|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
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The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary and National Park in Gurgaon district of Haryana occupy an area of 13,727 ha as Sanctuary, including a core area of 143 ha as the National Park. We have considered the National Park as an IBA. It is located just off the Gurgaon- Farrukhnagar road, 45 km southwest of Delhi. The Sultanpur Lake forms the core area. This shallow lake is fed by the overflow from neighbouring canals and agricultural fields, and replenished by saline ground water. The Park has seasonal aquatic vegetation and open grasslands, dotted with artificial islands planted with Acacia nilotica. The Park experiences extreme weather conditions. The Sanctuary contains cultivated fields and pastures. There are small areas of Typha and Phragmites around the lakes, and some emergent vegetation within the lakes, particularly in the core area. Extensive marshes covered with sedge, to the north of the main lake, form a mosaic with areas of dry grassland. The natural vegetation of the region is semi-arid scrub, but 78 % of the buffer zone is under cultivation.
AVIFAUNA: More than 320 species of birds have been recorded from the Park (Harvey 2003). This is a very important wintering ground for waterfowl. In years of adequate rainfall, it has supported over 20,000 individuals of migratory, birds but in the period 2000-03, the total never exceeded 3,000. The transient nature of the ecosystems at Sultanpur probably explains this high percentage of “old” records as much as real scarcity of species. Water levels are a major factor and there have been lean years recently. In 2002, regular winter pumping restored the jheel to its former glory and it is planned to continue with this. When water is inadequate, there is much interchange of birds with the nearby and more reliable wetlands at Basai (8 km east) and Bhindawas (30 km west) (both IBAs), particularly of raptors and larger waterbirds. Other factors for the decline of waterfowl and some other species include the growth in trees to the exclusion of scrub, the thick tall growth of grass when water is shallow or absent and the encroachment of agricultural fields (Harvey 2003). This IBA has a significant waterbird breeding colony, including Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala (50 pairs), Darter Anhinga melanogaster (8 pairs) and Black-headed or Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephala (50 pairs), all considered Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001). The adjoining dry flats are important wintering grounds for several lark and wheatear species, while there are breeding populations of Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus, Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus. Recent unusual visitors are Stolizcka’s Bushchat Saxicola macrorhyncha (in 2001) Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor (in 2002) and the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (in 2003) (Harvey 2003). The Park also qualifies A4i criteria as it regularly holds more than 1% biogeographic populations of some species. For example, Wetlands International (2002) estimates that the non-breeding population of Greylag Goose (subspecies rubrirostris), which breeds in Central Asia and winters in Central and South Asia, is about 15,000. Therefore, its 1% would be 150. Twice this number are seen in Sultanpur.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no large wild mammal of conservation concern in this Park. Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus is the major wild ungulate.
Golden Jackals Canis aureus are still common, although the Park is now surrounded by rapidly growing urban colonies. How long they would survive, it is only a question of time. No information is available on reptile and amphibian fauna.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sultanpur National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/09/2020.