Bird Watching Places in India

12 Must Visit Destinations in India for Bird Watching Enthusiasts

As children, we used to be fascinated by the birds of many colours – perched on branches of trees in the neighborhood, or chirping around carefree in the verandah of our homes. Seeing the birds soar across the sky sent many of us on flights of fantasy.

The neighborhoods aren’t the same anymore as they once used to be, and the apartments have replaced the spacious homes with verandahs, but the joy of seeing these gentle creatures still remains the same.

With its varying geography and climate, India is a blessed land – our country is home to an astonishing 1300 species of avian life. And come winters, the migratory birds of Central Asia fly down to the country in order to escape the harsh climatic conditions of their habitats.

Whether you are an avid bird watcher, or just a person who want to spend some time in nature, we have a list of destination compiled for you – these are the places birds flock in plenty and you shall be happy to head there as well!

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

With over 1200 species of birds, Uttarakhand is the state with highest bird diversity in India – making it a favorite destination of bird watching enthusiasts.

A one hour drive away from the town of Almora, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary alone has recorded the presence of 200 bird species. On a trek through the pine trees and rhododendron forests of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, you can treat your eyes to breathtaking views of the peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchachuli, while spotting multitudes of birds as you proceed.

Rufous Sibia (Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary)
Rufous Sibia (Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary)

Birds Found – One can effortlessly observe Bar Tailed Tree Creeper, Blue Whistling Thrush, Brown Footed Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Rufous Sibia, White Tailed Nuthatch, Kalij Pheasant, Himalayan Vulture, etc. in the wilderness of Binsar

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – New Delhi
  • Nearest Railway Station – Kathgodam
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Now known as the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, this bird sanctuary, located in Eastern Rajasthan, is a popular weekend getaway from Delhi. It is home to around 366 species of birds, 379 species of plants, and around 30 mammals.

Bird family in the park include hundreds of aquatic birds that are natives of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia.

Saras Cranes (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary)
Saras Cranes (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Saras Cranes, Pelicans, Geese, Grey Heron, Ducks, Eagles, Brown long eared bat, Hawks, Shanks, Stints, Garganey Teal, Wagtails, Warblers,etc. can be spotted here.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Agra, Delhi, Jaipur
  • Nearest Railway Station – Bharatpur
  • Best Time to Visit: August to November for watching resident birds and October to March for spotting migratory birds.

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

A natural lake that was declared as a bird sanctuary, Nalsarovar is best known for the vivid birds that come here to escape the harsh Siberian winters.

It is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat. Apart from birds, other prominent wildlife species and rare plants can also be observed here.

Brahmany ducks or Ruddy Shelduck (Nalsarovar bird sanctuary)
Brahmany ducks or Ruddy Shelduck (Nalsarovar bird sanctuary)

Birds Found – One can spot Siberian Waterfowl, Godwit, Grebe, Pelicans, Kingfisher, Purple Moorhen, Brahmany duck and many species of osprey, harriers, flamingoes, pelicans, storks, ibises, fishing eagles, etc.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Ahmedabad
  • Nearest Railway Station – Viramgam, Ahemdabad
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary

Chilika Lake in Orissa is Asia’s largest inland salt water lake. It is spread across the district of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Orissa. It is an important ecological system that is home to many species of aquatic and non – aquatic plants and animals.

It is dotted with some tiny islands – out of which Mangalajodi, Nalabana and Bird Island are of great interest to lovers of wildlife and winged creatures.

Purple Moorhen (Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary)
Purple Moorhen (Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary is also one of biggest breeding places of flamingos in the world. One can also witness White bellied sea eagles, Graylag geese, purple moorhen, jacana, herons and other birds here.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Bhuwaneshwar
  • Nearest Railway Station – Balugaon
  • Best Time to Visit: November to February

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Also called the Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, the variety of birds in this small bird sanctuary is incredible! This sanctuary has six islets where many birds can be spotted while you are on a boat ride.

Egret (Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary)
Egret (Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Migratory water birds including Painted Stork, Asian Open bill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Indian Shag, and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, Oriental Darter, and herons. Large flocks of Streak-throated Swallows are a common sight here.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Bangalore
  • Nearest Railway Station – Mysore, Srirangapatna
  • Best Time to Visit: Round the year. While winter is considered the best season, you will be happy to come here at any time of the year!

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kerala is God’s own country and God has blessed his land with probably everything that signifies natural beauty – be it mountains or waterfalls, beaches or jungles.

Bird watching enthusiasts are in for a treat as well – head to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kottayam located on the eastern banks of Vembanad is place worth visiting for all birding enthusiasts.

Brahminy Kite (Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary)
Brahminy Kite (Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Spot Moorhens, owls, cuckoos, brahminy kites, teals, flycatchers, larks, darters, cormorants, egrets, waterfowls, herons along with Siberian cranes. Also witness Indian Darter, Little Cormorant, different species of egrets and herons, White Ibis and several species of kingfishers here.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Cochin
  • Nearest Railway Station – Kottayam
  • Best Time to Visit: November to February for migratory birds. A visit between June to August is also a great option as this is the breeding season of the resident wetland birds.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Vedanthangal in Tamil translates into ‘hamlet of hunter’, the name being a reminder of the early 1700’s when this was a favorite hunting ground for rich landlords.

