to be surveyed during April-May as it seems to be a potential habitat for Dark-rumped Swift (Ahmed et al. 2001). The name Murlem means place of swifts in the Mizo language. BirdLife International (undated) has listed 95 bird species in Biome-8 (Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest). According to Kaul et al. (2001), 34 species of Biome-8 are found here. However detailed study may reveal more species of this biome, and other biomes. For example, in Biome-9 (Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest), BirdLife International (undated) has listed 19 species, of which four have been identified from this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The major mammals of Murlen NP are the Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Malayan Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor, Hoary-bellied Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus, Pallas’s Squirrel C. erythraeus, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Stump-tailed Macaque M. arctoides, Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

Key contributors: Anwaruddin Choudhury, Rahul Kaul, Kulojyoti Lahkar and M. Firoz Ahmed.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Murlen National Park. Downloaded from on 31/05/2023.