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Best Birding Destinations of India

Top 15 Birding destinations in India

India’s diverse landscapes are a haven for birdlife from vibrant feathers and fluttering wings. Consisting of soaring Himalayan eagles to colorful flocks in coastal wetlands, this list uncovers the top 15 birding destinations, a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts!

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary which is also known as Keoladeo National Park, is one of the most famous bird sanctuaries in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. More than 370 species of birds, both resident and migratory, inhabit this park. Among these migratory birds are Great White Pelicans, Bar-headed Goose, Siberian cranes etc., while painted storks black- necked stork and sarus crane can be seen among others as resident species.

The best time for visiting Bharatpur is from October to March (winter season) because during this period weather remains pleasant and most of the migratory birds are here. The park can be explored by foot or cycle or rickshaw.

Sattal, Uttarakhand

Birding in Sattal Uttarakhand

Sattal is a paradise for birdwatchers situated in the lower Himalayas of Uttarakhand state. Sattal has seven freshwater lakes interlinked with each other forming a beautiful landscape which attracts many resident as well as migratory birds due to its varied topography and temperate climate.

Some exotic bird species like Himalayan Griffon vulture, Common Hawk-cuckoo, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Kalij pheasant, Brown wood owl black, francolin Rufous-chinned laughingthrush etc., have been recorded here. 

Winter months (December-January) witness many migratory birds coming down from upper Himalayas for feeding. Spring (April-May) displays different breeding plumage cycles among various avian fauna.

Little Rann of Kutch

flamingo in Little Rann of Kutch

Little Rann of Kutch is one of the largest wildlife sanctuary in India located at Gujarat state which covers vast area of about 5000 sq.km approximately. It is famous for its large number of birds especially during winter season when it becomes home to many migratory and rare species. 

These include lesser flamingo, demoiselle crane, common crane, Indian Sandgrouse, MacQueen’s Bustard etc. The best time to visit is between November and February when monsoon fills up the area with water making it a suitable resting point for birds. The mudflats are covered with shrimp attracting huge flock of flamingos during their migration period.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Thattekad Birds in India

If you want an adventurous isolation in scenic surrounding while birdwatching, then Thattekad Bird sanctuary is the right choice! It is located amidst picturesque western ghats, having rich evergreen forests punctuated by marshes and small streams thus creating varied habitats that attract wide range of avifauna.

The peak season runs from October to March when there are more numbers of migrant species because weather will be cooler and dry. Early mornings are usually best time for spotting birds as they tend to be most active during this time.

More than 500 species of residential & migratory birds have been recorded here. Some rare ones like- Indian Pitta, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, black baza drone cuckoo etc., can also be seen. Other beautiful feathered creatures such as Indian paradise flycatcher, Chestnut-headed bee eater also reside here.

Nameri National Park, Assam

Nameri National Park is a natural habitat surrounded by dense forests, grasslands, and rivers that provide home to over 380 avian species. To enhance your chances for birdwatching choose the cool winter months from November through March when most birds will be nesting or breeding there. 

In Nameri NP you can find some endangered species such as White-winged wood duck and various hornbill species like Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous-necked Hornbill etc. Apart from them one can also spot kingfishers, babblers or Ibisbill – a bird with uniquely curved beak that is found only in some parts of Asia including northeastern India.

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa

The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Goa is named after India’s famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali and it is a paradise for bird lovers. It is the only bird sanctuary Goa has which protects a small but significant area of mangrove forests that lie in an estuarine setting, providing nesting and feeding grounds for birds.

Over 470 species of birds can be found here. Besides the common residents such as White egrets, drongos, woodpeckers blue-tailed bee-eaters black kites and jungle mynas; during winters one can spot migratory visitors like coots pintail ducks or even rarities like little bitterns or red knots.

Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh

Namdapha National Park situated in Arunachal Pradesh is a biodiversity hotspot with the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests of Eastern Himalayas. It has over 400 species of birds making it an avian heaven.

Endangered species include rare White-winged Wood Duck, while hornbills like Wreathed Hornbill and Rufous-necked Hornbill may also be seen. Look out for large raptors such as Forest Eagle Owl with piercing yellow eyes or Mountain Hawk-Eagle soaring high above you.

Colorful characters like Satyr Tragopan and Kalij pheasant with vibrant plumage can also be spotted here. Winter visitors could include Amur Falcon known for its amazing long-distance migrations.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a 14-hectare large, beautiful park on the banks of Vembanad Lake in Kerala. This is one of the best places to see birds as they come from all over during different seasons.

Siberian crane and other wintering birds like gull’s teal migrate from their homes in Siberia and Himalayas during the November to February peak season for such birds. 

