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Top 10 bird sanctuaries
Bharatpur Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

The famous Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park is situated in Rajasthan. Bharatpur bird sanctuary is one of the best bird sanctuaries in India and one of the finest bird parks in the world. Apart from the Great Thar Desert, Big forts and beautiful lakes, Birds of Bharatpur sanctuary are one of the major tourist attractions in Rajasthan. Thousands of rare and highly endangered birds come here during the winter season. The Bharatpur bird sanctuary is paradise for the bird lover’s to watch some of the most exotic birds in the world. This magnificent bird haven actually came into being ironically, as a duck shooting preserve for Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur. He transformed the shallow depression formed by the confluence of River Gambhir and River Banganga into a reservoir by damming the rainwater in monsoons. Flooding of water created shallow wetland ecosystem causing it to be a perfect habitat for an astounding variety of birds. The park that was a hunting preserve for the Maharaja and the British continued to be so till 1964, after which the hunting was banned. In 1985 UNESCO listed it as World Heritage site and, earlier in 1982 it was declared as National Park. Today the park is recognised as one of the most important breeding and feeding grounds for the birds in the world. Some species are still endangered – in fact, the Siberian Crane has not been seen for many years.

The Park opens from sunrise to sunset around the year. The ticket is Rs 200 per foreign visitor and Rs 25 for Indian visitor. Vehicles are permitted upto Shanti Kutir about 1.7 kilometres inside at Rs 50 per vehicle. From there on you can choose to walk, bicycle, or go by cycle rickshaw or tonga as also by boat when the water level is high. The cycle rickshaw wallahs displaying yellow plates authorised to double up as guides also carry binoculars. During the monsoons (July to September), the wetlands are home to huge colonies of birds that breed and feed here. Some of the species that can be seen at the wetlands are Storks, Moorhens, Herons, Flamingos and Pelicans, Geese and Ducks, Egrets and Cormorants. Other wildlife includes Sambhar, Nilgai, Cheetal and Black Buck. The habitat also includes nocturnal Leopard, Jungle Cat, Hyena and Fox. Amongst the rarity one can even sight a python in the Park.

How to reach

Air: The nearest airport is Agra (56 kms)

Train: Bharatpur is on the Delhi to Mumbai broad gauge line. It is connected to Sawai Madhopur,Kota and Agra.

Road: A network of Bus Service links Bharatpur with several cities within and outside Rajasthan.
Keoladeo National Park (Ghana) remains closed in May and June for tourist visit.

Chilika Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Chilika lake bird sanctuary is very popular among tourists, located near Puri in Odisha. The Chilka Lake is the most beautiful brackish water lake in Asia and famous for a rich variety of birds. Chilka Lake serves as a bird sanctuary and is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in India. The pear-shaped Chilka Lake is one of the best bird watching spots in India. In winter Chilika flutters with thousands of indigenous and migratory birds of many varieties from far and near - even from the distant Siberia. The fabulous beauty of Chilika which has inspired poets to sing its glory and which can be best enjoyed from Balugaon, Barkul, Rambha and Satpada must be seen to be believed. One can also have a glimpse of the lake from the moving trains and vehicles on the road near these places. The atmosphere is just serene and undisturbed amidst the blue expanse of water on one side and an evergreen range of hills on the other. Dotted with a host of islands with romantic names, a cruise in Chilika will be a life-long memory.

Kalijai Island, Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, Birds Island, Nalabana (Island of Reeds), Parikud Island, etc. are some of the important and interesting spots inside the lake. The Island of Kalijai is famous as a center of religious worship due to the temple of Goddess Kalijai where a big fair is held on the occasion of Makara Sankranti that falls on 14th January every year. The Island of Nalabana, 8 km in circumference occupies a unique place in the vast expanse of Chilika Lake as it happens to be the central point for the migratory birds. One can view the Irrawaddy dolphins at Chilika mouth near Satpara.

Best time to visit is October to June. Stay arrangements can be done with the local hotels and in the OTDC Guest House, at Rambha, Barkul and Satpada on Chilika.

How to reach

Air: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport. Chilika is around 100 kms from Bhubaneswar.

Train: Bhubaneshwar is the main train junction from where one can get connecting trains to Puri and Satpada.
Road: Chilika can be accessed from Puri as well as Rambha, Barkul and Satpada which are all well-connected through road network and frequent bus services.

