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India’s Best 20 Sanctuaries & National Parks for Birdwatching Experience

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Are you one of those crazy birders who frequently keep looking for an exclusive birding destination to satiate your desire for bird watching and photography? Well!! If that is the case, we bring to you few exotic bird watching destinations in India that can pacify your craving and love for birds.
Bird Watching Experience
Birds are one of the most beautiful creations of God on this earth. A mere sight of a colourful bird in the balcony of our homes, give us that unmatched feeling of happiness and joy; some of us even run to fetch our cameras to capture this lovely birdie in our lenses before it flies off somewhere else. Unfortunately, these instances are very rare owing to the fact that the natural habitats for these birds have today, been transformed into concrete jungles; even the common sparrows are rarely seen in the cityscapes now a days. But, thankfully, still few areas have been conserved where we can go and enjoy the playfulness and hear the sweet chirpings of these tiny fowls. So, for those, who are utterly enticed with the innocence and splendour of these little creatures, India has in its store, lots of sanctuaries and conservation reserves where you can go and have a glimpse at these wonderful tiny winged species. Here are the top 20 birding paradises in India where the sheer abundance of vast species of birds will make you jump with joy and excitement.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1UrkGip

Also known as ‘Keoladeo Ghana National Park’, the ‘Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary’ was established in 19th century by the Maharaja of Bharatpur, a small town located in Rajasthan. Spread across an area of around 29 km. consisting of wetlands, woodlands, dry grass stretches and swamp areas, the sanctuary is a protected reserve and a home to thousands of colourful birds. One of the unique sanctuaries of the world with its lake and wetlands created artificially, the sanctuary today enjoys the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name of the reserve, ‘Keoladeo’ has been derived from an ancient Shiva temple residing in the heart of the park. Owing to the reserve’s diverse varieties of birds, both indigenous and migratory, the sanctuary attracts numerous bird lovers and wildlife photographers every year, especially during winters when the sanctuary is bustling with hundreds of waterfowls and other migratory water birds like Siberian cranes, pelicans, buntings, geese and ducks. For nature lovers and kids, the sanctuary is an ideal place to spend a wonderful day in the lap of nature. With its walking trails camouflaged with variety of trees and plants, sounds of chirping of birds and fresh breeze of air; the sanctuary provides a huge respite from the crowded cities that have been transformed into concrete jungles today with no sign of greenery or purity of air.

Important birds to look for:

  • Black and Grey Francolin
  • Lesser Whistling Duck
  • Marbled Teal
  • Bar-Headed, Cotton-Pygmy and Greylag goose
  • Spot-Billed Duck
  • Stork-Billed, White-Throated and Pied Kingfisher
  • Siberian Crane
  • Brahminy Starling

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1RE2kXU

One of the most famous bird sanctuaries in North India, the ‘Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary’ is set in the small town of Sultanpur, just 15 km. from Gurgaon in Haryana. Established by Dr. Salim Ali in 1972, the sanctuary is located around the vicinity of the Sultanpur Lake covering an area of 359 acres. A great place for bird watchers and nature lovers, the sanctuary is home to a variety of resident and migratory bird species. While walking on the trails of the park, you are sure to be greeted with mesmerizing sights of few of the local birds like egrets, parakeets, doves, kingfishers and bulbuls. A camera and a set of binoculars are your best mates during the bird-watching tour in this sanctuary. For a more enthralling experience, climb over one of the watch-towers in the area and enjoy unmatched views of these colourful creatures. Besides offering marvellous vistas of local birds, the sanctuary also provides a perfect ambience for observing migratory birds like flamingos, wagtails, sandpipers and pelicans that flow in from far off areas of Europe, Siberia and Afghanistan during winter months, transforming the grounds of the sanctuary into a picturesque panorama. Truly a paradise for ornithologists and nature freaks, a visit to the ‘Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary’ leaves you with one of the most overwhelming bird watching experiences of your lifetime.

