Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata ©Aseem Kumar Kothiala Website
Birding Manipur

anipur is a state in northeastern India, making its capital in the city of Imphal. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders the country of Myanmar to the east. An area of 8,628 sq mi (22,347 km²).

Manipur is one of the eight states of Northeast India, and one of the Seven Sister States. The state is bounded by Nagaland in the North, Mizoram in the South, Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Myanmar in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies at latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,327 km². The capital lies in an oval shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles surrounded by blue mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The presence of the mountain ranges not only prevents the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley but also acts as a barrier to the cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal. Within the State of Manipur, there are two major river basins, viz. the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) and the Manipur River Basin. The total water resources of the two basins have been estimated to be 18.487 cubic kilometres in the form of annual yield. The Barak river, the largest river of Manipur, originates from the northern hills and is joined by a number of tributaries such as Irang, Maku, Tuivai, etc. and thereafter enters Cachar District of Assam. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers such as Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills. Almost all the rivers in the valley area are in the mature stage and, therefore, deposit the load in the Loktak lake. The rivers draining the Manipur Hill Area are comparatively young due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive in nature and assume turbulent form in rainy season. Important rivers draining the western area include Maku, Barak River, Jiri, Irang and Leimatak. Rivers draining the eastern part of the State include Chamu, Khunou and other short streams. Physiographically, Manipur may be characterised in two distinct physical regions – an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys and the inner area represents the features of flat plain topography with all associated land forms. These two areas are not only distinct in respect of physical features but are also conspicuous with regard to various floras and faunas. The valley region would have been a monotonous, featureless plain but for a number of hills and mounds rising above the flat surface. The Loktak lake is an important geographic feature of the central plain area. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 km². The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to as high as 2,994 m at Mt. Iso Peak near Mao above MSL.The soil cover can be divided into two broad types, viz. the red ferruginous soil in the hill area and the alluvium in the valley. The soil generally contains small rock fragments, sand and sandy clay and are of varieties. The top soil on the steep slopes are very thin. In the plain areas, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is of considerable thickness. Soil on the steep hill slopes is subjected to high erosion resulting into formation of sheets and gullies and barren rock slopes.

The natural vegetation occupies an area of about 14,365 km². which is nearly 64% of the total geographical area of the State. The vegetation consists of a large variety of plants ranging from short and tall grasses, reeds and bamboos to trees of various species.Teak, Pine, Oak, Uningthou, Leihao, Bamboo, Cane, etc. are important forest resources growing in plenty. In addition, rubber, tea, coffee, orange, cardamom, etc. are also, grown in hill areas. Food and cash crops occupy the main vegetation cover in the valley.The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur. Situated at an elevation of 790 meters above the sea level, the state of Manipur is wedged between hills from all sides. This north eastern corner of India is blessed with a generally amiable climate though the winters can be a little chilly. The maximum temperature recorded in the summer months of Manipur is 32 degrees Celsius. In winter the mercury often falls to sub-zero temperature making it frosty in the wintertime. Snowfall sometimes occurs in some hilly regions due to the Western Disturbance. The coldest month in Manipur is January and July experiences the maximum summer temperature. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of the climate of Manipur, is from the months of October till February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the scorch of the sun. The hilly state is drenched in rains from the months of May and continues till the middle of October. It receives an average rainfall of 1467.5 mm, annually. However, the rain distribution varies from 933 mm in Imphal to 2593 mm in Tamenglong. The downpour ranges from light drizzles to heavy showers. The normal rainfall of Manipur enriches the soil and helps in agricultural processes and irrigation. The South Westerly Monsoon picks up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and heads towards Manipur, hits the Eastern Himalaya ranges and produces a massive amount of rain in the state.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 697

    (As at December 2018)

    State Bird - Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae


Abbreviations Key

  • IBA Loktak Lake (NP Keibul Lamjao)

    InformationSatellite View
    A large freshwater lake supplied by seven streams entering from the north and west, and drained by the Manipur river to the south. A channel connects the lake with the Keibal Lamjao swamp.
  • NP Keibul Lamjao

    InformationSatellite View
    Prominent bird species recorded in the park were both migratory and resident avifauna species. Some of them are East Himalayan Pied Kingfisher, Black Kite, Lesser Skylark, Northern Hill Myna, Burmese Pied Myna, North Indian Black Drongos, Lesser Eastern Jungle Crow, Yellow-headed Wagtail, Spotbill Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Ruddy Shellduck, Hooded Crane, Sarus Crane, Indian White-breasted Waterhen and Crimson-breasted Pied Woodpecker…
  • NP Sirohi

    InformationSatellite View
    A number of rivers originate from the cracks and slopes of this peak. The exotic Shirui lily flower (Lilium mackliniae) blooms on the hilltop in the month of May - June. The flower attracts hundreds of scientists and tourists every year. Rare birds like Blyth s Tragopan and Mrs. Hume s bar-backed pheasant inhabit the hill top.
Other Links
  • Conservation

    Manipur should be proud of her rich avi-Fauna. All the members of phasinidae are colorful but Mrs. Hume`s barred back Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae) and Blyth's Tragopan found in Manipur are spectacular and stand out from the rest of the group. The Khaleej Pheasant found in Manipur is a rich mixture of steely black and white and is definitely quite elegant. The Burmese peafowls and jungle fowls are the other long feathered pheasants found in Manipur
  • Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

    The Loktak Lake is the largest fresh water Lake of North-Eastern India which is also a Ramsar site and the Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating National Park in the world. Simply, Ramsar sites are Important Bird Areas where more than 20,000 migratory water birds congregate every year apart from presence of globally threatened species...

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