Kerala is known as God's Own Country for a reason. There is an abundance of everything nature has to offer and that includes some of the best bird sanctuaries in India. With over 28 percent of land covered by forests, you can't ask for anything more to enlighten your mind and mood while watching the 507 species of birds residing and migrating into the sanctuary.
If you are patient enough, the birds will guide you through these forest covers and reveal their location. Do keep your camera handy for some stunning and untouched shots of Mother Nature. We have listed some of the top bird sanctuaries of Kerala that will refresh and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
PC: Ashwin Kumar
Also known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, it is set in the Kumarakom backwaters along the banks of the Vembanad Lake. This is a favourite vacation spot for all the migratory birds. Managed by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.
You can hop onto a houseboat or motorboat as you set your exploration skills to test and see the birds in action. Spot local birds like the owl, herons, water duck, waterfowl, cuckoo and migratory Siberian duck. The months between June and August and November to February are the best times to visit this beautiful sanctuary.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
PC: Siyad A Karim
Fondly named after its designer Dr. Salim Ali, who was one of the most renowned ornithologists in India, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is spread over a vast area of 25 sq km featuring lush-green forests, rivers and wetlands.
The bird sanctuary houses more than 300 species of birds including many rare birds and plenty of migratory birds like the Malabar hornbills, fairy bluebirds, grey-headed fishing eagles, crimson-throated barbets, bee-eaters and grey hornbills. Catch the best action from October to February.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is the top visiting place for the migratory birds and a real paradise for bird lovers. The mangroves play the perfect host for these migratory birds. Altogether housing 194 birds from 32 species, you will fall in love with the stunning and beautiful natural surroundings of this sanctuary.
Some of the highlights are marsh sandpiper, brahminy kite, redshank, common greenshank, white-breasted waterhen, etc. The months of mid-January to early March give you the best glimpse of this lush-green forest cover.
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Formed over the island of the Kadalundi Puzha river kissing the Arabian Sea, this beautiful sanctuary plays home to over 100 species native birds and 60 migratory birds. There are boat tours to give the tourists a glimpse of this stunning forest. Some of the highlights are whimbrels, brahminy, herons, sandpipers, cormorants, gulls and tern. Witness the action live from December to April.
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary
Nestled amidst the dense tropical Chimmini forests that feature an abundance of flora and fauna, Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary is often referred to as the Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary. You will be short of words once you catch a glimpse of the dam across the Chimmini river. One of the favourite picnic spots that was established in 1984, the sanctuary is a part of the Peechi-Vazhani sanctuary. Featured in the world's top 25 biodiversity hotspots, you will not find less than 160 species of birds housed in this park.
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over a vast lavish area of 128 sq km on the south-west corner of the Western Ghats, the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary could be called a proper sanctuary only after 1985, even though it was established in 1958. The crystal-blue lake formed by the Neyyar Dam makes boating an irresistible activity here.
Home to close to 176 species of birds, you will never be bored of this fascinating location. Visiting this sanctuary is a perfect way to move away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city life.
Karimpuzha National Park
PC: N. A. Naseer
Often referred to as the Amarambalam Wildlife Sanctuary, Karimpuzha National Park is spread over a lavish green area of 230 sq km on the Nilgiri hills. It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve along with Silent Valley National Park and Mukurthi National Park.
Robert Wight discovered this park in 1847 and even after 170 years, it maintains its charm and elegance. Along with 858 species of fauna, the park also houses 292 species of birds like the blue-winged parakeet, white-bellied blue flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, broad-tailed grass warbler and Nilgiri wood pigeon.
Mathikettan Shola National Park
Covering an incredible area of 12.82 sq km in the Poopara village, Idukki district of Kerala, Mathikettan Shola National Park is one of the recent yet most attractive national parks in India. "Mathikettan" refers to "mind confuser" in Tamil; the name is derived from the fact that one gets lost once they enter the park.
The park has several adventurous trails and a rich biodiversity that runs through the heart of the forest. This park is often considered a haven for wildlife photographers.
Anamudi Shola National Park
PC: Soumya benarjee
Anamudi Shola National Park is placed in a protected area along the Western Ghats in Idukki, Kerala and comprises of the Idivara shola, Pullardi shola and Mannavan shola, spanning a total area of 7.5 sq km.
Monitored and preserved by the Department of Forests and Wildlife in Kerala, Anamudi Shola National Park is nestled amidst Pampadum Shola National Park, Kurinjimala Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park and Mathikettan Shola National Park from all corners. The Annamalai sub-cluster was recently nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park houses close to 76 species of birds and other wildlife species.
Pampadum Shola National Park
PC: Jaseem Hamza
Pampadum Shola National Park is the smallest of all national parks in Kerala administered by the Department of Forests and Wildlife of Kerala. In Tamil, the name refers to "the forest where the snake dances". Some of the key highlights of this park are the vernal hanging parrot, Nilgiri flycatcher, blue-capped rock-thrush, black-and-orange flycatchers, Nilgiri wood pigeon and white bellied shortwing.
The fantastic beauty of this ecotourism destination will captivate you. A bright blue sky, fresh air, thick foliage and lush-green meadows are some things that are vying for attention.