Important birds to look for:

  • Sunbird
  • Painted and Black-Necked Stork
  • Black and White Headed Ibis
  • Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  • Red-Collared and Laughing Dove
  • Siberian Crane
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Wood and Spotted Sandpiper
  • Rosy and Spot-Billed Pelican
  • Crane Triplet
  • Kingfisher

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/25tW4Jq

Named after the renowned Indian ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali, the ‘Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary’ is located along the Mandovi River on Chorao Island in Goa. Spread over an area of 440 acres, the mystical beauty of this mangrove ecosystem bustling with an unmatched array of exotic birds and mangrove species, attracts hordes of wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers from across different parts of the country. Criss-crossed with numerous water channels and canals through the sanctuary, one can visit it on boats and canoes. Navigating you through dense mangrove forests, the boat rides actually add to the fun and thrill of a birding tour wherein you are greeted with wonderful sights of variety of birds like white egrets, vibrant kingfishers, colourful woodpeckers, pintail ducks, kites and herons. Needless to say, just feel the silence of the air when you make your way through the mangroves and let your eyes and cameras capture the beauty of this magical terrain. Besides spotting a huge variety of local and migratory birds, while on this bird watching expedition, you can also spot a variety of reptilian life comprising of crocodiles and water snakes. For keen bird watchers, watch-towers erected in the sanctuary provide one of the best bird viewing experiences.

Important birds to look for:

  • Heart-Spotted Woodpecker
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill
  • Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul
  • White Egret
  • Kingfisher
  • Pin-Tailed Duck
  • Grey Heron
  • Pond Heron

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1ZI4zwA

One of the top birding destinations in India, the ‘Kumarakon Bird Sanctuary’ is situated on the banks of scenic Vembanad Lake at Kumarakom in Kerala. Spread over an area of 14 acres, the sanctuary is home to an interesting variety of birds, attracting many bird enthusiasts, nature lovers and wildlife photographers from different parts of India. The serene location of the sanctuary, set across the backwaters of Kerala, adds to its picturesque charm. One of the best places in India to go for bird watching in monsoons owing to the breeding season of local birds during this time, the sanctuary offers plenty of opportunities to spot a variety of resident birds like cormorants, woodpeckers, kingfishers, ibis, egrets and herons. The sanctuary is also a favourite haunt for many migratory bird species including Siberian storks and cranes, darters and teals that flock to this place during start of winters and stay here till the end of season. Undoubtedly, one of the best birding spots in South India, if you further want to add an extra thrill to your bird watching experience at ‘Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary’, go for a bird watching cruise on the lake and cherish the wonderful memories throughout your lives.

Important birds to look for:

  • Waterfowl
  • Egret
  • Heron
  • Siberian Crane
  • Painted Stork
  • Brahminy Kite
  • White Ibis
  • Indian Darter

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/25tWakj

Located in the Mandya district, along the shores of Kaveri River in Karnataka, the ‘Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary’ is counted amongst the best bird sanctuaries in India. Spread across an area of 40 acres, the sanctuary is swamped by hordes of colourful birds like egrets, cormorants, spoonbills, storks, partridges, herons and many more. The tiny islets located within the river provides a suitable nesting and breeding ground to these lovely winged creatures. These islets can be approached through boat rides on the serene river that also provides for a breeding ground for marsh crocodiles. As you approach the islets, don’t be surprised to get a sight of a crocodile basking in the sun along the river shore. An exotic and unparalleled bird watching experience amidst serene and tranquil environs of the ‘Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary’ is something every bird lover craves for. Besides birding, the picturesque settings of the place with clear water of the river and a backdrop of dense forests, also provides a perfect ambience to photographers and shutterbugs to click some interesting pictures that can be added to their exclusive collection of wildlife photography. If you are living in Bangalore or Mysore and have not yet visited the sanctuary, go visit it during the coming weekend and I guarantee, you will cherish every moment of this lifetime experience.