Sultanpur Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Sultanpur bird sanctuary is home for several colorful winged migratory species, located at Gurgaon district of Haryana. Its small area comprises shallow fresh water Sultanpur lake, where 100 of migratory bird species visit to feed every year. The Sultanpur National Park is also known for its rich variety of wild animals and flying predators along with beautiful birds. This bird sanctuary of Haryana is a find of the famous ornithologist Peter Jackson. It was opened in 1972 in a sprawling 44.5 hectare area. Approx 250 species of Birds are found at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. Some of them are resident, while others come from distant regions like Siberia, Europe and Afghanistan. There are four watch towers (machans) are made at different points to watch birds easily. Sultanpur Bird Sactuary has parking and other facilities like toilets and drinking water for visitors. It takes 1.5 hrs to take a full round of Sulanpur Bird Sanctuary on foot. Tourist can have a glance of Neelgai (Blue Bull) and Black Buck too.

n winter Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary provides a picturesque panorama of migratory birds such as Greater Flamingo, Ruff, Black winged Stilt, Common Teal, Common Greenshank, Northern Pintail, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Northern Shoveler, Rosy Pelican, Gadwall, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon, Black tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Bluethroat and Long billed Pipit. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary has birds in summer too ,About 11 species of migratory birds such as Asian Koel, Black crowned Night Heron, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Comb duck, Blue cheeked Bee Eater, Blue-tailed Bee-Eater and Cuckoos come here.

How to reach

Air: Delhi is the nearest airport. Sultanpur is just 20kms from Airport and 46 kilometres from New Delhi.

Train: Gurgaon has a railway station on Delhi-Jaipur railway line

Road: Sultanpur can be accessed by buses and taxis from Delhi and Gurgaon. Sultanpur is located at 40 kms distance from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi and 15 km from Gurgaon on the Gurgaon - Farukh Nagar Road.

Salim Ali Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

The Salim Ali bird sanctuary is home to many varieties of local and migratory birds, situated in Chorao Island along the river Mandovi in Goa. Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the best known bird sanctuaries in India. It is one of the smallest bird sanctuaries where flying Sparrows, Beautiful peafowl, Parrots, pelican, Indian giant squirral and other rare species of fauna can be spotted. Beyond the Beaches of Goa, Salim Alibird sanctuary is one of the major tourist attractions in Goa. This is Goa's only bird sanctuary, 1.8 Sq Km in area. A variety of local and migratory birds can be found on this island.

Open throughout the year, the sanctuary can be visited with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji. Apart from a rich variety of coastal birds, one may spot flying foxes, jackals and crocodiles. The area consists of mangrove vegetation. Mangrove ecosystems are among the most productive ones known to us. They provide refuge and breeding grounds for several varieties of fish and insects which fall at the base of the food-chain. The "Mangrove Scrub" type of vegetation that is found here occurs in small isolated areas along the banks of Mandovi and Mapusa rivers and also along the Cumbarjua canal. This Sanctuary is criss-crossed with a network of water channels. Hence, movement is restricted to the duration of high tide if one wants to go by boats. However for canoes, the creeks are accessible even during low tides. A watch-tower has been erected in the Sanctuary for better viewing of birds. Apart from the several resident birds, the Sanctuary also has some winter visitors like coots and pintails.

How to reach

Air: Dabolim is the nearest airport which is 4 km from the nearest city Vasco da Gama, 23 km from the South Goa district headquarters Margao and 30 km from the capital city Panaji (Panjim).

Train: Vasco-da-gama (30 Kms) and Madgaon (45 Kms) are the nearest railway stations to Panaji

Road: From Panaji , one needs to take a bus or a cab to the Ribandar ferry wharf and then take a ferry across the Mandovi river to the island of Chorao. The sanctuary is within walking distance from the ferry wharf at Chorao.

Kumarakom Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Kumarakom bird sanctuary also known as Vembanad bird sanctuary is situated at in Kerala, near to the famous Vembanad Lake. It offers a home to a large number of migratory birds like Flycatcher, Teal, Siberian Stork, Crane, Parrots and Wood Beetle. Riding a houseboat will be the best way for bird watching in Kerala. It is a favorite spot for migratory birds and paradise for the bird lovers. If you are a bird enthusiast, visit the sanctuary between June and August, the breeding season of resident wetland birds such as Indian Darter, Little cormorant, different species of egrets and herons, white ibis, several species of kingfishers, etc. Between the months of November and May, the bushes and woods of the sanctuary play host to some rare migratory birds. The Vembanad lake body attracts waterfowl like pin-tailed duck, garganey teal, spot-billed duck, birds of prey like osprey, marsh harrier, steppe eagle, etc.

Bird lovers can also take a boat trip to the nearby Kaipuzha Muttu, Pathiramanal, Narakathara, Thollayiram Kayal and Poothapandi Kayal to watch local birdlife and migrants which could easily be more than a hundred species. Waterscapes, the backwater resort of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) situated near the sanctuary, has independent cottages built on stilts. Other bird sanctuaries in Kerala are Mangalavanam and Thattekkad bird sanctuary, situated on the banks of the Periyar River and famous for some of the rarest species of birds and other unique fauna.

