Rajaji National Park

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 82,000 ha

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

Site description
Rajaji National Park is situated in the Shiwalik hills and outer Himalayas of Uttaranchal state in India. Its 82,000 ha are spread over the districts of Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal. The tract is mainly hilly, traversed by a number of alternating steep ridges and valleys. The River Ganga bisects the Park. Rajaji NP was set up to protect the habitat of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus and Tiger Panthera tigris. Three wildlife sanctuaries - Rajaji, Chilla and Motichur, and the surrounding reserve forests, were merged to create this Park. The Park area to the west of the River Ganga belongs to the Shiwalik range and has a prominent northwest to southeast ridge running through it (Pandey et al. 1995). The area north of this ridge slopes gently into the Dehra Dun Valley and is covered with dense Sal Shorea robusta forests. Champion and Seth (1968) classified it as Moist Shiwalik Sal Forest. The area south of the ridge has a jagged topography with a number of steep ridges which emerge from the main Shiwalik ridge and have narrow valleys between them, which in monsoon turn into swift rivers. The dry river beds are locally called Rau. The ridges are grassy, with occasional trees. On the south of the main ridge there is Dry Shiwalik Sal Forest, with Anogeissus latifolia on the slopes, associated with Sal in some places. Some areas of the Park are under plantations of Tectona grandis, Ailanthus excelsa, and Haplophragma adenophyllum. The Park has one of the finest examples of the bhabar forest zone in India i.e. the belt between the Himalaya and the terai.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A total of 312 bird species has been recorded. Of these, 151 are residents, 87 migrants, and 49 are altitudinal migrants, 7 are local migrants, while the status of the remaining 18 is unknown. For some species, Rajaji forms the western edge of their range, e.g. Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons (Pandey et al. 1995). The Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis, a denizen of Broadleaf Evergreen and Moist Deciduous forest, has been reported from the forest adjoining Rajaji NP, which links it with Corbett NP. Rajaji NP is extremely rich in forest birds. For example, it has 11 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of barbets and 3 species of hornbills, including the Near Threatened Great Pied Hornbill. Under the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area, Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed Brooks’s Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus subviridis and Tytler’s Leaf-warbler P. tytleri as restricted range species. Both species are winter migrants to the Park (Pandey et al. 1995). According to BirdLife Internationals (undated) classification of biomes, Rajaji NP occurs in Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest (Biome-8). However, it has more species of Biome-7 (Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest) than Biome-8, especially in winter when the birds move down into these forests. A total of 112 species has been identified in Biome-7, and Rajaji NP has 12 of them, all recorded in winter. There is a barrage on the River Ganga near Haridwar city. The backwaters of the reservoir, as well as a small stretch of the River Ganga, lie in the Rajaji NP. These water bodies attract a lot of resident and migratory waterbirds in winter. Thirteen species of birds have been identified at the reservoir, including Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, birds considered as Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The area is highly important as the western limit of the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus and the Tiger Panthera tigris. Some other large mammals in Rajaji NP include Leopard Panthera pardus, Spotted deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus and Goral Nemorhaedus goral. This Park is a good place to see Goral (Johnsingh 2001). The forests east of River Ganga are occasionally visited by Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus in winter.

Key contributors: A. J. T. Johnsingh and S. P. Goyal.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rajaji National Park. Downloaded from on 07/10/2022.