Important birds to look for:

  • Common Spoonbill
  • Asian Openbill Stork
  • Cormorant
  • Lesser Whistling Duck
  • Great Stoned Curlew
  • Streak-Throated Swallows
  • Black-Headed Ibis

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamilnadu

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1MPkdPg

Spread over an area of 74 acres, the ‘Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary’ is one of the oldest and smallest water bird sanctuaries in India and also, is a conservation reserve for both, native and migratory birds. Located in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu state of South India, the sanctuary is dotted with many small lakes that act as feeding grounds for these winged creatures. The barringtonia trees lined up along the periphery of the lakes also provide suitable nesting platforms to these beautiful birds. As you walk along the edges of the lakes, you can easily spot white egrets, painted storks, little cormorants, spoonbills and spot-billed pelicans. Sight of many arboreal birds like parakeets, cuckoos, barbets, mynahs and babblers is also quite common in various areas of the sanctuary. The sanctuary opens in November for public viewing when hundreds of migratory birds flock to the sanctuary from distant areas of Australia, China, Siberia and Pakistan. November to March is also the nesting season for these birds, offering you a closer look at the nesting activities of these winged visitors. Undoubtedly, a heaven for ornithologists and eco-tourists, the ‘Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary’ is an ideal place to go for bird watching in winters. Needless to say, a good camera and a binocular is a must while visiting the sanctuary.

Important birds to look for:

  • Common Spoonbill
  • Spot-Billed Pelican
  • White Egret
  • Painted stork
  • Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Open Bill Storks

Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Odisha

Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1LWuD4F

Situated in the state of Odisha (Orissa), Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest salt water lake that sits on the mouth of the Bay of Bengal. Known for its exquisite avifauna, the ‘Chilika Lake Sanctuary’ offers an unmatched birding experience to bird watchers. A real paradise for bird lovers, the vicinity of Chilika Lake teems with thousands of migratory aquatic birds including flamingos, geese, sea eagles and variety of herons. Special areas in the sanctuary have been specifically designated for ornithologists in order to have them a glimpse at a variety of birds; Bird Island and Kalijai Island are two of them. At Kalijai Island, you will be mesmerized with an exotic variety of peacocks freely roaming in the area. Besides birding, the visitors to ‘Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary’ can also indulge themselves in experience of sighting wild animals like blackbucks, golden jackals, hyenas and spotted deer. The sanctuary is also a popular picnicking destination for people living in nearby areas who flock to this place just to revel themselves in some splendid views of sunrise and sunset on the lake shores. One of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in Orissa, a visit here is a must for every commoner, nature and wildlife enthusiast.

Important birds to look for:

  • Greater Flamingo
  • Greylag Geese
  • Purple Moorhen
  • White-Bellied Sea Eagle
  • White Ibis

Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary, Karnataka

Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary
Located inside the Bankapura Fort in Karnataka, the ‘Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary’ is an exclusive conservation and breeding centre for the Indian national bird, the beautiful peacocks. Happily dancing peacocks in the sprawling greenery of the sanctuary leave you mesmerized for few moments. This is one of the very few places in the country where you can get to see flocks of peacocks and peahens freely roaming about and enchanting the visitors with their magical charm. Besides peafowls, you also get an opportunity to have spectacular sights of other birds like robins, babblers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, hornbills, doves, parakeets and tailor birds. For peacock lovers, the Bankapura Sanctuary makes for a definite visit.

Important birds to look for:

  • Peacock and Peahen
  • Spotted Dove
  • Grey Hornbill
  • Tailor Bird
  • Paradise Flycatcher
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Mayani Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra

