15 Most Famous Bird Sanctuaries in India to Visit & Enjoy
India has a variety of flora and fauna as nature has been very kind and has endowed us with the varied landscape – mountains, plains, and plateaus. It is a vibrant ecosystem with ample food for many types of birds, making it an ideal place to set up bird sanctuaries in India. A person, who likes bird watching, can find several types of Himalayan species and also some inhabitant avian species of the Indian subcontinent in the famous sanctuaries Government of India has set up to ensure conservation and protection of the species of birds. One can enjoy peaceful bird watching and at the same time have an exotic holiday in the lap of nature. If you have been looking for details regarding the same, this is an informative article for you. Here is a comprehensive list of bird sanctuaries in India for you to use in order to plan your next travel.
Below are the top 15 bird sanctuaries in India that are very popular.
1. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary:
Sultanpur is the home for several species of colorful birds and is one the most famous bird sanctuaries in India. It is located in the Gurgaon area of Haryana. It is not very large but is known for its diversity which gives a home to all these birds. There is also a freshwater lake in the sanctuary. Many Himalayan species come to this lake from northern neighboring countries, including predatory birds.
- Birds found: predatory birds, parrots, and other macaws.
- Timings: 8 am to 6:30 pm
- Entry fee: 5/- for Indians, 40/- for Foreigners, 2/- for children, 10/- for still camera, 500/- for a video camera
2. Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary:
Out of the many national bird sanctuaries in India, this one is a very popular national park too (also called Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) which showcases wide diversity of avian species, as high as 230 varieties, that reside in this park. It is also a world heritage site and is exceptionally beautiful in winters when Himalayan migratory birds flock to the region. This is a famous destination, and Rajasthan state hosts thousands of people only for this park.
- Birds found: Egrets, Eagles, Sarus Cranes, Peacocks, Painted Storks, etc
- Timings: Summer – 6 am to 6 pm; winter – 6:30 am to 5 pm
- Entry fee: 50/- for Indians, 250/- for Foreigners, 200/- per car
3. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary:
One of the best bird sanctuary in India, this is where a person can find several types of diversity amongst the avian species. This park has low mangrove forests which are at the banks of the famous river Mandovi in Goa and hence the park can be reached on a ferry. It is a colorful forest full of bird sounds with a multitude of bird sightings too. A simple walk in the woods can ensure good sightings.
- Birds found: Striated Heron, Western Reef Heron, Pelican, Jack Snipe, Red knot, Flamingos
- Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
- Entry fee: 10/- for Indians, 100/- for Foreigners, 25/- for still camera and 150/- for the video camera
4. Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary:
Situated on the banks of river Kaveri in Karnataka, this park was declared ‘sanctuary’ in the 1940s. It is located 16km North of Mysore. About 170 bird species have been identified to be nesting here. This place is a top-rated attraction for many people who like to see the Brindavan gardens and also the adjoining popular water dams of this area.
- Birds found: River Tern, the Snake Bird, Painted Stork, Asian Open bill Stork, Oriental darter, etc.
- Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
- Entry fee: 50/- for Indians, 300/- for Foreigners, 30/- per car
5. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:
This is also known as Vembanad Park and is a popular tourist attraction of Kerala. Since this is situated near Vembanad Lake, one can see several colorful varieties of flying species here. It is about 14 km from the city of Kottayam. There is a state government run hotel in the middle of the park and also an interpretation center for the tourists. A person can also see the popularly known Flycatcher, Siberian Crane, and Wood Beetle.
- Birds found: waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, heron, moorhen, cormorant, Brahminy Kite
- Timing: 6:30 am to 5 pm
- Entry fee: 50/ per person
6. Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary:
This is situated at Begusarai district, Bihar and at three times the size of Bharatpur Sanctuary; it is nearly the largest bird sanctuary in India. There are 106 resident birds here, and about 60 species come as migratory birds every winter from Siberia. There are also other scenic attractions here like the forests of the adjoining areas.
