|IBA conservation status
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Site description (2004 baseline)
The Sauj Lake lies beside the Karhal-Kishni main road, close to the town of Saman, just before the Saman Bird Sanctuary. The lake is a shallow depression in the landscape. A culvert on the road near Sauj village is an ideal high point from which one can view the entire lake. A canal on the northern side of the lake brings in agricultural runoff, and another to the south takes away excess water to the Saman Bird Sanctuary. Agriculture is restricted to two sides of the lake, the third side is bordered by the village, and the fourth is a flooded grassy meadow providing habitat for a range of water birds throughout the year. This lake has been under observation for over a century now, though not on a regular basis. References to it can be found in Sauey et al (1987), and it has been detailed by Scott (1990) as an important wetland area, and also briefly mentioned by Rahmani (1989), giving the number of Blacknecked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus sighted. The greenbrown colour on the surface of the lake changes when light pink lotuses bloom immediately after the monsoon. The water of the lake is almost completely covered by lotus Nelumbo, and bordered with Saccharum on one side, and with a few scattered clumps of Ipomoea carnea .
AVIFAUNA: Sauj is one of the excellent waterbodies of western Uttar Pradesh, where more than 20,000 waterbirds are regularly seen. A very large flock of 2,500 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus was counted between December 1999 and February 2000 on this relatively small lake (K.S. Gopi Sundar pers. comm. 2003). According to Wetlands International (2002), 1% non-breeding South Asian population threshold of this species is only 230. Therefore, sighting of such large numbers of Great White Pelicans in such a small waterbody is of great significance. The largest flock of Sarus Crane Grus antigone seen between 1999- 2002 numbered 210 birds, and flocks exceeding 150 individuals are common throughout the year in summer and in winter. At least three breeding, territorial pairs of Sarus have made the lake their permanent home, and chicks are seen regularly (K.S. Gopi Sundar pers. comm. 2003). Two pairs of Black-necked Stork can be commonly seen foraging regularly in the lake. Flocks of Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala number over 100 individuals, as do Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans and Black-headed or White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Owing to the proximity of the village, fields and a main road, wild mammals are rare to find in and around the lake. Flap-shell Turtle Lissemys punctata is very common in the lake, and many individuals can be seen crossing the road in the monsoon.
Key contributor: K. S. Gopi Sundar.
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sauj Lake. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/sauj-lake-iba-india on 24/02/2024.