Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 37,733 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed high not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary is situated on a low promontory on the Coromandel coast in Nagapattinam district. The Great Vedaranyam Swamp stretches for about 48 km from east to west, parallel to the Palk Strait and separated by a sand bank. Its dimensions are about 10 km from north to south, and it is broadest in the east, narrowing to about 8 km in the central part and 6 km at the western end. It is about 11 km from Vedaranyam town. There are only two villages, namely Kodikkarai and Kodikkadu. A motorable road connects the Sanctuary with the nearest town. The control of the area passed from the Revenue Department to the Forest Department in 1907. The forest of Point Calimere Sanctuary has an area of 1,729 ha, comprising of the Kodikkadu Reserve Forest and Kodikkadu Extension Reserve Forest. During 1988, it was proposed to declare Point Calimere Sanctuary as Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary and Bird Sanctuary with a total area of 37,733 ha, including the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and Talaignayar Reserve. This IBA comprises of mangrove forest and lagoon in the Muthupet-Adirampattinam, and mudflats interspersed with numerous islets in the Siruthalaikkadu-Kodikkarai area. The IBA also encompasses Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest and low-lying coastal grazing lands. Five freshwater channels empty into the Swamp, most of which have running water only during the monsoon. The Korayar river confluences with the Mullipallam lagoon in the west. The Swamp is demarcated to the north by an artificial bund. There is a 30 m wide belt of mangrove vegetation. The area has variable rainfall regimes, and is not typical of tropical monsoon climate. The northeast monsoon is the main contributor to this area, though some rainfall occurs during the southwest monsoon. The winds are dry, but cause low-pressure depressions in the Bay of Bengal, resulting in cyclonic storms on the mainland (Daniel and Rao 1988-1991).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The IBA is an extremely important staging and wintering ground for migratory birds. Remarkable among them are flamingos, ducks, waders, gulls and terns. It is also a vital foraging ground for several species. It harbours a large number of migratory waders and flamingos (Ali 1963). A total of 110 species of waterbirds has been recorded from the swamp and saltpans. Of these, 34 are winter migrants from the Palearctic region (Sugathan 1982). According to a census in January 1987, 28,000 Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber and 1,00,000 Garganey Anas querquedula were recorded. The threatened Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis also occurs here. Manakadan (1992) had recorded 150-250 birds yearly in the late 1980s in the Great Vedaranyam Swamp during regular bird census. About 1,200 pelicans were recorded in the Great Vedaranyam Swamp during October 1999 (Balachandran pers. comm. 2002). Hussain (1976) has recorded Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler or Grassbird Schoenicola Platyura, a globally Vulnerable species. Many species of ducks and waders occur in much above their 1% biogeographical number as determined by Wetlands International (2002).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Major mammals include Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra, Spotted Deer or Chital Axis axis, Jackal Canis aureus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis. Large number of feral cattle and feral horses are seen in the Kodiakkadu forests.

Key contributors: V. Kannan and Ranjit Manakadan.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/09/2023.