Sangti Valley

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 500 ha

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description (baseline)
Sangti Valley is a poorly known, remote and inaccessible area in Arunachal Pradesh. This region is one of the global biodiversity hotspots (Myers 1988, 1991). It is recognized as an Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Sangti Valley is neither protected nor does it come under reserve forests, hence it does not have well a defined boundary. The area is mountainous country, which is part of the Eastern Himalaya. The lowest parts are c. 1,000 m (near Kalaktang), while the highest parts are above 3,000 m in Mandla Phudung area. The area lies in the Middle Himalaya. Shergaon (another IBA) is c. 2,000 m, while Sangti Valley is c. 1,500 m above msl. Sangti Valley is surrounded by denuded slopes of the Great Himalaya, with sparse Temperate and Broadleaf forests. The western side of the Valley has villages and most parts of the Valley are under paddy cultivation in summer. In the winter, the harvested paddyfields attract many birds. There is a small, half-hectare patch of marsh, where the Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis is seen. The climate is typically montane, the main features of which are sharp contrasts between sun and shade temperatures, wide diurnal temperature range, inversion of temperature and variability of rainfall depending upon exposure and elevation. Summer is warm and wet, while winter is cold and dry, with occasional rain. Annual rainfall varies from <1,500 mm (northern slopes, partly rainshadow zone) to >2,000 mm (southern slopes). The south-facing slopes receive heavy rainfall. The temperature generally ranges from 0 ?C in winter (minimum) to 30 ?C in summer (maximum). Heavy snowfall is experienced in winter in the higher areas (especially above 2,200 m, occasionally down to 1,800 m). Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest occurs only in the lower areas near Kalaktang. Subtropical Forest occurs widely having both broadleaf as well as conifers. While the broadleaf forest generally occurs up to 1,900 m elevation, the conifers are usually found up to 1,800 m, especially in areas receiving less amount of rainfall. Various species of oaks dominate the broadleaf type.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A bird survey of this little known wilderness was carried out in April-end, May and October 2000 as part of the BNHS's IBA project. Prior to that, these areas were also visited from 1997 to 1999. Some information on the birds of this region is found in Choudhury (2000a), Gole (1996), Singh (1995) and some unpublished reports (Athreya and Kartikeyan 1995, Choudhury 2000b, Singh 1999, Kumar and Singh 1999). These studies helped in assessing the bird diversity of this area.

A combined total of about 300 bird species has been recorded so far in this and the nearby IBA (Mandla-Phudung-Kalaktang) (Choudhury 2001).

This IBA site comes under the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA) (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Out of the 21 Restricted Range species identified for this EBA, 11 have been reported from this site.

Choudhury (2001), who surveyed Sangti Valley, Mandla-Phudung, Dirang, Shergaon and Chander, has reported six species of pheasants, including the globally threatened Blyth’s Tragopan Tragopan blythii. Temminck’s Tragopan Tragopan temminckii, which was recorded in northern Arunachal Pradesh at 2,100 to 3,600 m elevation (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998) has been found above Sangti valley, at 3,000 m. This could be the westernmost record in India (27º 18' N, 92º 06' E) (Choudhury 2001).

Sangti Valley was the only known regular wintering site of the Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis in northeastern India till the discovery of a site at Zemithang, Tawang district, also in Arunachal Pradesh (Choudhury 2000a). In December 1999, Choudhury photographed three birds. A maximum of six birds has been reported from this site. The local Monpas call it Thung-thung Karmo (Choudhury 2001).

The globally threatened Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, could not be located at Sangti Valley (Choudhury 2001), possibly due to habitat loss. It occurs mostly in Subtropical Broadleaf Forest, with mature trees. However, it is also seen in Tropical Evergreen and Temperate Broadleaf Forest, the latter mostly in summer.

Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella, another globally threatened species, was seen by Choudhury (2001) on many occasions in good quality Broadleaf Forests near Chander, northeast of Sangti Valley.

This site has been selected as an IBA based on criteria A1 (presence of globally threatened species) and A2(presence of Restricted Range species).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Leopard cat Felis bengalensis is apparently common, as many skins were seen at Shergaon. Other major carnivore recorded was the Dhole or Wild dog Cuon alpinus. Among primates, the Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, and Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus are common. The local Monpa tribals are Buddhist and do not kill and disturb birds, especially the Black-necked Crane.

Key contributors: Anwaruddin Choudhury and Manju Menon.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sangti Valley. Downloaded from on 28/05/2023.