Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit

Bird sanctuaries can be defined as a natural facility that favors the conservation of varied species of birds and their natural habitats, while at the same time providing rehabilitation and survival of the birds.

Indian peninsula is dotted with beautiful species of birds which inhabit locally and are migratory in nature. Its diversity is endowed with domestic and exotic species of birds. Scattered in all different regions, the bird sanctuaries in India has also high degree of variety in flora and wildlife. Owing to a good number of these sanctuaries, the country has become of the ideal bird watching destination in the world.

Bird sanctuaries are the favourite destination of ornithologists, bird watchers, nature lovers. Visitors get to learn newer thing about birds and their lives. Researchers often analyse, record and document every moment of these birds live in. It is always so great to watch a free bird make nests, chirrup and play. Unleashing the enthralling creations of nature, bird sanctuaries is a place one should visit at least once in a lifetime.

The season of visit in bird sanctuary differs, but mostly it happens to fall during the winters. Spotting vibrant and colourful birds will make you experience the beauty of nature as if it has divulged out from a scenery on canvas. There are more than 48 bird sanctuaries in India, but choosing which one to go is a tedious task unless you have our guide list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit.

10. Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary


By J.M.GargOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Tenth in the list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit, stands Chilka Lake bird sanctuary. Spread over in three districts of Odisha state Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, it is a Brackish water lagoon in the eastern coast of India, covering an area of over 1,100 km square.

In the Indian sub-continent, Chilka lake is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds and a number of threatened species of plants and fishes. It is the second largest in the world and the largest coastal lagoon in India. This lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season, whereas the lake in the ecosystem has large fishery resource too.

Chilka lake has been destined to be India’s first wetland of international importance under the Ramsar convention. This bird sanctuary has 45% of birds which are terrestrial in nature, 32 percent are  waterfowl, and 23 percent are waders.

9. Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary


By Yoc2007Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Renamed as Shahid Chandra Shekhar Azad bird sanctuary. This bird sanctuary is located in Unnao District on the Kanpur Lucknow highway in Uttar Pradesh. It consists of lakes, and the surrounding lush green environment. This bird sanctuary provides protection to 250 species of migratory birds which mostly from USSR countries.

Some major local migratory and residential birds are sarus crane, open-bill stork, painted stork, peafowl, white ibis, whistling teal, white-necked stork, pheasant-tailed jacana, purple moorhen, dabchick, Indian roller, bronze winged jacana, lapwing, tern, vulture and bee-eater.

8. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Next in the list of top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit is Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. This first bird sanctuary of the state, covers an ares of 25 km square and is located about 12 kms from Kothamangalam, in the state of Kerala.

This evergreen low-land forest located was often described as one of the richest bird habitat on the peninsular India by the great ornithologist Salim Ali. It has a varied and rich birdlife covering both forest birds as well as the water birds.

Large-billed leaf-warbler, Oriental darter, Orange-headed thrush, Whiskered terns, Collared scops owl, Grey-fronted  green pigeon, Orange-headed thrush, Jerdon’s nightjar, Indian cuckoo, Oriental darter, Yellow-browed bulbuls are the birds one can spot here easily. This sanctuary is a cuckoo paradise as it houses different varities of cuckoo birds, like Drongo cuckoo, Indian hawk cuckoo, large hawk cuckoo etc.

7. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Next rank in the list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit is Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. It is a 30 hectare protected area located in the Kacheepuruam district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India.  The sanctuary has more than 40,000 birds which includes 26 rare species from various parts of the world which visits the sanctuary during the migratory seasons.

It is the home to migratory birds like pintail, garganey, grey wagtail, blue-winged teal, common  sandpiper. Vedanthangal is the oldest water bird sanctuary in the country and the best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to march, when the birds are busy building and maintain their nests. The flora and fauna of the region is very rich, surrounded by evergreen scrub and thorn forest.

This sanctuary features birds like cormorants, darters, grebes, large egrets, moorhens, night herons, paddy birds, painted storks, little egrets, pond herons, sandpipers, terns, white ibises and many more. The migratory birds include grey pelicans and teals, snake birds, glossy ibises, grey herons, openbilled stork, painted storks, spoonbills and the spot-billed duck.

6. Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary


By Shaunak Modi from Bombay, India – Green Bee-eater, CC BY 2.0, Link

Covering an area of approximately 120 square kms lake and ambient marshes, Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary is situated in Gujarat near west of Ahmadabad. It is the mainland which is inhabited by migratory birds in the winters and the spring season. Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary is a declared as “Ramsar convention site”.

This bird sanctuary is the largest wetland birds sanctuary in Gujarat state and among one of the largest in the nation. Its lake attracts over 210 species of birds during the winters like rosy pelicans, flamingoes, white  storks, brahminy ducks and herons. The sanctuary also harbours animals and plants of different species.

5. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary


Fifth in the list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit, stands Kumarakom, which is also populary known as Vembanad bird sanctuary, situated in the Kottayam district, Kerala. The sanctuary is set in backwaters of Kerala, is the favorite haunt of migratory birds.

Managed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, Kumarakom bird sanctuary is spread over 14 acres on the southern bank of Kavanar river. The main attraction of this sanctuary are its local birds such as waterfowl, cuckoo, darter, owl, egret, heron, cormorant, moorhen, and brahminy kite, as well as the migratory Siberian crane, teal, lark, flycatcher etc.

4. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

This estuarine mangrove habitat is located on the western tip of island near Goa and the sanctuary is  named after an eminent ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali. It has secured the fourth position in the list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit.

Salim Ali sanctuary sprawls in an area of 440 acres and is covered by Mangrove Forest. Birds like striated heron, western reef heron, jack snipe, little bittern, black bittern, red knot and pied avocet can be spotted here easily.

3. Sultanpur Bird Santuary


By Jatin SindhuOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Located 15 kms from Gurugram in Harayana, Sultanpur sanctuary is renowned for its migratory birds. This sanctuary is ideal for bird watchers especially during the winters. Managed and taken care by the Haryana Government, Sultanpur bird sanctuary has over 250 species of bird in the sanctuary, of which most of them migrate from distant regions like Siberia, Europe and Afghanistan.

Birds like common hoopoe, paddyfield pipit, white-throated kingfisher, purple sunbird, little cormorant, gray francolin, Indian roller, spot billed duck, painted stork, black headed ibis, little egret, white ibis, cattle egret, India crested lark can be easily spotted in this sanctuary.

Some of the famous migratory birds visiting the sanctuary are Siberian cranes, ruff, black winged stilt, common teal, common greenshank, greater flamingo, rosy pelican, yellow wagtail, white wagtail, northern shoveller.

2. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Popularly known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary of Karnataka state, which is situated in the Mandya district. The sanctuary lies 16 kms away from the city Mysore. This notable bird sanctuary is maintained by the Forest Department of the Karnataka state.

The park has a rich biome which falls under the Riparian biome and has nearly 170 birds that have been recorded here. Naming a few like the painted stork, Asian open bill stork, common spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, black-headed ibis, whistling duck, Indian shag, cormorant, great stone plover, and river tern, stork-billed kingfisher, egret, streak-throated swallows

Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is also a host of numerous small mammals. The best season to visit the sanctuary is between June to November for viewing water birds and whereas for migratory birds it is usually December.

1. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Formerly known and popular by the name of Bharatpur bird sanctuary, which is now called as Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan aces the list of Top 10 Bird Sanctuaries in India you must visit. This place is a home of more than 230 resident species and is also the attraction centre for ornithologist as a world heritage site.

It has a man made and man managed wetland which has mosaics of dry grasslands, woodlands, swamps and wetlands all over the surrounding. Bharatpur bird sanctuary is a home to 370 bird species, and is one of the richest bird areas in the world. Known for nesting of resident birds and visiting migratory birds including water birds the park is spread over 29 square feet kms in area.

herons, storks, common teal, cotton teal, tufted duck, shoveler, comb duck, painted stork, white spoonbill, Asian open-billed stork, wood sandpiper, oriental ibis, green sandpiper etc are the birds one can easliy spot at Bharatpur bird sanctuary. Land birds like bee-eaters, bulbuls, babblers, buntings, chats, Painted francolins are also found here.

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