Whenever you think of Goa, those amazing beaches come to your mind. Isn’t it? But many people are unaware of the fact that Goa is also an ornithologist’s paradise. This bird sanctuary is situated on the western tip of the Chorao Island in Goa and boasts of being the only bird sanctuary in the state. This entire bird sanctuary in India is full of mangroves and thus, is home to various kinds of birds. The juxtaposition of the two different biomes of the sea and the Western Ghats result in these large number of shore birds as well as the rare Western Ghats.
Also known as the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, this bird sanctuary in India has been conferred the World Heritage tag. It is home to a wide variety of birds, and the major attraction of this place is the magpie robins, lapwings, water hens, storks, herons, spoonbills and egrets. One can also find the very rare Sarus cranes out here. If migratory birds are what interest you, you must visit this place during the winter months. Bharatpur is undoubtedly one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in India and is frequented by tourists from India as well as abroad.
A perfect weekend getaway from Delhi, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is an amazing escape, especially for nature lovers and birding enthusiasts. It is home to a number of migratory birds and is a great spot for spotting the various species, especially during winters. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 40 kilometres from Dhaula-Kuan in Delhi on the Gurgaon-Farukh Nagar Road. There are astonishing 250 species of birds here during the peak season, i.e. September and during winters.
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, also popularly known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, is a breathtaking and beautiful bird sanctuary that is located at Kumarakom in the Kottayam district in the Indian state of Kerala. Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake in the Kerala Backwaters, this bird sanctuary is a favourite destination for many native as well as migratory birds, which makes the place a dreamland full of ecstasy and delight for bird watchers and nature lovers. The houseboats and motor boats that are available on rent to watch birds further enhance this enrichening experience. A trip to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is thus a must while in Kerala, to explore and unravel the hidden treasures and gifts of the Earth.
Situated in the city of Kancheepuram, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary covering a total area of 30 hectares. This sanctuary is a popular migratory home for around 40,000 different species of birds from all over the world. It is said that such a vast number of birds are attracted to this location because of its various small lakes that prove to be a fertile feeding ground for the birds. As soon as one enters here, the birds can be seen eating, swimming, homemaking, diving, squawking or simple perching on the trees. They seem to enjoy every bit of their extended vacation before the long flight home. The mighty birds here are accustomed to having visitors and may venture quite to them.
The northeast is a paradise for any nature lover and this amazing wildlife sanctuary in Bugun Liocichla is one of the bird sanctuaries in India for bird watching. This wildlife sanctuary has a wide range of flora like bamboo thickets, alpine forests and evergreen trees which ensure a large number of birds in that region. The sanctuary is very special for small birds like Tit, Sibia, Nuthatch, Yuhina and Bush Robin. The best time for bird watching here is in the months of March- April or November- January.
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Known For : Jungle Safari in Corbett National Park Corbett Waterfall River Rafting in Corbett National Park
Located in the foothills of the Western Himalaya in Uttarakhand, Corbett National Park is any bird lover’s paradise. It falls in the biodiversity-rich region and covers a wide range of habitats which makes it home to almost over 500 species of birds. The top birds of this region are the Great Slaty Woodpeckers, Ibisbill and Raptors. Spend 4-5 days at this bird sanctuary in India and relish the sight of such beautiful birds.
Best Time: Mid October to Mid June
One may combine the tour of Jim Corbett National Park along with higher elevation birding at Pangot and Sattal. These are two different bird sanctuaries in India located in the Kumaon region which are quite popular for Himalayan Birding experience. Both these locations are a short drive from the town of Nainital. Pangot showcases the birds of higher altitude, whereas Sattal has the birds from the lower Himalayan range. Spot the Cheer Pheasant and the Koklass in Pangot surely.
Located in the picturesque state of Karnataka, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna is a haven for a wide array of bird species. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state and comprises of six small islands on the banks of the river Kaveri. The beauty that finds a place here in Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a sight to sore eyes. The scenery of the local vegetation and landscape, coupled with the colourful variety of wildlife makes it a unique learning experience for everyone. This destination offers many activities to its tourists; the most popular ones include bird watching, boating, and some good old nature photography.
Known For : Seven Lakes Bhimtal Subhash Dhara
A group of seven freshwater lakes, a stash of nature's bounty and loads of migratory birds and panoramic vistas make this wonderful place called Sattal. A paradise for nature buffs and bird watchers, Sattal has a mystery to it that makes it all the more charming and photographer's paradise. Pangot and Sattal can be ideal bird sanctuaries in India for bird lovers as they get to see various kind of bird species throughout the year.
Best Time: April to June, September to December
Imagine a scene of pink flamingos all around you on a vast desert of salt. Does not it sound amazing? Yes, this is what you can experience if you visit Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Little Rann of Kutch is the southern part of the Great Rann and offers beautiful wildlife viewing facilities. It is home to the flamingos in India, and you can truly spend an entire week gazing at them at this bird sanctuary in India. One may also spot the Houbara Bustard, cranes, Macqueen’s Bustard, Sociable Lapwing, reef egrets and some other desert birds.