Some local favorites at Kumarakon are waterfowls, herons, egrets, owls koels and the unmistakable water hen which can be seen during breeding season (June-August).

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand

Walk through dense forests on well-maintained trails or visit designated birding spots for focused search at Binsar wildlife sanctuary. It is a birder’s paradise with its rich avifauna set against stunning Himalayan backdrop.

During winter (February – April), one can see migratory birds like flycatchers and bulbuls joining the avian symphony. It is also the breeding season for resident species such as Himalayan bulbuls, thrushes, nuthatches etc.

Peak season for migratory birds is October-November so keep an eye out for pheasants like Kalij pheasant with bright colours or koklass pheasant having stricken black & white patterns.

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana

The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is located near Gurgaon in Haryana which is a perfect place for birdwatchers seeking a quiet escape away from Delhi. One can walk through the park on trails that take you to different habitats and offer great birding opportunities. 

During winter (October-February) when the weather is pleasant and birds migrate from Siberia, Central Asia & Europe to avoid cold seasons there. More than 250 species of birds either visit or reside permanently at Sultanpur itself. 

The park receives its annual visitors such as Siberian cranes, greater flamingos and black-winged stilts among others. Ducks, pelicans cormorants egrets etc are some common local species while Indian nightjar can sometimes be seen too.

Mangalajodi, Odisha

Bird In Mangalajodi Odisha

Mangalajodi is a village situated on the northern banks of Chilika Lake in Odisha. It provides an ideal haven for those who seek peace and tranquility. It has a natural abundance of avifauna especially during migratory season i.e., November-March when over 150,000 birds throng this place due to availability of vast wetlands here.

One can immerse oneself completely into this authentic experience through getting acquainted with boat rides as well as Odishan culture. Gain knowledge about various types of birds from local inhabitants who are well conversant with them. Birds like openbill storks, greylag geese, Brahminy ducks, spot-billed pelicans, Eurasian spoonbills etc may also be sighted here.

What has made Mangalajodi remarkable though is how it has transformed over time. Once being known for poaching activities only later becoming an area dedicated towards conservation efforts. Thereby serving as a classic example where such initiatives have managed not only protect wildlife but also foster sustainable livelihoods among communities living around these areas.

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

Nal Sarovar Bird In india

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is a hidden gem near Ahmedabad (Gujarat) that should not be missed by any bird lover. The largest permanent freshwater lake in the state makes for an expansive wetland which becomes alive with myriad hues during winter months.

The most interesting feature of Nal Sarovar is boating. In most sanctuaries it is either a jeep or walk but here one can explore through boats steered by local Padhars who have been doing this since ages.

This combination of rich birdlife along with traditional boating experience has no match elsewhere thus making Nalsarovar a must visit place for all nature enthusiasts out there. More than 250 species including greater and lesser Flamingos, pelicans, storks and egrets reside in the park.

Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

This is the second-largest brackish water lagoon in India and is located near Chennai. Brackish water, a mix of freshwater and saltwater, creates unique habitats that support many kinds of birds. Ducks, teals, herons, egrets, Openbill Storks and Pelicans among other birds around 150 species either visit or stay in the sanctuary every year. This also includes Greater Flamingos. 

The cooler temperatures from October to March coupled with the abundance of food resources make it an attractive stopover for migratory birds. Fort Geldria built by the Dutch and Dutch colonial heritage makes Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary more beautiful.

Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

White breasted kingfisher in Khijadia bird sanctuary

Khijadia covers over 600 hectares of marshlands and mangroves which serve as home to more than 310 species of stunning birds! Peak season for migratory bird watching at this place falls between November – February.

What sets Khijadia apart is its being recognized as a Ramsar Site- wetland of international importance for maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity. Explore a network of nature trails or take boat rides on serene Jawahar Sagar Lake; you will have an experience like no other! 

To add to such natural wonders nearby Khijadiya village recently awarded with title “Jamnagar-Best Tourism Village 2023” further enhances charm of this sanctuary. Visitors can get closer look into local culture alongside these marvels created by mother earth herself!

Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra

Indian Pond Heron in Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is situated near Pune which acts as paradise for avifauna lovers mainly flamingo watchers. Thousands of greater flamingos with their rosy feathers gather here creating mesmerizing spectacle each winter season. This is when they migrate from other parts like Rann of Kutch. Shallow waters are preferred by these graceful creatures during feeding time in winters.

The Ujani Dam backwaters become alive with a variety of birds between December to March, especially. Over 300 species such as Black Ibis, Indian Thick- knee, Pied Avocet and Painted Storks have been recorded at Bhigwan so far.

It used to be a place where birds were hunted down. But now the locals have turned into protectors for these feathered friends by conducting boat tours, promoting sustainable tourism, and taking care of their needs as well.

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