21 Best Places For Bird-Watching In India
India is home to enviably diverse wildlife varieties. The diversity of eco-systems, biomes and other geographical and environmental features have led India to have one of the most popular residences of various animals, reptiles and of course birds! Though India has hundreds of native bird species, the country becomes a popular shelter for thousands of migratory birds flown from not just the neighbouring countries but also from as distant places as Europe and Africa.
Naturally, the country is a paradise for all the enthusiastic bird-watchers seeking wonderful places to get a little closer to these stunning creatures. Check out the list containing the places which offer the best bird-watching experiences in India.
1. Pangot, Uttaranchal
Nainital is the beautiful town in the district of the same name located on the foothills of the Kumayun Himalayas. The valley at which the town is situated houses a pear-shaped lake, immense in size. The stunning Nainital Lake is surrounded by the mighty mountains and dense forests, putting up more than 200 species and an amazing range of floras. The altitude (around 1938 mts) of the lake and the comfortable atmosphere make it the most popular destinations for both Indian and the migratory birds.
The most common birds at Pangot are Long-Tailed and Short-billed Minivet, Rufous Sibia, Little Pied Flycatcher, Small Niltava, White=browed Shrike-babler, White-tailed Nuthatch, Green-tailed and Black-throated Sunbirds, Himalayan Barbet, Indian Blue and Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Woodpeckers, Blue Magpies etc.
2. Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur
Conferred the world heritage site, Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur
is one of the most renowned bird-watching paradises in India. The sanctuary which is famously known as the Bharatpur Sanctuary
is one of the proud hosts with the largest amount of birds (more than 300 species) that too in a very small confined area of 29 square kilometers. The wet meadow and the dense forests around the park draw a great range of birds.
Bharatpur Sanctuary plays hosts to water hens, blue-billed Robin, herons, Indian Courser, Imperial, Black Bittern, Indian and Grey Nightjars, Openbill Storks, Lapwings, Egrets, Sarus Cranes, Spoonbills and many many more.
3. Jim Corbett National Park
One of the most renowned National Parks in India, Jim Corbett National Park
is another popular site a large number of birds makes home at. This oldest park in India hosts at least 580 species of birds in its protected area. The thick and moist deciduous forest owing to the sub-Himalayan belt ecological and geographical features of Jim Corbett Park plays an affective part attracting such a huge number of birds and several other animals and reptiles.
The most common birds at Jim Corbett Park are Drongo Cuckoo, Dollarbird, White-caped Bunting, Spot-winged Startling, Long-tailed Broadbill, Black Stork, Black-necked Stork, Minivet, Osy Minivet, Lesser Coucal, Great Hornbill, Rufous-billed Eagle, Warbler etc.
4. Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Tal Chaapar was once a hunting site for the Maharaja of Bikaner that was made into a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary. Tal Chhapar has a long history of preserving animal lives since 1920 and now is a famous conservation site in India mostly famed for its Blackbuck crowd. The total population of the species is nearly 2000 now. The park is located on the fringes of the Thar and the location does not provide vegetation in abundance, but the noble intentions of the administrators of the park made it to a glorious sanctuary.
The birds which are commonly seen at Tal Chhapar are Avifauna, eastern imperial eagle, sparrow, blue jays, ring doves, brown doves, Skylarks, tawny eagle, demoiselle cranes, short-toed eagle, black ibis, crested lark etc.
5. Mangalajodi, Chilika Lake, Odisha
The beautiful Chilika Lake
not only draws the human attention, it attracts thousands of migratory birds making the lake look even more gorgeous. The quaint Mangalajodi village is known as one of the most active wildlife conservation centre. The fertile wet meadow and the scattered grassland (khagra reed) make Mangalajodi a perfect destination for the birds. This brackish lagoon of 1100 square kilometre area houses almost 160 bird species.
The most common birds at Chilika are the endangered black-tailed Godwits, large egret, little cormorant, Indian pond Heron, purple moorhen, brahminy shelduck, marsh sandpiper, bronze-winged Jacana etc.
6. Bannerghatta National Park, Karnataka
At a mere 25 kilometers away from Bangalore there lies a cautiously preserved wildlife sanctuary covering a whopping 25,000 acres area. Mostly a lion and tiger rehabilitation centre which was set up for animals which were rescued from circus companies, Bannerghatta National Park also is a paradise for the bird-watchers. The park is home to almost 200 bird species.