The Pong Dam Wetlands are considered as the hidden gems of Kangra as many people are unaware of the prettiness of the place. It is located both on the Himachal Pradesh side as well as on the Punjab side. What you can visualise here is the background of snow-capped Dhaula Duan ranges, the wheat and mustard fields in front of it and a large number of bar-headed geese out there. Well, this is the common sight during every winter, and this makes it one of the best bird sanctuaries in India for bird watching. Apart from these bar-headed geese, you may also see waterfowls.
Situated 22km south of Bangalore, Bannerghatta National Park is also one of the bird sanctuaries in India. It is an excellent bird watching place and is the habitat to a few exotic birds of the South. It has more than 150 species of birds which makes it excellent for scrub birding. This is also the home of endemic yellow throated bulbul.
If you wish to have a walk through the best birding mile, then you must surely visit Lava. Lava is located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya in the district of Darjeeling. One just has to agree that the eastern Himalayas can offer you a large biodiversity range for you to explore. The Lava Valley along with the nearby Neora Valley is a blissful treat for every bird lover, and one can spot the Satyr Tragon and the Rusty- Bellied Shortwing out there.
It is one of those bird sanctuaries in India where you can spot the rare species of the Great Hornbill. People from all over the world visit this place, just to have a glance of it. The snow-fed the river, Jia-Bhoroli accounts to a large number of water birds in that region. It is considered to be one of the best national parks in the Northeastern region.
Best Time: November to Apr
Unlike what the name suggests, this bird sanctuary in Kerala can never be in a silent state. The continuous chirpings of the birds create a racket always. This is one of the rarest forms of the rainforests, and one would be able to spot various colourful birds in this region. Some of the beautiful birds in this region are the Paradise Flycatcher, Greater Racket-tailed drongo, Whistling thrushes, Laughing thrushes, Nilgiri wood pigeon and many others. A few years back, the Long Legged Buzzard, a new species of raptor was found in this region. These are just a few birds watching destinations in India.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary lies on the Mumbai-Pune highway. It is small in size and covers an area of 4.8 square km. The sanctuary houses as many as 150 species of resident birds and 37 types of avian migrants. There are small cages for the birds where the wounded ones can get healed and also for the people to be able to come for bird watching. It is a beautiful place with greenery all around and lies away from the noise and pollution of the city.
Also known locally as the Lala Prajan Sanctuary, its primary aim is to conserve the Great Indian Bustard. Among many other different varieties of wildlife that can be found within this bird sanctuary in India, there are three different kinds of Bustards themselves in the sanctuary. The sanctuary covers an area of just over 2 sq. km, but still houses some of the excellent species including harriers, common cranes, black partridges, sand grouses, Black and Grey Francolin, Spotted and Indian Sandgrouse.
Renowned for being one of the most significant pelican habitats that can be found in entire south-eastern Asia, the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary in the Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh in India is every bird watcher's dream come true. This mesmerising sanctuary is located just near the village of Nelapattu and is spread over a total area of about 459 hectares. The sanctuary is also a crucial breeding site for the spot-billed pelicans and is also home to significant plant communities like the Barringtonia swamp forests and the southern dry evergreen scrub.
Named after the 'BirdMan of India', Dr Salim Ali, a famous ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is one of the major attractions in Munnar. Finding itself at the foothills of the Western Ghats, it occupies an area of 25 km sq. Also known as Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, the place is even called as the richest bird habitat of Peninsular India. Bird watching is addictive. Once you encounter this beauty there is no turning back. You would wish to watch more and more. Here you can find Crimson-Throated Barbet, Sunbird, Bee-eater, Night Heron, Black-winged Kite, etc.
Known For : Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Bhoothathankettu Dam
Located near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam on the northern bank of the Periyar River, this bird sanctuary in India is also called Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and is famous for its rich and varied birdlife. This Sanctuary came to light in the year 1983 on the basis of recommendations made by famous ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. Spread over 25 sq. km, it shelters over 500 species of birds and rare birds such as Wayanad laughingthrush, rufous babbler, and white-bellied blue flycatcher.
Best Time: Throughout the year
The Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary sprawling over 2.74 hectares is situated in the heart of the lively city of Kochi. Comprising of 18-acres of Mangroves which are filled with a densely populated species of trees and plants, the sanctuary remains at a cool temperature. One of the major attractions is the beautiful watch tower which overlooks the sanctuary thereby giving a superb view to the tourists. The Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department also conducts a free nature camp at the sanctuary which is attended by tourists from different parts of the world.