Mayani Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1qdtXhn

Located near small village of Vaduj in Satara district of Maharashtra, the ‘Mayani Bird Sanctuary’ is a typical wetland eco-system, rich in a huge variety of aquatic plant species like otolia. A rich bio-diversity of this place has always been a subject of interest to many ecologists and conservationists. Providing a natural habitat to many native and migratory birds, this repertoire of birds is a huge draw for a large number of bird and nature lovers from the neighbouring regions. The sanctuary is one of the favourite winter hubs for painted storks and flamingos that flock to the area from distant locations like Siberia and Europe; the shallow waters of the sanctuary teeming with insects, small fishes and crabs serve as a feeding ground for these winged visitors. Besides flamingos and storks, you can also spot a colourful variety of coots, Brahminy ducks, sunbirds, bulbuls, kingfishers, spoonbills, parakeets and ibis. If you are lucky, you can even get to see some beautiful Baya Weaver Nests that truly are wonderful creations of the little Baya birds. For people seeking a respite from busy city lives, ‘Mayani Bird Sanctuary’ makes for an ideal hideout in the lap of nature for a day.

Important birds to look for:

  • Painted Stork
  • Common Spoonbill
  • Black Ibis
  • Brahminy Duck
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Flamingo
  • Baya Weaver Bird

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1My63XO

Situated near Sanand Village, 64 km. west of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the ‘Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary’ is a treasure trove of some of the most beautiful birds that one can get to see on the earth. One of the largest wetland bird sanctuaries in India, ‘Nal Sarovar Sanctuary’ invites multitude of tourists including ornithologists, ecologists, biologists and nature fanatics from all across the country. The primary attraction of the sanctuary is its migratory population that range from rosy pelicans, white and painted storks, pink flamingos to purple moorhens and brahminy ducks. The breath-taking picturesque beauty of the sanctuary with a tranquil lake in the middle is another great attraction for tourists visiting the Nal Sarovar Sanctuary; a boat ride on the lake watching the activities of feathered creatures is truly a magical experience. The lake area transforms into a colourful spectacle during the months of November and February when the water of the lake is plentiful with fishes, insects and aquatic plants inviting these winged creatures to have a gala time here. Definitely, a birders and photographer’s paradise, a visit to the sanctuary is highly recommended if you are on a holiday in the nearby area.

Important birds to look for:

  • White and Painted Stork
  • Rosy Pelican
  • Purple Moorhen
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Cormorant Spear
  • Indian Darter

Manjira Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Telangana

Manjeera Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/22Xcvff

Abode of numerous migratory and native birds, the ‘Manjira Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary’ is a delight for birders and conservationists. Located in the Medak district of Telangana, along the picturesque Manjira River, the sanctuary is not only a home to its winged residents but, is also a conservation reserve for mugger crocodiles that at one point of time were at the verge of extinction in the state. The colourful feathered species like herons, black & white ibis, spoonbills, painted storks, teals and cormorants form the prime attraction of this beautiful sanctuary. A boat ride on the waters of the Manjira River spotting various colourful birds is no less than an adventure. Besides birds, you are also treated with stunning sights of fresh water turtles, muggers basking in the sun along the marshy areas of the lake, few species of snakes and an uncountable variety of fish and other aquatic creatures. Truly an empyrean for birders, wildlife photographers and nature aficionados, the sanctuary undoubtedly, makes for a perfect wildlife holiday destination in the region.

Important birds to look for:

  • White and Black Headed Ibis
  • Common Spoonbill
  • Athene Brama
  • Clack Crowned Heron
  • Common Teal
  • Cotton Pygmy Goose
  • Eurasian Coot
  • Indian Darter

Kolleru Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Kolleru Bird Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1RHpgCF

Located around one of the largest fresh water lakes of India, the serene Kolleru Lake, just a short distance from the historic town of Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Kolleru Lake Bird Sanctuary’ is flocked by many migratory bird species including Siberian cranes, painted storks, colourful ibis, spot-billed pelicans, waterfowls and pin-tailed ducks that fly here from far-off regions in search of a suitable shelter for themselves. The presence of a huge variety of these birds, makes this place a heaven for bird watchers and photographers. Watch towers built inside the sanctuary aid the tourists to have a close glimpse at the activities of these feathered species. A dynamic ecosystem bustling with rich flora and fauna also makes this place an apt destination for ecologists and environmentalists. If you are looking for a birding holiday set amidst deep tranquillity where you are woken up with the soothing music of chirping birds early in the morning, the forest rest houses at Eluru and Vijaywada make for perfect accommodation options near the sanctuary. Needless to say, for avid birders, the ‘Kolleru Lake Bird Sanctuary’ provides for one of the best bird watching holiday destinations in India.

