Simlipal National Park

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 84,570 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 very high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Simlipal National Park is the most important protected area of Orissa, and one of the largest Tiger Reserves (2,75,000 ha) in India. At one time, it was the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj, where record sized tigers were shot. In 1980, 84,570 ha were declared as a National Park - the core area continues to have four villages which have not been shifted even after 30 years. and has no human habitation. The surrounding forest was taken up as the buffer zone, where tribals continue to live their traditional life. A much larger area of 4,37,400 ha constitutes Simlipal Biosphere Reserve (Srivastava and Singh 1988) The highest peak in Simlipal hills is Khairi-buru (1178 m). There is no locality in the Simlipal hills which suffers from scarcity of water at any time of the year. Several streams flow through the Park and drain into the Bay of Bengal. The major perennial streams are the Budhabalanga, Palpala, Deo, Nekendanacha, Bandan, Kahairi and Khadkei. Simlipal is very popular with tourists who come to enjoy its scenic beauty and to see the Tiger, but most of them do not know of the rich bird life of this area. The vegetation of the Simlipal National Park ranges from Semi- Evergreen to Dry Deciduous. Semi-evergreen forest is characterized by Michelia champaca, Anthocephalus cadamba and Mesua ferrea. Moist Deciduous forest is comprised of Shorea robusta, Terminalia arjuna and T. chebula, and Dry Deciduous forest has Boswellia serrata and Acacia leucophloea. The most important species are Shorea robusta, Terminalia tomentosa, Syzygium cumini, Protium serratum and Dillenia pentagyna (Mohanty et al. 2002). More than 90 species of orchids are found in this IBA, of which atleast two are endemic (Eria meghasaniensis and Bulbophylum panigrahium).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Despite the great importance of Simlipal National Park to the Orissa Government and Project Tiger authorities, its bird life is not well documented. However, Jain (2001) says that more than 250 species of birds are found here. Simlipal forest stands as a link between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas. For instance, the Red-breasted Falconet Microhierax caerulescens was sighted in Simlipal in 1987 (Prakash and Rahmani 1989), far south of its known range in the Himalayan foothills, Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam (Ali and Ripley 1987). BirdLife International has identified 59 species in Biome-11, of which 33 have been reported till now from Simlipal. Besides, six species of Biome-10 are also seen. Species at the northernmost extreme of their range are the Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus, Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, and Malabar Whistling Thrush Myiophonus horsfieldii. The essentially Himalayan species such as Large Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis and Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica are near their southern limit in Simlipal (Kazmierczak and Singh 1998). Ripley (1978) has recorded Picus canus, another Himalayan bird with disjunct distribution in Mayurbhanj district in Orissa (see map. 6, plate 16, Grimmett et al. 1999). Other Himalayan species found in these forests are the Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps and Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis (Ripley 1978). Thus, Simlipal is a very interesting IBA, not only from the view point of protection of tropical dry forest avifauna, but also from the biogeographic point of view as it connects the Eastern Himalayan avifauna to that of the Western Ghats, albeit through a weak link.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Important mammals of the Park include Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Chital Axis axis, Gaur Bos frontalis, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena. Among reptiles, Mugger Crocodylus palustris is the most prominent species. King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah is also found.

Key contributor: Wildlife Society of Orissa.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Simlipal National Park. Downloaded from on 20/01/2022.