Counted amongst the most famous bird sanctuaries, the Karikili Bird Sanctuary is situated in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. Consisting of two irrigation tanks which are fed by the rain, the sanctuary is spread over an area of 61.21 hectares and is just 10 km from the well-known Vedanthagal Bird Sanctuary. It is a very peaceful and beautiful place to visit and is a house to many migratory birds which arrive here between September and October. Amidst the natural beauty, the sanctuary also serves as an amazing picnic spot giving the tourists a chance to enjoy in the middle of the chirping birds. Apart from the birds, the sanctuary also has ducks and waders to look at.
Ornithologists, rejoice! The most appropriate place for a bird lover in Shivpuri is the Karera Bird Sanctuary, situated about 55 km from the city of Shivpuri. This bird sanctuary in India hosts a lot of species of birds every year, both migrating birds and the ones who have Shivpuri as their natural habitat. The Karera Bird Sanctuary is host to the spectacular Indian bustard. The sanctuary also boasts of birds like spoonbill, heron, Indian robin, teal, pintail, egret and black-bellied river tern and is believed to host a massive 245 species of birds out here.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, also known as Shahid Chandra Shekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh is a popular tourist hotspot. Located in Unnao the bird sanctuary is engulfed by dense forests and is home to over 250 species of aviary creatures, which include domestic Indian birds as well as the birds that migrate to the sanctuary in the winter months like the Peafowl, Sarus Crane, King Crow, Indian Roller among others. It’s the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. T
This 1 kilometer square area is visited annually by migratory birds. Flamingos, Grebes, Pelicans, Ducks and geese, Avocets, Coots, Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, Bittern, Storks, Ibis, Spoonbill, Cranes, Whistling Teals, Gulls, Terns, Jacanas, Ruff, Red shanks, Indian roller and many other varieties of winged, fluffy creatures pay a visit during the winters.
Harike Wetland & Bird Sanctuary is the largest wetland in North India. This man-made wetland spreads into Tarn Taran Sahib, Ferozepur and Kapurthala in Punjab, making it a famous destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. The Wildlife Department has constructed earthen mounds with trees in order to increase nesting sites for birds. 45,000 ducks have been recorded to have migrated here during the peak season. Winter season is a treat for bird watcher as 200 species of birds including the cotton pygmy, goose, tufted duck, yellow-crowned woodpecker and yellow-eyed pigeon visit this bird sanctuary in India.
Located a about 8 km off Navadwipa, this bird sanctuary is yet another offering to the thousands of tourists who make their way to this land of Krishna every year. Road connection from Navadwipa is convenient to make a day trip to the sanctuary. With it's 3 km long oxbow lake, the sanctuary has hundreds of species of birds and is known to have the clearest waters in all of the wetlands. The place is sure a photographers paradise.
Spread over a cluster of islands, surrounded by beautiful hillocks lies a bird watchers' planet, the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary. Located in Kozhikode, the sanctuary greets its visitors with freshwaters of Kadalundi River. This virgin land is home to 60 migratory and more than hundred native birds. Wildlife enthusiasts and bird lovers visit the place to capture even the minutest movements of the birds in their cameras. The sanctuary finds itself 200 m above the sea level.
A paradise for bird watchers, this bird sanctuary in India is spread across an area of nearly 0.75 sq km. The sanctuary is located in the town of Sorab in the proximity of Shimoga on the banks of Gudvi Lake. It serves as a popular destination in the region and inhabits various species of migratory birds like white ibis, little cormorant, Indian shag, pariah kite, little grebe, jungle fowl etc. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from July to October.
Water Bird Sanctuary is a bird watcher's paradise with dense natural vegetation and several water bodies that attract native and migratory bird species. The sanctuary is separated from the mainland by the Pamban Channel and offers shelter for the avian species. Research has revealed that several species migrate to the sanctuary for breeding while the native species thrive in the sheltered environment.
Though referred to as a bird sanctuary, the Pansad Bird Sanctuary also houses many amphibians, insects and mammals. This one isn't flocked with people and hence is a quiet and calm place to visit. The lush greenery and diverse fauna rejuvenates one's mind. A walk through the park, inhaling the fragrance of the clean and rich foliage and hearing the sounds of nature make sure that the experience is one of a kind.
Mandagadde bird sanctuary in India is a small picturesque island located in the River Tunga nearly 32 km from Shimoga town on the way to Thirthahalli. The perfect time to explore the island, which is a part of Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, is from July to October during which the island is visited by plethora of migratory birds such as darter, egret, snake-bird, cormorant etc.
Built to save the ecosystem for several bird species, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary expands over an area of 3.5 square kilometres near Okhla bridge that runs across the majestic River Yamuna. The sanctuary was established in 1990 and is home to over 400 species of native birds and about 1,00,000 migratory birds, making it a famous attraction for bird watching._
Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary is another place in Kerala that houses several rare species of birds. This place is located about 7 km off Thirunelli Temple in the north-east.
These are just a few bird sanctuaries in India. When the bug of bird watching bites you, you are sure to travel all across the country to see the other incredible places also. All you need is a handy bird guide book, a camera and binoculars and you are ready to go!
This post was published by Manikuntala Das