Important birds to look for:

  • Northern Shoveler
  • Red-Crested Pochard
  • Spot Billed Pelican
  • Asian Spoonbill
  • Black Headed Ibis
  • Painted Stork
  • Siberian Crane
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Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1Sj6CS2

Located in Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary’ is also an elephant reserve providing protection to the Asiatic elephants. Spread over an area of 358 sq. km., besides elephants and other wild animals, the sanctuary is also home to an assorted collection of vibrant birds such as Grey Pelicans, Rosy Pelicans, Love Birds and Painted Storks that migrate to the sanctuary during winter months. Known for providing a matchless bird watching extravaganza, the ‘Kaundinya Sanctuary’ is one of the favourite places to go birding for the people living in the neighbouring areas. Besides bird lovers, the sanctuary also entices multitude of wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and nature lovers from different corners of the country. Jeep safaris and elephant rides through thick jungles of the sanctuary, make for a perfect wildlife sighting tour, giving you ample opportunities to spot wild species like four-horned antelopes, jungle cats, wild boars, sloth bears, cheetal and sambar freely roaming in their natural and healthy habitats. What adds to the charm of this beautiful sanctuary is its rugged hills, deep valleys, thick woods and streams of Kaigal and Kaundinya rivers flowing through the middle of the sanctuary. If you are thinking about your next wildlife or bird-watching destination, ‘Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary’ surely makes for an ideal spot.

Important birds to look for:

  • Grey and Rosy Pelican
  • Painted Stork
  • Loved Birds
  • Yellow-Throated Bulbul
  • Pied Hornbill

Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Corbett Birds

Photo: bit.ly/22KbDhn

One of the most famous tiger reserves and national parks in India, the ‘Corbett National Park’, snuggled in the foothills of Western Himalayas in Uttarakhand, is a heaven for both wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers. Primarily visited by tourists to have a rendezvous with the big cat of jungle either on a jeep safari or an elephant safari, they also end up cherishing a world-class bird watching experience in the thick wilderness of the park. One of the most sought after wildlife tourism destinations in India, teeming with lush vegetation, dense forests of Sal and thick grasslands; a natural habitat of the Corbett National Park invites a huge variety of colourful birds ranging from rare species of parakeets, woodpeckers, Himalayan swiftlets, kingfishers and hornbills to eagles and vultures. As you walk along the designated bird watching trails in the park, keep your ears focussed on hearing different bird sounds coming from nearby bushes and woods. To have a clear view of multi-hued birds perched on tree-tops or hidden inside the bushes, a set of binoculars and cameras will definitely prove to be of extreme value during the bird-sighting expedition in this park. Needless to say, a bird watching excursion in the lap of ‘Corbett National Park’ is as enthralling and fascinating as a tiger spotting experience. Click here to read more about this park.

Important birds to look for:

  • Himalayan Swiftlet
  • Lesser and Pallas’ Fish Eagle
  • Spot-Bellied Eagle Owl
  • White Tailed Ruby throat
  • Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  • Merops Orientalis

Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and National Park, Uttarakhand

Himalayan Bluetai Tarsiger Rufilatus
‘Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve’ is one of the most beautiful and alluring national parks in India, nestled in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. Set amidst breath-taking natural beauty, the park offers splendid vistas of snow-covered peaks of Trishul, Dunagiri and Nanda Devi. Flocked by a number of trekkers, mountaineers and nature freaks every year, the park boasts of a unique topography and diverse eco-system that makes it an ideal habitat for a huge species of wild Himalayan animals and birds. Snow leopards, Himalayan musk deer, red fox and Himalayan Tahr can be easily spotted in the thick wilderness of this park. Besides being an ideal destination to shoot and capture the activities of Himalayan animals, the place also invites hundreds of birders across different corners of the globe to have a glimpse at a rare collection of Himalayan birds ranging from orange-flanked bush robin, yellow-bellied fantail flycatchers, blue-fronted redstarts to Indian tree pipits and Himalayan snow cocks. Special birding tours organized in the reserve aid to walk around designated areas of the park and have a look at these rare winged species. So, if you are looking for an unforgettable wildlife and bird watching experience in an enticing landscape of Himalayas, the ‘Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve’ makes for a perfect wildlife holiday destination.

