Sagarmatha National Park

Country/territory: Nepal

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (2005)
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Area: 114,800 ha

Bird Conservation Nepal
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2011 unfavourable high medium
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Site description (2005 baseline)
Sagarmatha National Park was gazetted in 1976 and lies in the Solu Khumbu district in northeastern Nepal. In 2002 the park’s buffer zone was declared. The park encompasses the upper catchment of the Dudh Koshi River system. It is enclosed by mountain ranges on all sides. The northern boundary is defined by the main divide of the Great Himalayan Range that forms the international border with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. In the south, the boundary extends almost as far as Monjo village on the Dudh Koshi river (Green 1993). The park is a spectacular mountainous area with three peaks above 8000m, including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), the highest peak in the world. Most of the park comprises barren land (69%) over 5000m; 28% is grazing land, and nearly 3% is forested (Sherpa 1985 in Green 1993). In the subalpine zone there are forests of Blue Pine Pinus wallichiana, Silver Fir Abies spectabilis, fir-juniper Juniperus recurva and birch-rhododendron forest (Betula utilis, Rhododendron campanulatum and R. campylocarpum). Higher up, in the lower alpine zone above the tree-line at 3800-4000 m there are shrubberies of Juniperus spp., Rhododendron anthopogon and R. lepidotum. Grassland and dwarf shrubs grow in the upper alpine zone from 4500 m to 5500m, and cushion plants from 5500m to 6000m. Oak Quercus semecarpifolia was formerly more extensive but only small areas now remain (Green 1993). Sagarmatha (‘Mother of the Universe’) and its surroundings are of international importance, representing a major stage of the Earth’s evolutionary history and one of the most geologically interesting regions in the world. Its scenic and wilderness values are outstanding. As an ecological unit, the Dudh Koshi catchment is of biological and socio-economic importance, as well as being of major cultural and religious significance.

Key biodiversity
A total of 194 bird species has been recorded in the park (Basnet 2004). The park has large temperate forest and alpine zone areas. These support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane biomes respectively including the globally threatened Wood Snipe that may breed in alpine meadows.

Non-bird biodiversity: Globally threatened mammals include Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Asiatic Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus, Serow Capricornis sumatrensis, Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster and Red Panda Ailurus fulgens.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sagarmatha National Park. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.