How to reach

Air: Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, about 94 km

Train: Nearest railway station is Kottayam, about 13 km

Nal Sarovar Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary comprises of a huge lake and ambient marshes. Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat, and one of the largest in India, spot birds like Flamingos, Pelicans, Spoonbills, Avocets, Coots, Pintails, small Cormorants, small Grebes and Shovellers. It is count as one of the busiest tourist attraction spot in India. Migrant birds visit Nal sarovar every year from November to February. During these four months water is plentiful and fish, insects and aquatic plants abound in the lake - an ideal environment for the birds. Nal sarovar at this time is a birdwatcher's delight.

When food and water are scarce in Nal sarovar, some birds go away for short periods to nearby areas and return to the lake after monsoon to a feast of fish and insects. These are the resident birds. The lake - Nalsarovar - and the wetlands around it were declared a bird sanctuary in 1969. Spread over 120 sq.kms, the lake and the extensive reed beds and marshes are an ideal habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The lake attracts a large variety of birds like plovers, sandpipers and stints. The Nal region is a low-lying area between the plains of the Central Gujarat and Eastern Saurashtra. Owing to its low lying topography, it is believed to represent a filled up sea link, that previously existed between the Little Rann in the north and the Gulf of Khambat in the south. Remnants of this sea are thought to be represented by the Nal sarovar. One of the famous sanctuaries in Gujarat is “Porbandar Bird Sanctuary”. The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is India’s first marine national park in the Indian Ocean at Gujarat.

How to reach

Air: The Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (64 kms).

Train: The Nearest Railway stations are Viramgam - 40 kms & Ahmedabad - 64 Kms

Road: The Nearest bus station are at Ahmedabad (64kms), Viramgam (40 kms) and Sanand (42 kms).

Vedanthangal Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

The Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is one of the oldest bird sanctuaries in India, located near Vedanthangal Karikili in the district of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. It has been fiercely protected by the local population for well over 250 years. The best time to visit this sanctuary is from November to March. During this time birds are mostly busy in building and maintaining their nests. The best time for bird watching is in the morning. Vedanthangal is a home for migratory birds such as pintail, garganey, grey wagtail, blue-winged teal, common sandpiper and many more of the like. Vedanthangal in Tamil means 'hamlet of the hunter'. The region attracts a variety of birds because it is dotted with small lakes that act as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. This was established in 1858.

Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is one of the smallest and oldest in the country with a unique history. The local people have been protecting the sanctuary for centuries now because they have realized that the bird droppings falling into the tank increases nitrogen content of the water and when used to irrigate crop increases the yield greatly and saves the cost of fertilizers. As far back as 1798, the village folk convinced the authorities to give protection to the birds of the 30 hactare area of the Vedanthangal tank. Around 30000 birds come here every season. Lake attracts multitudes of herons, egrets, storks, ibises and spoon bills. If the monsoon is heavy, these trees can be partially submerged. Despite its compact size, Vedanthangal is worth a visit, especially between October and January, for the experience of seeing nesting birds in the thousand within close range.

One of the first birds to arrive at Vedanthal are Openbilled storks and breed twice during the same season before leaving the sanctuary.Egrets,Spot billed pelican, Painted stork, Great cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Darter, Eurasian spoonbill, Asian openbill, Black-headed Ibis, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Great Egret.are seen in large numbers. Some of the other commonly seen waterfowl are the white ibis, night heron, darter, pond heron and ducks like Comb duck, pintails, common teals, dabchick, shoveller,black-winged stilt, little stilt, red shank, sand piper, ringed plover, curlew etc., and arboreal birds like parakeets, babblers, mynas, barbets, bee-eater, rollers, cuckoos onoles, drongos etc., and raptors such as blck winged kite, Brahminy kite, short-toed eagle, pariah kite etc., are seen in Vedanthangal . Mammals seen here are Jackal, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Black-naped Hare. The Karikili Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of around 9 km (kilometers) from the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. One sixth of landmass of Tamil Nadu is covered with forests, which is paradise for animal lover and bird watchers. Kunthakulam bird sanctuary and Pulicat lake bird sanctuary are also famous for bird watching situated at border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

How to reach

Air: Chennai is the nearest international airport.

Road: Chengelput 34 km, Mamallapuram 45 km, Chennai 82 km. towards the south west and is approached by NH 45

Kaundinya Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Kaundinya bird sanctuary is one of the best bird sanctuaries in India, situated near Chittor in Andhra Pradesh. The habitat is rugged with high hills and deep valleys and Kaigal and Kaundinya are two beautiful streams, which flow through the sanctuary. Kaundinya sanctuary offers the best of wildlife and bird watching in India. Kolleru lake bird sanctuary also offers variety of migratory birds to its largest fresh water Kolleru Lake. It is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian Elephants, which migrated after 200 years from neighbouring regions. These forests have small ponds, tanks and the Kaindinya and Kaigal tributaries of Palar River. The sanctuary is situated in region where the Deccan Plateau ends and slopes down into the plains of Tamil Nadu creating many valleys and ghats. The vulnerable Yellow-throated Bulbul is present in the sanctuary.