Important birds to look for:

  • Himalayan Monal Pheasant
  • Fantail Flycatcher
  • White Throated Tit
  • Indian Tree Pipit
  • Himalayan Snow Cock
  • Himalayan Bluetail Tarsiger Rufilatus

Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh

Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: bit.ly/1MPkK3M

One of the most exotic wildlife and bird sanctuaries located in North-East India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, the ‘Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary’ derives its name from the Red Eagle regiment of the Indian Army that was once posted in the region. An extraordinary variety of bird species found at this sanctuary, makes it a favourite hot-spot for birders, ornithologists and nature buffs. Set amidst a charming natural beauty teeming with numerous waterfalls, sparkling Kameng River and lush vegetation, a birding experience in the tranquillity of the ‘Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary’ is unique in itself. Special birding tours organized in the sanctuary help you spot some of the most exotic and rare Himalayan species ranging from fire-tailed myzornis, fire-tailed sunbirds, pied falconets and white-cheeked partridges to blue-bearded bee-eaters and multi-hued babblers. One of the most spectacular bird sanctuaries, the eagle nest wildlife sanctuary is undoubtedly, one of the best places in India to go for bird watching in summers. Besides offering an exotic experience in birding, the sanctuary is also a photographer’s paradise providing them a perfect ambience to click some rare striking pictures of Himalayan birds, colourful butterflies and animals including Red Panda, capped Langurs, Arunachal Macaques and clouded leopards.

Important birds to look for:

  • Fire-Tailed Sunbird
  • Pied Falconet
  • Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater
  • Pale-Headed Woodpecker
  • Mountain Tailorbird
  • Yellow-Bellied Flowerpecker
  • Gold-Naped Black-Finch

Desert National Park, Rajasthan

Desert National Park

Photo: bit.ly/1pXpPT1

Situated near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the ‘Desert National Park’ boasts of a unique desert ecosystem with sand dunes, salty lakebeds, craggy rocks and an arid landscape. Despite of a fragile ecosystem, the park is a paradise for both, native and migratory birds majorly belonging to eagles, vultures and falcon species. The park is also a home to endangered great Indian bustards that are found here in large numbers. One can also find here, a huge variety of cranes, bee-eaters, sandgrouse and larks. Being a desert area, desert fox, blackbucks and hedgehogs make a common appearance. Besides bird watchers and ornithologists, the park is frequented by many ecologists, conservationists and naturalists owing to its vast collection of fossils dating back to 180 years; the 6 million years old fossils of dinosaurs needs a special mention that actually, is a priced asset of the park. If desert wildlife interests you, the ‘Desert National Park’ is surely a right place for you.

Important birds to look for:

  • Short-Toed and Tawny Eagles
  • Common Kestrel
  • Eurasian Griffon Vulture
  • Lagger Falcon

Nameri National Park, Assam

Nameri National Park

Photo: bit.ly/1qduMXC

Located in the Sonitpur District of Assam bordering Arunachal Pradesh, the ‘Nameri National Park’ is an epitome of nature’ bounty and is blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna. Snow-capped vistas of eastern Himalayas and a long stretch of river, Jia Bhoreli with its numerous tributaries flowing by the national park, multi-folds its picturesque beauty. A paradise for birding enthusiasts with around 300 species of birds, you are enchanted with a background orchestra of bird songs as you approach the park. The sweetness of bird chirpings filled in the air, immediately takes you in its deep blissful aura. As you enter the park, sights of beautiful birds such as colourful woodpeckers, bee-eaters, hornbills, parakeets, wood ducks and babblers take you in its full awe, offering an unparalleled experience and a visual treat, especially to photographers. Besides enjoying a wonderful birding experience, make your Nameri trip more fun and exciting by trying your hands at various other activities like white-water rafting, fishing and angling.