The park remains lively with the chirping and fluttering birds like the honey buzzard, Indian great horned owl, green barbet, purple sunbird, tickell’s blue, Indian kingfisher, fantail flycatcher, spotted\owlet and many more.
7. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka
Declared a bird sanctuary in 1940 on the suggestion of renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, Ranganathittu Park is truly a heaven for both the birds and the bird-watchers. The sanctuary is located on the bank of Cauvery near Srirangapatna, the historic town. The soothing climate and the broad leaf forest around the sanctuary make it an ideal home for the birds. The sanctuary covers an area of 40 acres including six small isles on the river.
The most popularly seen birds at Ranganathittu among the recorded 30 species are common spoonbill, painted stork, oriental darter, heron, egret, stork-billed kingfisher, ibis, Indian shag, the great stone plover, river tern and a large number of pelicans making Ranganathittu their permanent home. The best time for bird-watching is from November to June.
8. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
This saline backwater lagoon is located at the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coast and covers an area of 321 square kilometres. The wetland eco-system of the huge sanctuary plays host to around 100 species of birds and several species of other animals. During the migratory season, the park experiences the presence of around 50,000 foreign birds which makes it one of the hottest bird-watching sites in India.
Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary has a large number of herons, common kingfishers, spoonbills, pelicans, flamingos, painted storks and ducks. From November to February is the best season for bird-watching.
9. Neora Valley National Park, West Bengal
Another bird-watchers’ paradise, Neora Valley National Park is a semi evergreen forest located at an altitude between 1600 mts and 2700 mts and is home to a huge number of the most sought after domestic and international birds. Every year in the months of December and January thousands of migratory birds take a temporary shelter at the park and their presence makes the beautiful valley even more glorious.
Neora Valley National Park houses several rare birds like Satyr Tragopan, Bay Woodpecker, Rufous-throated Patridge, Darjeeling woodpecker, lesser cuckoo, brown wood owl, white-tailed robin, warbler, white-gorgeted flycatcher, striated bulbul, fire-tailed sunbird and many more.
10. Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Little Rann of Kutch
probably offers the most amazing and visually enchanting bird-watching experience in the country. Mostly famous as the largest congregational site for the lesser flamingos in India, this endless expanse of flat land including the low-lying sea bed is a gem for the birders. The algae-rich azure water plays a critical role to attract such a huge number of birds.
LRK not only hosts the largest number of lesser flamingos, but also houses a good number of common and demoiselle cranes, houbara bustard, reef egrets, falcons and several desert birds. The most suitable time for a bird safari at LRK is from November to March.
11. Nagarhole National Park. Karnataka
Karnataka is truly blessed with some of the most stunning natural as well as wildlife verities. For the bird-watchers, the state has many jewels to offer. Nagarhole National Park which is also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is located between Kodagu and Mysore district and provides an amazingly diverse assemblage of over 270 species of birds. Apart from the birds, this huge area of 643 square kilometres also houses Indian bison, tigers and other reptiles.
Nagarhole is a proud host of hundreds of birds including some critically endangered white-backed vultures, greater spotted eagle, Nilgiri wood-pigeon, greater grey-headed fish eagle, Malabar grey hornbill etc. From November to February is the ideal time for bird-watching.
12. Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park
is another gift from Karnataka for the wildlife-lovers. Mostly known for a tiger reservation with a large tiger population, this national park is also a reputed shelter for hundreds of beautiful birds. The dense forest, the nearby Kabini River and a humid weather keep the birds coming back at the park. According to the latest census, Bandipur National Park plays host to more than 180 species of birds.
The most common bird at Bandipur is peafowl. The other commonly seen birds here are crows, grey jungle fowl, drongos, red-headed vultures, crested serpent eagle, Indian rollers, hoopoes and several other.
13. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is another bird-watchers’ paradise is the only bird sanctuary in Goa. Located at a pristine place among the beautiful Mandovi River, the Chorao Island and a lovely mangrove swamp, Salim Ali Sanctuary is a favourite abode of hundreds of birds. This small yet stunning park covering just 1.8 square kilometres of area boasts one of the largest numbers of migratory birds during the winter season.
