With as many as 1301 recorded bird species, India is truly a bird watcher’s paradise where you can observe the most gorgeous colorful varieties of this elegant and exquisite species. Here is a list of my most favorite bird watching destinations in India. However, first you need to read these pointers to have a wholesome experience.
- Don’t forget to carry a good pair of binoculars
- A field guide with illustrations is a must.
- The fun doubles up when you go with a bird-watching group.
- Respect the birds and their habitat.
Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh
Named after an Indian army camp, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Western Arunachal Pradesh. One of the most recent bird species, Bugun Liocichla was discovered here in 2006 and an impressive 454 species of birds have been recorded here. BirdLife International has designated Eaglenest as an ‘Important Bird Area,’ and Blyth’s Tragopan has been identified as a vulnerable species of this area.
The sanctuary is a heady mixture of bamboo thickets, evergreen forests and alpine forests which inhabit some of the most beautiful species like Yuhina, Tit, Sibia, Nuthatch, Bush Robin and many more. Don’t forget to spot birds at the famous Lama Camp.
Best time to visit: March and April or November to January
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett is the oldest national park of the country. This park is known to host more than 500 species of bird including Ibisbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker and a variety of raptors.
Listening to the endless choir of bird songs amidst the varied landscape can steal any bird-watcher’s heart away. A mix of dense forests, grasslands and hilly vegetation, Corbett National Park is also inhabited by various other animals and big mammals including the Asiatic Elephant and the tiger.
Best time to visit: March and April
Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Land of vast salt marshes, great rann of kutch is home to over 200 species of birds including Grey Hypocolius, Grey Napped Tit, Small Minivet, Common Iora, Lesser & Greater Flamingos, Painted Sandgrouse etc. The area is at the crossroads of Palearctic migration and is a big draw for birders who come to see a great congregation of raptors, cranes and waterbirds in winter.
Best time to visit: October to March
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Also called the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rajasthan’s Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary has been conferred the World Heritage status. Situated on the Agra-Jaipur road, the sanctuary hosts a wide variety of birds including cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, magpie robins, water hens, lapwings, herons, storks, egrets, spoonbills and many other exotic species.
Best time to visit: If you wish to spot resident breeding birds August to November are the ideal visiting months, for migrant birds visit during October to February and if photography is your interest then all year round.
Pong Dam Wetlands, Himachal Pradesh
Kangra’s hidden gem, the Pong Dam Wetlands is one of the prettiest spots of India. Located on both the Punjab side as well as the Himachal side, this place remains hidden from most of the people as it is not as popular as other sanctuaries and parks. With snow capped Dhaula Duan Himalayan ranges in the background, the Shivalik ranges in the front and golden wheat and mustard fields, Pong Dam Wetlands offer the most enchanting settings for bird-watching.
Bar Headed Goose, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Common Pochard,Common Coots, Tufted Pochard, Great Cormorant, Ruddy Shelduck and Eurasian Wigeon are some of the birds that can be spotted here.
Best time to visit: October to February
Birding not only gives you an opportunity to spot charming birds but it also brings you closer to nature and the essence of life. There is so much that we can learn from these creatures; though these birds cannot speak yet they have some really beautiful messages for those who wish to know. I hope you find these places tempting enough to visit them at least once. So how about a birding holiday this time?
“The bird is powered by its own life and its own motivation.”– APJ Abdul Kalam