Naliya Grassland (Lala Bustard Wildlife Sanctuary)

Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
More than 50,000 ha area in Abdasa and Mundra talukas constitute one of the finest dry grasslands left in Gujarat. In 1992, a small portion (203 ha) was declared as a sanctuary for the Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps. The site gets high conservation value, not only due to the presence of this bustard but also species such as the Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica. The entire Sanctuary is dominated by a single habitat, i.e. grassland vegetation with sparse vegetation of bushy Zizyphus. However, in 1990-91, the Forest Department planted nearly 50 ha with Prosopis chilensis ostensibly to improve the bustard habitat. Thus almost 25% of the grassland habitat was destroyed. Beside the 209 ha Lala Bustard Sanctuary, the entire belt along the coast line is covered with grasslands and marginal crop fields, ideal for the Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and other grassland species. Amongst the most important grassland sites are the Naliya-Vengaber-Parjau don (don=grassland) and the Konathia-Kalatalao-Bachunda don.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: This IBA is perhaps the only site in India where three species of bustards (Great Indian, Macqueen’s Bustard and Lesser Florican) are found, sometimes at the same time (late September). This site has the largest known Great Indian Bustard population in Gujarat - not less than 40 birds are found here. During the monsoon of 2001, 12 males were found displaying (R. D. Jadeja pers. comm. 2001). The largest known aggregation of endangered Lesser Florican breed here during the monsoon, and over 60 displaying males have been counted (Sankaran 2000a). In the nest year, when the monsoon was very good in this area and inadequate in other parts of Gujarat, about 120 Lesser Floricans were counted in this IBA (R. D. Jadeja pers. comm. 2001). Macqueen’s Bustard Chlamydotis macqueeni is also seen in winter. Sometimes early arrivals can be seen in the area while the Lesser Florican is still around. The Great Indian Bustard is resident so it is seen throughout the year. The Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarious is listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001) as it has a small population that has undergone a rapid reduction, for largely unknown reasons. It breeds just outside the Asian region, in the west-central Asian steppes, winters in northeast Africa, the Middle East and northern India. There are very few recent records from India. Two birds were seen in a ploughed field close to Lala Bustard Sanctuary in December 1999. Another threatened species found in this IBA is Stoliczka’s Bushchat Saxicola macrorhyncha (R. D. Jadeja pers. comm. 2002).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The grasslands of Naliya and Lala Bustard Sanctuary have good populations of Chinkara Gazella bennettii. In some portions with good tree cover, Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus is found.

Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis and Wolf Canis lupus are often seen. Hyena Hyaena hyaena is reported to be present in undulating areas, especially in the nearby Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Human settlements; Livestock grazing; Invasion of Prosopis chilensis.

While Lala Bustard Sanctuary is too small to support any significant numbers of the Great Indian Bustard, the adjoining grasslands and crop fields are ideal habitats for the bustard and florican (Sankaran 2000b). A proposal for adding another 400 ha to increase the area of the Sanctuary is under consideration. Sankaran (2000b) has given proposal for the optimal management of two sites, Naliya-Vengaber-Parjau don and the Konathia- Kalatalao-Bachunda don. Good protection and grasslands management would greatly benefit agriculturalists and pastoralists. The habitat should be protected from invasion of Prosopis chilensis and from grazing of livestock. The Forest Department has cultivated a small part of the Sanctuary and carried out ploughing for grass development. These activities are not advisable in such grasslands, which have very high conservation value.

Key contributors: Asad R. Rahmani, Ravi Sankaran, Duleep Kathau, Justus Joshua and R. D. Jadeja.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Naliya Grassland (Lala Bustard Wildlife Sanctuary). Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.