The most common birds at this park are western reef heron, red knot, striated heron, little bittern etc.
14. Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
Sighted as ‘the richest bird habitat on peninsular India’ by the legendary ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is a rich hub of numerable birds. The sanctuary is located between the branches of the stunning Periyar River; the sanctuary has a mesmerizing ambience attracting both the birds and nature-loving humans.
Some of the most sought after birds at Thattekkad are Indian cuckoo, drongo cuckoos, oriental darter, orange-headed thrush, jerdon’s nightjar, cormorants, Collared Scops owl, yellow-browed bulbuls, needletails etc.
15. Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Another beautiful bird-watching sight in Karnataka, Bahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is in fact one of the most important biding park situated at a picturesque location in Coorg
(Kodagu) district, almost at the border area of Kodagu and Wayanad (Kerala). As many as eight rivers and a few small streams are flowing through the covered area of about 181 kilometres. The dense evergreen forest and these water bodies lure the birds to stay there make it a permanent or a temporary home.
The threatened Oriental white-backed vulture, broad-tailed grass warbler, blue-winged parakeet and sunbirds are the famous residents of Brahmagiri Sanctuary.
16. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
Boasting over 188 species of birds, Aralam Sanctuary is another paradise for the bird-watchers in Kerala. The park which has a covering area of less than eight kilometres is home to several birds endemic to the Western Ghats and a few endangered species. Watching for birds on the lap of an enchanting environment of Kunnur would be a fascinating experience.
The most frequent species at Aralam are Malaba grey hornbill, bulbul, Rufous Babbler, Black –and-Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon etc.
17. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana
A mere 46 kilometres away from the hustle-bustle of Delhi, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries offering an immensely pleasurable bird-watching experience. The wet marsh-land which was converted into a scenic water body attracts hundreds of birds from all over the world. Even the land is a popular home to several domestic birds as well.
Discovered by Dr. Slim Ali himself, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary houses more than 100 species of birds. Most popular ones among them are teals, common kingfisher, sandpiper, demoiselle cranes, lapwing, heron etc.
18. Okhla Bird Sanctuary, UP
Okhla Bird Park is an amazing place to observe one of the best bird-watching experiences. The park was set up in the late ’50 and since then it has been providing shelter to more than 320 species of birds, both domestic and migratory. The river bank of Yamuna plays one of the most favourite places in India for the birds to get attracted especially for the comforting climate and the abundance of food.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a heaven of birds like Indian pond heron, oriental skylark, rose-ringed parakeet, northern shoveler, white-throated kingfisher, lesser whistling duck, black-winged stilt, redwattled lapwing etc.
19. Pong Wetland, Himachal Pradesh
The Himalayan foothills are the proud abode of uncountable diversities of floras and faunas. Like many other animals, birds get immensely attracted to these places owing to the fantastic climate and abundant source of livelihood. Pong Wetland is a hidden treasure of the beautiful Kangra Valley offering an amazing bird-watching experience to the enthusiastic beholders. Pong is one of the largest lakes in north India attracting around 240 species of migratory and another hundreds species of domestic birds. The beautiful landscape and the copiousness of chirping birds would make your experience even more luxurious.
Some popular birds of Pong are Eurasian Wigeon, Painted Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Norther Shoveller, common pochard, duck spec, jack snipe, Indian Pitta, Lesser Coucal, Crane, Bee-eater, Woodpecker etc.
20. Vedanthangal Water Birds Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu is a majestic host of hundreds of bird species. This sanctuary is one of the most stunning bird-watching sights in India which has been protected by the local residents for as long as 250 years. The amazingly beautiful environment amidst lush greenery and wet lands, Vedanthangal offers truly one-of-a-kind experience for the bird-watchers.
Cormorants, herons, open billed stork, black-winged Stilts, Darters and pelicans are the most frequently seen birds here at Vedanthangal.
21. Nal Sarovar, Gujarat
Another fascinating bird-watching could be attained at the ever beautiful Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat. Home to over 250 species of birds, this magnificent wetland draws attention of the birds from all over the world. The stunning lake gets vibrantly hued with the presence of so many colourful birds.
This 116 square kilometres wide lake has the imposing presence of flamingos, pelicans, ducks, herons, egrets, hornbills and several other domestic and migratory birds.