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Bird watching hotspots in India

Bird watching - North India

Pangot India Birding TourPangot & Sattal

Nainital is the headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 1,938 metres (6,358 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains. Pangot and Sattal are a short drive from Nainital. The area and the surrounding hills are home to 200 plus species and offer fantastic views of the western himalayan range. Mixed forests dominated by oak, pine and rhododendron cover most of the area and surrounding hills.

Some of the birds that are found here include Rufous Sibia, White-browed Shrike-babbler, Spot-winged & Black-throated Tits, White-tailed Nuthatch, Slaty-backed & Little Pied Flycatcher, Long-tailed & Short-billed Minivet, Rufous-bellied & Small Niltava, Green-tailed & Black-throated Sunbirds, Griffons & Lammergiers, Streaked & Striated laughing thrushes, Grey-hooded & Golden-spectacled Warbler, Indian Blue & Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Slaty-backed & Little Forktail, Eurasian & Black-headed Jays, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Hill Partridge, Red-billed Blue Magpies, Slaty-headed Parakeets, Himalayan or Great Barbet, Spot-winged Starlings, Hill Prinia, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Himalayan, Black & Ashy Bulbuls, Tickell's Thrush, Greater & Lesser Yellow-nape Woodpeckers, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, White-throated & Chestnut-crowned Laughing thrushes, Green-backed & Black-lored Tits.

Corbett India Birding TourCorbett National Park

Corbett National Park is named after the hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment and is the oldest national park in India. Situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand the park acts as a protected area for the critically endangered Bengal tiger of India. The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics. Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees, and these trees cover almost 73 per cent of the park. The remaining area consists of grasslands. It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species. The sanctuary was the first to come under Project Tiger initiative.

Some of the interesting birds found here are Spot-winged Starling, Great Slaty Woodpeckers, Drongo Cuckoo, Long-tailed Broadbill, Dollarbird, Lesser Coucal, Brown Crake, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Rosy Minivet. Black-chinned Yuhina, White-capped Bunting, Upland Pipit, Great Hornbill, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Lesser Fish Eagle, Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Black Stork and Black-necked Stork

Keoladeo India Birding TourKeoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur

Keoladeo is a Ramsar and world heritage site. Covering an area of 29 square kilometres this wetland habitat is home to more than 300 species of birds. Large concentrations of waders use this sanctuary as an overwintering location. Keoladeo Ghana is probably the most famous birding location in India. However the number of avian visitors has been on the decline due to low water levels in recent times.

Some of the interesting birds found here are Sociable Lapwing, Indian Courser, Imperial, White-tailed, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Darters, Black-necked, Painted and Asian Openbill Storks, Common, Sarus and Demoiselle Cranes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Bittern, Greater Painted Snipe, Large-tailed, Indian and Grey Nightjars, Dusky Eagle Owls, Marshall's Iora and Siberian Ruby-throat


Bird watching - South India

Bannerghatta India Birding TourBannerghatta National Park

Bannerghatta National Park is situated 22 km south of Bangalore, Karnataka, India. This national park is an excellent bird watching location and is home to one of the richest natural, zoological reserves.This 104 national park consists mostly of dense forest and scrub land, and is home to wild animals such as gaur, leopard, wild boar as well as being an important corridor for elephants migrating between the eastern and western ghats. With over 150 species of birds this park is excellent for scrub birding. The park is also home to the endemic yellow-throated bulbul.

Ranganathittu India Birding TourRanganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It is occupies only 0.67 km². in area, and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River. Ranganathittu is located near the historic town of Srirangapatna and is very close to the city of Mysore.The islets came into being when a dam across the Kaveri River was built in the 1700s. The famous Indian ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed an important nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wodeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary in 1940.

The islands host numerous mammals and migratory birds. Some of them are bonnet macaque, colonies of flying fox and common small mammals like Indian gray mongoose, the monitor lizard and civet. The marsh crocodile also called the mugger crocodile is a common inhabitant of the riverine reed beds. Migratory water birds include Painted Storks, Asian Open bill Storks, Eurasian Spoonbills, Woolly-necked Storks, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher and other birds like egrets, cormorants, oriental darter, and herons. The Great Stone Plover, and River Tern also nest here.

