Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 1,296 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 very high very unfavourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary was declared a protected area in June 1983 to safeguard the highly endangered Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica, known locally as Kharmor or ‘Grass Peacock’. It comprised of 354 ha of grassland, crop fields and grazing lands. The Sanctuary is bounded by three villages, Sailana, Adwanya and Gordhanpura, and the whole area is jointly owned by agriculturists. The grassland area within the Sanctuary is about 200 ha and is known as Naulakha beed (Sankaran 1990). The grassland was maintained and protected primarily for fodder production. Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary falls within the Malwa plateau, which covers about 3,460,000 ha and is a wide tableland with a mean elevation of about 484 m above msl. It is a vast, undulating plateau, interspersed with a few small hills. Once this plateau was apparently well wooded, with Teak Tectona grandis and Dhak Butea monosperma, but with the loss of the original forest, pure grasslands were formed. Most of the area of the Sanctuary is treeless, and dominated by the grass species Sehima nervosum-Chrysopogon fulvus type. Other grass species are Heteropogon contortus, Apluda mutica, Cymbopogon martinii, Aristida funiculata and species of genera Brachiaria, Eragrostis, Dicanthium, Digitaria, Setaria, Bothriocloa and Pseudoanthistiria. The scattered trees found in the Sanctuary area are Prosopis chilensis, Zizyphus jujuba, Acacia catechu and Butea monosperma.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The BNHS initiated studies on this bird in 1984. During these preliminary surveys, 15 floricans, mainly males were seen (Sankaran and Rahmani 1990). Intensive studies were conducted from 1986 to 1989 (Sankaran and Rahmani 1990, Sankaran 1991). The area was going through a cyclic dry phase, and 1987 experienced extreme drought. The florican population declined, and by 1989, only 11 males were sighted. However, from 1991 onwards, for almost a decade the rainfall was normal or above normal but the florican number still declined mainly due to shrinkage of habitat. As the grassland habitat was converted into crop fields, there was less and less habitat available for florican. During a survey in 2002, only 4- 5 males were seen (P. M. Lad pers. comm. 2002) Records of floricans from different grasslands, some outside the notified Sanctuary, are given in Sankaran et al. (1992). Besides the Lesser Florican, 125 species of birds have been reported from Sailana grasslands (Anon. 1990). In the 1980s, a pair of Sarus Crane Grus antigone was found in the Sanctuary, and many more in the surrounding areas. According to P. M. Lad (pers. comm. 2003), a pair of Sarus is still seen around Sailana. Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica commonly breeds in the grasslands near wetlands, especially during normal monsoon years when the grass is tall. During winter, three species of harriers (Circus macrourus, C. pygargus and C. aeruginosus) are seen, sometimes as many as 40-50 gather to roost. Sailana grasslands are good breeding grounds for the endemic Sykes’ Crested Lark Galerida deva. Hundreds of European Rollers Coracias garrulus, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters Merops superciliosus and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters M. philippinus are seen on passage migration.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no large wild mammal left in Sailana and the surrounding areas. Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis and Jungle Cat Felis chaus are the major predators of Lesser Florican, other birds and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.

Many species of snakes are found, including Indian Cobra Naja naja, but none of them are of any conservation concern as they are commonly found in many areas.

Key contributors: Asad R. Rahmani, Ravi Sankaran and P. M. Lad.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 28/11/2021.