Rajiv Ghandi Wildlife Sanctuary (Nagarjunasagar - Srisailam Tiger Reserve)

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 356,809 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
Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, formerly known as Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve spreads over five districts Nalgonda, Mahboobnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. The landscape is hilly and varies from plains to precipitous cliffs. The wildlife is generally confined to the plateaus during the monsoon and to the valleys in the summer. Perennial water sources are located in the valley, while the plateaus suffer from acute water scarcity in the summer. The River Krishna flows over a distance of 130 km through the Reserve. The multipurpose reservoirs, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar, which are an important source of irrigation and power for Andhra Pradesh, are located within the Tiger Reserve. The area receives rainfall from both the southwest and northeast monsoons. The vegetation is essentially Southern Tropical Mixed Forests (Champion and Seth 1968). Important tree species are Tectona grandis, Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia, Butea frondosa, Pterocarpus marsupium, Hardwickia binata. In the scrub patches, Acacia arabica, Madhuca indica and Hardwickia binata stand over Calotropis gigantea, Zizyphus oenoplia, Grewia spp. and Cassia auriculata. Occasional clumps of bamboo are encountered on the hillsides and on the banks of forest streams. The invasive Lantana, Parthenium, Duranta and Strobilanthus grow profusely as weeds in this area (Rao et al. 1997).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: About 242 species of birds have been recorded from this site (Rao et al. 1997). Most of them belong to tropical dry deciduous forest habitats and are generally common. The large expanse of undisturbed forest, especially in the core area, probably constitutes the best of its kind in India. BirdLife International (undated) has identified 59 Biome-11 species (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone), of which 36 have been sighted here. The globally threatened Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus was seen in April 1997 near a place called Ummamaheshwaram, close to Mannanur (Srinivasulu and Rao 2000). Some Near Threatened species, identified by BirdLife International (2001), are also listed by Rao et al. (1997) in their comprehensive checklist. The Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International (2001) is regularly seen around the water bodies that have formed due to the dams. Despite protection during the last 25 years as a reserve forest, sanctuary and now a tiger reserve, the forest cover and quality appears to be deteriorating since the days of Dr Sâlim Ali, when he collected birds here in the former Hyderabad State in the early 1930s (Ali 1933; Ali and whistler 1933a, 1933b, 1934a, 1934b). As pointed out by Rao et al. (1997), Ali recorded 105 species of birds from this region, especially at Mannanur, Amrabad Plateau and at Farahabad. Some of the dense forest species recorded by Ali, such as Indian Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus horsfieldii, Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus and Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstoni are no longer seen. The latter species is confined to the Western Ghats (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998) and is listed as Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam is one of the largest tiger reserves in India. The 1979 census showed 49 Tigers in the Reserve, which by 1988, had increased to 65, according to the Forest Department. The Reserve also has Leopard Panthera pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Wolf Canis lupus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Chital Axis axis and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra is present outside the Reserve in open areas. The Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna is also found, but it is extremely difficult to see due to its small size and secretive nature.

Key contributor: IBA Team.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rajiv Ghandi Wildlife Sanctuary (Nagarjunasagar - Srisailam Tiger Reserve). Downloaded from on 20/01/2022.