Nagarhole India Birding TourNagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park also known as "Rajiv Gandhi National Park", is located 94 kilometers from Mysore in Karnataka in South India. It is spread between Kodagu district and Mysore district. Located to the north-west of Bandipur National Park, the Kabini reservoir separates the two. The park has rich forest cover, small streams, valleys, and waterfalls. The park has a healthy tiger-predator ratio, and tiger, Indian bison, and elephant are much more populous here than in Bandipur. The park stretches over 643 square kilometres. Together with the adjoining Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totalling 2,183 sq km.

Recognised as an Important Bird Area the park has over 270 species of birds including the 'Critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture, 'Vulnerable' lesser adjutant, greater spotted eagle and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon. 'Near threatened' species like darters, oriental white ibis, greater grey headed fish eagle and red headed vulture too can be found here. Endemics include the blue winged parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill and the white bellied treepie. Seven of the 15 Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and 21 of the 59 Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) species have been noted from here. Some of the birds that can be sighted here include the white cheeked barbet, Indian scimitar babbler and Malabar whistling thrush. Even birds commonly seen in drier regions like painted bush quail, sirkeer malkoha, ashy prinia, Indian robin, Indian peafowl and yellow-footed green pigeon can be found here.

Brahmagiri India Birding Tour Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

The Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary is an important bird area located in the Kodagu (Coorg) district and is part of the Western Ghats. It is situated on the border between Wyanad District of Kerala state on the south and Kodagu District in Karnataka on the north side. It is a short drive from the Nagarhole National Park. The sanctuary derives its name from the highest point, the Brahmagiri peak, which is 1607m in height. It covers an area of about 181km and eight rivers and streams originate in this sanctuary, and flow into the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea. The vegetation types include evergreen and semi-evergreen forests mainly in the low-lying areas and shola grasslands in the higher elevations.

Twelve of the 16 bird species endemic to the Western Ghats live in this sanctuary including species like the blue-winged parakeet and small sunbird.The 'Critically endangered' bird species like the Oriental white-backed vulture and globally 'Vulnerable' species like the white-bellied shortwing and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon are recorded from this sanctuary. Among the 'Near threatened' species the red-headed vulture and broad-tailed grass warbler are recorded from here. This site lies in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and 12 of the 15 species listed under this biome are found here. These include Jerdon's nightjar, Ceylon frogmouth and Malabar trogon.

Bandipur India Birding TourBandipur National Park

Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, Bandipur National Park is known for its tiger population. The sanctuary offers this endangered animal the best natural habitat to thrive. In 1973, it was declared a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger Program, and in 1975, it was upgraded to the status of National Park. The Moyar River forms the natural boundary between Bandipur National Park and Madhumalai Widlife Sanctuary, while Kabini River separates it from Nagarhole.

The vegetation here is of mixed type. The eastern parts are covered with scrub, while the central area is covered with dry deciduous forests, and moist mixed deciduous forests cover the western area of the sanctuary. The park shelters some of the most rare and endangered species of Indian Wildlife. It's reported that there is a high population of elephants and tigers in the sanctuary. According to 1997 census, around seventy tigers and over three thousand Asian elephants have made this sylvan park their abode. Recognised as an Important Bird Area, the park houses more than 180 species of birds including around eight restricted species.

Bandipur National Park is one of the protected areas within Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats. The park is surrounded by Mudumalai National Park, Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Nagarhole National Park. A safari into this park offers a very good chance to see the tiger in the wild.

Aralam India Birdwatching Tour Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Aralam wildlife sanctuary is the northernmost protected area of Kerala state, situated in the southeast part of Kannur District. Altitude ranges from 60 m to 1489 m. above MSL over a horizontal profile less than 8 km, suggesting steep slopes. A detailed bird survey has shown a total of 188 species of birds in the sanctuary. Of these 12 species are endemic to Western Ghats and 8 species are globally threatened birds

Twelve of the 16 bird species endemic to the Western Ghats live in this sanctuary including species like the Blue-winged Parakeet, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar Whistling Thrush, White-bellied Shortwing, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Grey-headed Bulbul, Rufous Babbler, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher and the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon.

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