Important birds to look for:

  • Rufous-Necked Hornbill
  • Black Necked Stork
  • White-Belied Heron
  • Blyth’s Kingfisher
  • Fish and Serpent Eagles
  • Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater
  • Whistling Teal
  • Ruddy Shelduck

Sundarbans National Park and Tiger Reserve

Sundarbans National Park Bird

Photo: bit.ly/1StjvLS

Located on the Southern tip of West Bengal in East India, on the mouth of the mighty Brahmaputra and river Ganges, the impenetrable mangrove forests of Sunderbans are a ubiquitous home to the royal Bengal tigers. A rich biodiversity, wild forests and salty river beds, makes this place a heaven for many wildlife enthusiasts, environmentalists, ecologists and even bird enthusiasts. The dark and mystical attractiveness of these mangroves has in its store, some hidden treasure of some of the world’s most sought after birds ranging from mangrove whistlers, brown-winged kingfishers, white-eyed pochards, blue-throated flycatchers to marsh sandpipers and Pallas’ fish eagles. A boat ride navigating through thick mangroves offer you unmatched vistas of hundreds of these colourful birds that throng to this amazing place looking for breeding and nesting options for themselves. The dense and thick growth of mangroves make it slightly difficult to easily spot the birds so, taking a good set of binoculars is a must during your visit to Sunderbans, especially on a birding tour. As your boat navigates through the narrow creeks, keep your eyes focussed on sighting numerous birds soaring over the water channels. You can also hear squawking of parakeets somewhere hidden on tree-tops. For an enthralling bird-watching experience, a trip to the Sunderbans National Park is a must for avid birders and ornithologists.

Important birds to look for:

  • Mangrove Whistler
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Fish Eagle
  • White-Eyed Pochard
  • Red Jungle Fowl
  • Brown-Winged Kingfisher

Gir Forest National Park

Gir Forest Bird

Photo: bit.ly/1ZI5nl1

An abode of world renowned Asiatic Lions, the ‘Gir National Park’, located in Gujarat is also rich in its avifauna species. Primarily visited by wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to experience tête-à-tête with the lions roaming about freely in the wild, the Gir National Park also offers umpteen opportunities to bird watchers to have a delightful experience spotting some of the most hard to find birds like pygmy woodpeckers, Malabar whistling thrush, black bucks and flycatchers. At the Gir Forest Park, you will also have an opportunity to spot some of the most endangered species of birds like white-backed and long-billed vultures and changeable hawk eagles. One of the best wildlife sanctuaries in West India, the Gir Forest Park also has a reputation of being the home to some most exotic birds of India. So, if you are heading to the Gir National Park for a wildlife holiday, do take a birding tour in its thick wilderness. Click here to read more about Gir Forest.

Important birds to look for:

  • Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Yello-Bellied Sunbird
  • Changeable Hawk Eagle
  • Long-Billed Vulture
  • Malabar Whistling Thrush

Besides the above listed bird sanctuaries, there are many other lesser known sanctuaries in India that give you an insight into the activities and behaviours of these colourful creations of God. But, while visiting any of the bird sanctuaries, make sure you abide by the rules of the sanctuaries and forest reserves; do not feed the birds or try to interfere with the natural environs by littering or throwing plastic waste in the park premises.

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As a tour manager at TourMyIndia.com, Anil Rana has helped his clients in exploring the Indian wildlife and cultural heritage. His love for travel has imparted him immense knowledge of Indian wildlife, cultural heritage, leisure destinations. To help travellers all across the world, he loves to pen down his experiences and wisdom about cultural, wildlife and leisure travel in India.

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