- Birds found: Oriental white-backed vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Greater Spotted Eagle, etc.
- Timings: 7 am to 6 pm
- Entry fee: none
7. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary:
Situated in the Kancheepuram district, this is a 74-acre sanctuary where 40,000 plus migratory birds come every year, including 26 species of the rare kind. It is almost the first bird sanctuary in India. The best part about this sanctuary is, the locals play an active role in preserving the lakes so that the migratory birds can come to every year and nest properly.
- Birds found: sandpipers, herons, egrets, pintails, shovellers, terns, Garganeys, open-billed stork, etc.
- Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
- Entry fee: 25/- for adults and 5/- for children, 25/- for a camera and 10/- for parking
8. Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary:
This is amongst the most popular spots in India because the huge lagoon is the most substantial ground for migratory birds in India and also the biggest bird sanctuary in India. The migratory birds from as far as Russia and Mongolia, even from Laddakh and central Asia come here for nesting. 45% of the total birds are terrestrial, and 32% are waterfowl.
- Birds found: white-bellied sea eagles, purple moorhen, Graylag geese. Also, this is a place rich in fauna, making it one of the most popular birds and animals sanctuaries in India.
- Timings: No entry time
- Entry fee: none
9. Sitanadi National Park:
This favorite park is in Dhamtari district, Chattisgarh. A person can also find other types of wildlife here apart from birds, but it is a little risky due to Naxal violence in the area. This park has the potential to become a great tourist attraction in central India. With more than 175 species of inhabiting and migratory birds, it is one of the most under-explored national parks and bird sanctuaries in India.
- Birds found: Drongo, Whistling Teal, Jungle fowl, Barbet, bulbul, Peacocks, etc
- Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
- Entry fee: 100/- for Foreigners
10. Dhumkal National Park:
This is in Gujarat and is now known as Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and is both birds and animals sanctuaries in India. It is in Bharuch district and is in the heart of dense forests around the river. Monsoons are an excellent time to see this park. A lot of wildlife inhabits this park apart from birds.
- Birds found: migratory birds, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, sparrow hawk, gray hornbill.
- Timings: open all hours
- Entry fee: 30/- for Indians, 100/- for Foreigners, 35/- for vehicles
11. Kaundinya Bird Sanctuary:
This is in Andhra Pradesh, also popular for Asian elephants. The threatened species of birds like the vulnerable yellow-throated bulbul also houses in this park. Notable freshwater streams here are the Kaigal and Kaundinya. One can also see the Kolleru Lake here.
- Birds found: yellow-throated bulbul, grey and rosy pelicans, pied hornbills, love birds, budgerigars
- Timings: 7 am to 5 pm
- Entry fee: Contact the forest officer of the area for details
12. Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary:
This is very popular for its lake. Located 65 km from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, it is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in India, and the biggest bird sanctuary in India. The beautiful lake is good to go between November to February. It was declared a national park in the year 1969.
- Birds found: Over 250 species including purple moorhen, pelicans, flamingos, cranes, grebes, brahminy ducks, herons, etc.
- Timings: 6 am to 5:30 pm
- Entry fee: 60/- per person and 100/- per camera. Sailing fee 220/- and personal boat 1320/- per boat.
13. Mayani Bird Sanctuary:
This is in the Satara District of Maharashtra. Tourists can also take a pet safari ride and see these in some preserved areas. The over-flown water from the Mayani dam makes a crescent-shaped water body called the Chand Nadi and Siberian flamingos, and other migratory birds nest around this area.
- Birds found: northern shoveller, stork, kingfisher, Siberian flamingo
- Timings: 7 am to 9 pm
- Entry fee: No fees if entering on foot. Drive through from Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary will cost 10/- entry fee (2 wheeled vehicles) and 20/- per person for people in a car.