It is the oldest bird sanctuary of India, and its small lakes and water bodies attract a large variety of birds.

 A Grey Heron in action at Vedanthangal
A Grey Heron in action at Vedanthangal

Birds Found – One can see the Open billed stork, Spot billed Pelican, Great Cormorants, Painted Storks, Asian Open Bill, Black winged kite, Brahmany Kite and other species in action. Among the waterfowls it is easy to spot White Ibis, Night Heron, Darter, Snakebird, etc.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Chennai
  • Nearest Railway Station – Chennai
  • Best Time to Visit: November to February

Namdapha National Park

The Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in India. It is a very significant Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. Located in Arunachal Pradesh, the national park borders with Myanmar and has been declared as a tiger reserve as well.

It is home to many delightful winged creatures too – around 400 species of birds have been spotted in Namdapha.

Rufous necked Hornbill (Namdapha National Park)
Rufous necked Hornbill (Namdapha National Park)

Birds Found – White Winged Wood Duck, Rufus necked Hornbills, Ibis bills, white-bellied Herons, Satyr Tragopans, Kalij, Monal Pheasants, Blue-napped Pittas, Snowy-throated babblers, Jungle fowls, Forest Eagle Owl, Cochoas, Ward’s Trogons and Nuthatches can be seen in Namdapha.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Dibrugarh (Assam)
  • Nearest Railway Station – Tinsukia (Assam)
  • Best Time to Visit: October to April

Nameri National Park

Located in the foothills of Eastern Himalaya, the Nameri National Park of Assam is yet another paradise for birders. The Pakhui (Pakke) Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh adjoins Nameri on its North-eastern point and together they are home to over 300 species of birds.

Three toed kingfisher (Nameri National Park)
Three toed kingfisher (Nameri National Park)

Birds Found – The presence of White winged wood duck, Great Pied Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous Necked Hornbill, Black Stork, Ibis Bill, Large Whistling Teal, Common Mergernser, King Vulture, Himalayan pied Kingfisher, Three Toed kingfisher, Fairly Blue Bird etc has been marked in Nameri.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Guwahati
  • Nearest Railway Station – Rangapara
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Little Rann of Kutch

Known as the habitat of the Asiatic Wild Ass, the Little Rann Of Kutch is a place with rich biodiversity, given the fact that its terrain varies from saline desert plains, rocky and thorn scrub, arid grasslands, plateaus to lakes and marshes.

It is also home to many species of small and large mammals that include Black buck, Indian wolf, desert fox, etc. The sanctuary provides an important feeding, breeding and roosting habitat for a large number of birds.

A flock of Flamingoes (Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary)
A flock of Flamingoes (Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Expect large flocks of larks, and other dryland birds like sandgrouse, coursers, plovers, chats, warblers, babblers, shrikes. Flamingos, pelicans, storks, ibises, spoonbill, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl can be seen at the wetlands. The Little Rann is one of the few places where harriers can be seen roosting on open-ground at night.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Rajkot
  • Nearest Railway Station – Dhrangdhara
  • Best Time to Visit: During the winter months from October to March, birds flock in large droves along the lakes and marshes.

Mahadei Wild Life Sanctuary

The name Goa evokes images of beaches and parties in one’s mind. But there is more to Goa beyond sea and sand (we love it though!). Located in the Western Ghats of Goa is Mahadei Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

There are proposals to declare it as a tiger reserve as well, due to their considerable presence in certain pockets. Mahadei Wildlife Sanctuary has also been identified as an International Bird Area.

Crimson Backed Sunbird (Mahadei National Park)
Crimson Backed Sunbird (Mahadei National Park)

Birds Found – The presence of 255 species of birds have been recorded here, which include Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Grey-headed Bulbul, Rufous Babbler, White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Malabar flying frog, Glassy tiger and many more.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Panaji
  • Nearest Railway Station – Madgaon Railway station
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Named after the famous ornithologist, Goa’s only Bird sanctuary is situated on the Western tip of Chorao island along the river Mandovi. The area is covered with mangrove swamps; native and migratory species of birds flock here.

Pied Avocet (Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary)
Pied Avocet (Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary)

Birds Found – Striated heron, Western reef heron, the little bittern, black bittern, red knot, jack snipe and pied avocet, etc. are among the many species recorded here.

How to Reach:
  • Nearest Airport – Panaji
  • Nearest Railway Station – Madgaon/Thivim
  • Best Time to Visit: Open throughout the year, but avoid high tide days when the water channels around the sanctuary make it difficult to reach via boat.

Most of the national parks and bird sanctuaries have their own websites from where you can get details of opening and closing times, entry fees, etc.

Birding or bird watching is not just a one-time thing. Once you get the hang of it, you will surely love to expand your knowledge of avian life and go out to see more birds.

It can be taken up as a relaxing solo pursue or a group activity. There are many apps and websites that can help you in this direction; and needless to mention, a good pair of binoculars will be extremely useful as well!

Above all, bird watching is a passion that connects one with nature, inculcates patience and urges you to explore new terrains. You can begin by pursuing in the vicinity of your home, and progress to use it as a reason to TravelAmple!

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