Watrap Periakulam and Virakasamuthrakulam

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 251 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
Watrap Periakulam and Virakasamuthrakulam are situated 5 km west of the town Watrap in Virudhunagar District. The two wetlands are divided by the Watrap-Pulavakkal dam road. These wetlands receive water from the Pulavakkal dam situated in the Sirivilliputhur Hills of the Western Ghats. Locally they are called ‘system tanks.’ Periakulam has been planted with a large number of Acacia nilotica trees which attract breeding and roosting waterbirds. Areas covered by Scirpus are frequented by rails and grebes. The Virakasamuthrakulam tank is more open, and devoid of Acacia nilotica. According to the villagers, the open water attracts congregations of ducks and pelicans. The wetlands are not rich in aquatic flora, except for Scirpus, Cyperus pygmeus, C. difformis and Cynodon dactylon.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: This site has been selected as an IBA based on the large number of congregatory waterfowl, and especially as a nesting site for a small population of the globally threatened Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis. In February 2003, five pelicans and one nest were recorded by S. Balachandran of BNHS (Manakadan and Kannan 2003) Besides the Spot-billed pelican, species such as Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Little cormorant Phalacrocorax niger, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Little Egret Egretta garzetta and Great Egret Casmerodius albus also nest on the numerous Acacia nilotica trees growing inside Periakulam. Coot Fulica atra is also found breeding in these wetlands. In January 2003, a very large roost of birds was seen. There were more than 3,000 Little Cormorants, over 5,500 Grey-headed Starlings Sturnus malabaricus, nearly 1,000 Common Myna Acridotheres tristis and large numbers of Cattle and Little Egrets on the Acacia nilotica trees. More than 150 Darters Anhinga melanogaster were found roosting and foraging. The number of Darters observed is more than the 1% threshold mentioned by the Wetlands International (2002). The surrounding paddy fields attract a large number of birds, such as Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus, especially during the harvesting period. According to the local farmers, ducks frequent Virakasamuthrakulam in thousands when the tanks are full. Being a drought year, in 2003, the water was too low to attract ducks. It is likely that the two wetlands and their environs would easily support over 20,000 birds in a year of good monsoon.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: As this wetland is surrounded by human habitation, there is little mammal diversity. Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are seen, as in most other agricultural areas of India.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Watrap Periakulam and Virakasamuthrakulam. Downloaded from on 05/03/2021.