14. Thol National Park:
This is popular for its species and also has attractive lake areas which tourists can see. This is situated in Gujrat near the human-made Thol lake in Mehsana district which was initially constructed as an irrigation tank. It was declared a sanctuary in 1988 when it was understood that 150 species of birds call it home and 60% out of them are water birds.
- Birds found: Flamingoes, Sarus crane, great white pelicans, mallards and geese, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, etc
- Timings: 6 am to 5:30 pm
- Entry fee: 100/- per person, 150/- camera charges.
15. Bondla National Park:
This is another favourite bird preservation park in Goa. A person can find several varieties of even endangered avian species here. It a small park, only 8 square kilometres and a popular destination for school children. In a number of bird sanctuaries in India, Bondla finds a place of mention because of an inclusive mini zoo, deer safari park, and ecotourism cottages.
- Birds found: Indian peafowl, kingfisher, woodpecker, yellow bulbul, hornbill, etc.
- Entry fee: 2/ for children, 5/- per person, 80/- per person for elephant ride, 25/- camera charges, 100/- for video camera.
- Best time to visit Bird Sanctuaries: Ideally, for all sanctuaries, the timings differ because the inhabitants of the sanctuaries differ in nature. But as a consensus, rainy season after the initial heavy rains, say, August onwards is good for spotting birds living in the sanctuaries and winters, say, from October onwards until the end of spring (by March) is a generally good time to see migratory birds in full glory. Usually, summers make the birds miserable and it is too uncomfortable for you are a tourist too, to visit a bird sanctuary. Pick cooler days for a great eco-holiday!
These are all the national bird sanctuaries in India. The best way to spend a holiday is definitely with nature! When you visit one of these popular national parks and bird sanctuaries in India, do share your feedback and motivate others for such simple yet endearing holidays too! When awareness increases, only then the will to celebrate and conserve nature also increases. Share this information as much as you can so that more and more people turn nature-lovers. It is also important for our future generation to appreciate nature, so take the kids along too.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
1. What is the need for declaring a forest a national park or bird sanctuary?
Ans: It is important to declare the patch of forest a national park or sanctuary so that it can be effectively conserved and the flora and fauna retained in situ, as the threats of deforestation, loss of habitat for animals and birds, exploitation of fauna in form of excessive hunting etc can wipe out many species of plants and animals.
2. How many bird sanctuaries in India actively working for bird conservation?
Ans: India has about 60 bird sanctuaries, in which 11 is the maximum number in a state and that state is Karnataka. There are many sanctuaries dedicated to bird conservation in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat as well. These sanctuaries are facilities to provide a safe and natural habitat for birds so that they can live freely and naturally in their preferred eco-system.
3. What to carry when going on a holiday to a bird sanctuary?
Ans: Don’t forget to pack comfortable clothes (preferably cotton fabric) in muted colors (not white) as the bright colors scare birds. Carry caps, sunglasses and binoculars for bird watching. Never forget a handy water bottle and some small snacks for the walks in the woods, but never litter and stay very quiet in the jungle if you want to spot some birds.
4. Can one do day trips to a bird sanctuary?
Ans: There are many famous bird sanctuaries in India. Indeed! It is very easy and convenient to do a day trip or maybe even a weekend trip to a bird sanctuary and you need not worry about taking many leaves from school or work either. A day trip to a bird sanctuary is practical if the sanctuary is up to 3 hours drive from your city. Make sure you carry the appropriate stuff and travel light so that you have the freedom to roam about the entire day without worrying too much about the luggage.
5. What factors should be kept in mind while bird watching?
Ans: Bird watching is an art which requires patience and perseverance. Carry a guide and mark the pages which are likely to be found in the area for quick and easy reference. Never make noise or sudden movements. Carry a camera (which doesn’t make a noise while clicking and remember to switch the flash off) to shoot the beautiful winged creatures! Always have a pair of binoculars handy so that you can observe the birds closely.