Country/territory: India

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

Area: 12,700 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
Narora, on the River Ganga, between Karnabas and Ramghat, includes the total catchment area of Narora Barrage or the Lower Ganga Barrage, and the marshes and wetlands situated along the river banks. The site also includes the areas adjoining the Ganga 1000 to 2000 m from each bank. The total area of this IBA site is c. 12,700 ha. This site is named after a small town of the same name. The total catchment area of Narora barrage is 3251 ha, and its total length is 922 m. The main purpose of the barrage is to supply water to Narora Atomic Power Station for cooling and to Lower Ganga Canal and Parallel Lower Ganga Canal for irrigation. The reservoir attracts thousands of waterbirds, and there are many lakes and jheels in its vincinity, where resident waterfowl are found. During winter and summer, when the water level is low, a large number of islands appear in the reservoir and all along the Ganga. These islands and sand bars provide safe resting places for ducks, geese, cranes and other birds. Terns, lapwings and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breed on these islands during summer (Rahmani 1981).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Rahmani (1981) identified 120 species of birds in and around Narora reservoir alone, but recently S. Behera (pers. comm. 2003) has listed 133 species in a much larger area. Globally threatened species found in Narora are listed in the table. Several pairs of Sarus Grus antigone breed in the area. During winter, thousands of waterfowl, especially diving ducks are seen in the main reservoir. Flocks of several thousand Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Redcrested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina, Tufted Pochard Aythya fuligula and White-eyed Pochard or Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca are not uncommon. Sometimes, pure flocks of 2-3 thousand Red-crested Pochard are found. There are not many sites in India where such flocks are seen now. Up to seven Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus were counted in 1980 (Rahmani 1981) but their present status is not known. Similarly, several pairs or individuals of Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus were seen in the jheels and shallow areas of the reservoir but now this bird has become uncommon. Small temporary islands and sand bars, formed due to decrease in water level, could provide ideal habitats for summer breeding species such as the Indian Skimmer, River Tern Sterna aurantia, Black-bellied Tern S. acuticauda, Spur-winged Plover or River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii and pratincoles Glareola spp., but no research has been conducted on this aspect. The Narora reservoir, adjoining jheels and a stretch of the Ganga from Narora barrage to Karnabas could easily hold more than 20,000 waterfowl in winter, thus qualifying for A4iii criteria. There are very few riverine protected areas in India. On this account also, Narora is significant.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Narora reservoir and a stretch of about 60 km on the River Ganga is extremely important for the protection of the Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica, 11 species of freshwater turtles and for Mugger Crocodylus palustris and Gharial Gavialis gangeticus. The Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata, Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrina, and Hog Deer Cervus porcinus are other important mammals. There are unconfirmed reports of a small population of Swamp Deer Cervus duvauceli surviving on some grass covered islands.

Key contributors: Sandeep Kumar Behera, Raja Mandal and Jitender Pandey.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Narora. Downloaded from on 20/01/2022.