The assorted collection of birds from the Eastern Ghats dangles a carrot to the bird watchers and wildlife photographers. Starting from the Grey Pelicans, Rosy Pelicans, Painted Storks, Love Birds to Budgerigars and Cockatiels are all there to entice you. The best time to visit the Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is between October and April, as the climate is quite soothing. The winter months are also an ideal time to watch the lake and the pools of the sanctuary full of an assortment of vibrant migratory birds. Best options to stay are the forest guest house at Palamaneru, Madanapalli and Horsley Hills.

How to reach

Air: Nearest airports are Bangalore and Tirupathi.

Road:It is 50 Kms. by road from Chittoor and 120 Kms. from Bangalore.

Mayani Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

The Mayani bird sanctuary is globally reckoned for its gigantic range of species for migratory birds situated in Satara district of Maharashtra. Many migratory birds pass through the area, such as flamingos from Siberia come in large numbers. It is one of the most prominent and famous bird sanctuaries in India. Mayani bird sanctuary is located near Vaduj, in Maharashtra, India. It is a market place for nearby villages and a developed place with colleges and medical facilities. Being one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries of India, Mayani Bird Sanctuary is a winter habitat to a large number and variety of migratory birds, every year. Flamingos, brahminy ducks, coot, common spoonbills, painted storks, black ibis, etc, can be found here in large groups.

The nests of storks are also observed near the lake. Flamingos are regular winter visitors to the place. The flamingo species are observed feeding in shallow water. Mayani Bird Sanctuary is studied as a typical wetland ecosystem which is rich in flora and fauna. It is observed that, the hydrophytes’ species like otolia sps grows very well in shallow water. It is the main source of food for aquatic birds. The Mayani bird sanctuary is established on an old dam supposedly built by British. The dam is used for irrigation by canals in nearby villages. When the water is suffice and remains after supply for farming, it is useful for birds. There are watch towers and other facilities provided and maintained by forest department. There is park nearby with a play area and guest house. The water overflows and passes nearby Mayani village and forms shape of moon crescent, and hence known as Chand Nadi. There is temple of Shiva known as Sangameshwara located in the riverbed where another small flow of water joins Chandnadi.

How to reach

Air: Pune is the nearest airport.

Road: From Pune five hrs journy by road, From Karad 45 km. The Mayani Bird Sanctuary lies in the Satara district of Maharashtra state, thirteen miles south-east of Vaduj at the junction of the Tasganv-Mograla and Malharpeth-Pandharpur roads. The town is walled and entered by gates on the west and east. Mayani is well connected from Sangali, as well.

Ranganthittu Bird SanctuaryTop 10 bird sanctuaries

Ranganthittu bird sanctuary is situated near to the banks of the Cauvery River in Karnataka. Just outside Srirangapatna, the Cauvery River meanders around a string of tiny islets, which together form a splendid nesting site for birds. Experience a boat ride that takes you within touching distance of the birds, as marsh crocodiles bask in the sun. Delight in watching the winged visitors making happy forays into the water. You can also test your observation skills by trying to spot flying foxes hanging from the trees at dusk. The exotic migratory birds like light Ibis, Egret, Partridge, Heron, River Tern, Snake Bird, and Stone Plougher are the attraction for the tourist. This is an important tourist destination of Mysore and is located about 20 kilometers from the famous Brindavan garden lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state, only 0.67 km². in area, which is about 40 acres and comprises six islets on the banks of the river. This sanctuary attracts about 3 lakh visitors every year, which shows its notability as important bird sanctuary of India.

Roughly around 170 birds have been recorded here in great numbers over the years. Of these, birds like Painted Stork, Asian Open bill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, Oriental Darter, and herons breed here regularly. The Great Stone Plover, and River Tern also nest here. The park is home to a large flock of Streak-throated Swallows. During the months of January and February, more than 30 species of birds are found and the season of the sanctuary is from November to June. About 50 pelicans have made Ranganathittu as their permanent home. During winter months starting from mid-December, at certain seasons, as many as 40,000 birds congregate in this bird sanctuary and some birds come from Siberia, Latin America and parts of north India. Ranganathittu is a popular nesting site for the birds and about 8,000 nestlings were sighted recently.

How to reach

Air: Bangalore is the nearest airport

Road: Ranganthittu is located three kilometers away from the historic town of Srirangapatna and 16 kilometres north of Mysore.

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