India is a magnificent land that is gifted with an abundance of natural resources like lush forests, majestic mountains and glorious waterfalls, that are dotted with diverse wildlife, sometimes exclusive to India.
These animals and birds are maintained in many sanctuaries by the government, as an attempt to preserve the wildlife and allow the citizens to visit these places and know the rich treasures of the country. This article gives you a sneak-peek into a number of less explored bird sanctuaries in India that you must visit, especially if you love watching beautiful and rare fleets of birds.
Although most of these places are open throughout the year, visiting these bird sanctuaries during their migratory period is advised, since rare or endangered birds of many species can be witnessed.
Also Read: Must-Visit Places In India For Birdwatchers
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
Thattekad literally translates to "flat forest". It is a small sanctuary that is spread across an area of just 25 sq km, and located 64 km from Kochi. It is a low-land evergreen forest that is nestled amidst the many tributaries of River Periyar, which is the longest river of Kerala.
Thattekad is home to over 500 species of birds such as Malabar Grey Hornbill, Orange-headed Thrush, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Emerald-green Pigeons to name a few. The sanctuary is open throughout the year from 6 am to 6 pm, with an entry fee of Rs 10 only.
PC: Lip Kee
Samaspur Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Situated in Rae Bareli district near Salon, Uttar Pradesh, Samaspur is a bird sanctuary that was established in 1987. The sanctuary has over 250 species of birds, 11 fish species and trees like Mango, Mahuwa and Shesham.
Some of the migratory birds that fly to Samaspur between winter months of November to March are Greylag Goose, Northern Shoveler, Pintail and Common Teal. Some of the local birds that can be found mostly throughout the year are Eurasian Spoonbill, Lesser Whistling Duck, Kingfisher to name a few.
PC: Koshy Koshy
Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh
Pulicat Lake is India's second largest lagoon, that is settled on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Flamingos are the largest number of migratory birds that flock to Pulicat, with nearly 15,000 of them crowding the lake every year!
Apart from flamingos, Pulicat Lake is home to Open-billed Storks and Grey Pelicans that is found throughout the year. Migratory birds such as Black-tailed Godwits, Reef Herons, etc., flock to the lake during autumn and spirng seasons every year. The sanctuary is open from 6 AM to 6 PM.
Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, West Bengal
Located just 20 km from the bustling city of Kolkata, Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary is a favoured weekend destination that is known for its birds, butterflies, orchids and ferns. It is home to rare species of birds such as Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Streak-throated Woodpecker, etc.
The forests of the sanctuary consists of Jackfruit, Tamarind, Guava, Ficus trees, since it used to be an abandoned orchard. It is open from 7 AM to 4 PM, with an entry fee of Rs 40 per head.
PC: Srikaanth Sekar
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat
More than 200 species of beautiful birds flock to the Nal Sarovar during the months of November to February. It is located around 65 km from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and was founded in April 1969.
Apart from birds such as Rosy Pelican, Flamingo, White Stork, Ruddy Shelduck, the sanctuary is also home to endangered animals likes Wild Ass and Blackbuck.
There is a beautiful lake inside the Nal Sarovar, which has boating facilities for visitors to go for bird-watching. The sanctuary is open from 6 am to 5.30 pm and the entry fee is Rs 60 per head.
PC: Sheetal Kulkarni
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Located in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, Nawabganj is a wetland that is an abode of 250 species of migratory birds. These birds migrate from far-flung to neighbouring places such as Siberia, Europe, Himalayas and China.
Some of the migratory birds that fly to this sanctuary are Red-crested Pochard, Coot, Mallard, Cotton Teal to name a few. Resident birds found here include Peafowl, White Ibis, Indian Roller, Painted Stork, etc.
PC: Lauren Tucker
Najafgarh Drain Bird Sanctuary, Delhi
The lush sanctuary passes through South-west Delhi near the town of Najafgarh. The Najafgarh drain is a tributary of River Yamuna, and the sanctuary is named after this drain. It invites over 5000 birds of many species such as Painted Stork, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-necked Stork and Sarus Crane.
Apart from birds, the sanctuary is home to animals such as Jackal, Fox, Porcupine and Nilgai. Winter is the best time to visit the Najafgarh bird sanctuary. Since it is located in the pulsating city of Delhi, it makes for a great weekend destination.
PC: Bart Van Dorp