The Ultimate Bird Watching Destinations in India

The wonderful part about the extremely wide variety of terrains, with the different kinds of vegetation, we have in India is that our country is also home to a fascinating number of birds and animals. Unfortunately, we don’t take as good care of them as we should, since we keep wiping out many of their habitats and shoving them along on the road to extinction. But the first step to preserving the astoundingly rich fauna we’re blessed with is recognizing just how special each species is and how beautiful are birds of India.

Bird-watching is a great way to get closer to nature than we usually manage, and it’s an eye-opener. There is so much more to our country than we know, living in our concrete jungles. Take some time to see how graceful our feathered friends, big and small, are; once you really see them, you can’t help but want to protect them.

Ladakh

When you think of ice and birds, you think of penguins. You think of Ladakh and you don’t think of birds at all. It’s time for that to change. Suru Valley in Kargil is an exceptional place for bird-watching. Hemis National Park, situated about 40 km away from Leh, is also a bird-watching goldmine of India.

Suru_Valley,Prakachik_villageSuru Valley (via)

Keep an eye out for: Golden eagle, robin accentor, fire-capped tit, white-tailed rubythroat, white-necked crane and many other birds with catchy names 80s rock bands would’ve jumped at if they’d heard them.

white tailed rubythroatWhite-tailed rubythroat (via)

Coastal Regions: Kerala and Goa

From snow we go to the lands of beaches and never-ending rains. Kerala has quite a few bird sanctuaries and the near-perpetual monsoons mean that there is an extremely diverse range of foliage, trees and plants from which birds can choose. Goa might be known for its beaches, but if you can stir yourself away from the sands for a day, you will find bird-watching goldmines, too. The abundance of coastal regions means that migratory birds and seabirds often make their way to these places. In Kerala, Kumarakom and Thattekad bird sanctuaries are the most commonly known, but Kadalundi, Pathiramanal and Mangalavanam also have breathtaking bird sanctuaries. In Goa, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary are the most popular. You can spot different variety and birds of India

urlMangalavanam Bird Sanctuary (via)

Keep an eye out for: Whimbrels, Brahmini kites, the hilariously named Indian shag less entertainingly called the Indian cormorant, purple heron, watercock, cotton pigmy-goose, monarch flycatcher, blue-bearded bee-eaters, white-rumped shamas, even the Siberian crane, among many others.

Nyctyornis_athertoni_-_Khao_YaiBlue-bearded bee-eater (via)

Gujarat & Rajasthan

You think of Rajasthan and Gujarat as relatively arid regions, so bird-watching isn’t something you normally associate with these places. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bharatpur National Park and Ranthambore National Park, in Rajasthan, are two of the best bird-watching spots in the country. Bharatpur National Park (a World Heritage site) claims to play host to about 375 different species of birds, while Ranthanbore has over 270. In Gujarat, Little Rann of Kutch has a wide variety of birds in India, but is especially known for their bright-headed lesser flamingos. Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, with its freshwater lakes and saltwater creeks, has a unique habitat that is home to many marine birds. Gir National Park is yet another hot bird-watching spot in Gujarat.

Keep an eye out for: Lesser flamingos, greylag geese, sparrow larks, warblers, babblers, the black-necked stork, glossy ibis, bar-headed geese and the bird that wins the prize for the funniest name in this region, the Great Thick-Knee.

Bar-headed_Geese_(Anser_indicus)_with_Glossy_Ibis_(Plegadis_falcinellus)_at_Bharatpur_I_IMG_5647 Bar-Headed Geese   (via)

800px-Flickr_-_Rainbirder_-_Lesser_Flamingo_in_flightLesser Flamingo (via)

The Seven Sisters

There are birds named seven sisters – the jungle babblers, which are usually found in flocks of six to ten – but here, we’re talking about the seven states in the northeast of India, which has some of the richest flora and fauna in the country. The northeast is also one of the most beautiful parts of the world, let alone India. For bird-watching, Nameri National Park in Assam is a great place to start. From there, you could also head on to Arunachal Pradesh, which is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and home to Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many rare species of birds. It’s especially home to large number of smaller birds that can be spotted in large numbers in winter and spring. Nagaland’s state bird, the great hornbill, even has a festival named after it now. Sikkim, though not one of the Seven Sisters, is also well-known for bird-watching opportunities in India.

Keep an eye out for: bush robins, nuthatch, tits (stop sniggering, what are you, 12?), the ibis bill, woody ducks and the real prize, fire-tailed myzornis.

Great-HornbillGreat hornbill (via)

Myzornis_pyrrhoura_-Eaglenest_Wildlife_Sanctuary,_Arunachal_Pradesh,_India_-male-8Fire-tailed myzornis at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (via)

This is just the beginning for bird-watchers in India. There are many more incredible places to watch birds of India, especially along the Himalayas and the Western Ghats, notably Himachal Pradesh and Mysore. If all of that doesn’t sound like your kind of deal, there are plenty of beaches to explore where another kind of bird-watching could be right up your alley.

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