Top 20 Bird Sanctuaries in India for Bird Lovers

There are very few sights that delight the senses as much as birds. They are one of the many gifts that nature has bestowed upon us. The bird sanctuaries in India house a wide variety of exotic bird species. From ornithologists to laymen, they attract everybody. It’s estimated that India is home to over 1200 species of birds, and most of them can be viewed in these wildlife sanctuaries, especially known for the feathery species.

From the Great Indian Hornbill to the Great Indian Bustard, a thriving population of birds calls India home. Check out the list of the amazing bird sanctuaries to go bird-watching in India in 2020-21.

1. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan

If you are an avid bird lover, then Keoladeo Ghana National Park or the commonly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is where you need to be. It has been inscribed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its natural importance and extreme bio diversity. Visiting this bird sanctuary lets you behold over 366 species of birds.

Among the various kinds of bird species found here, the most famous ones are geese, pelicans, crane, ducks, eagles, hawks, shanks, stints and wagtails, herons, storks and cormorants among others. Apart from the birds, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also home to several kinds of wildlife like nilgai, sambar, chital, and boar. The major highlight of this bird sanctuary is the sight of Sarus Crane who live here throughout the year.

Location: Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur Road, Rajasthan

Entry Fee:

  • Indians: INR 50
  • Foreigners: INR 400

Timings: 8 am to 5 pm

Major Attractions: Bicycle rides, tonga ride, species of mammals and birds, gift center for souvenirs, short walks to reconnect with nature

Best Time to visit: December to February

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is located in Agra (56 km approx.) from Bharatpur. Delhi airport is 184 km from Bharatpur.
  • By Rail – Bharatpur is well connected with other major cities by rail like Delhi, Mumbai, and Agra. Bharatpur Railway Station is just 5 km away from the bird sanctuary.
  • By Road – Great network of roads connects Bharatpur with all the major cities of Rajasthan as well as other cities. Reach the bird sanctuary from Delhi, Agra, Haryana, and Jaipur.

2. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Kumarakom in Kerala is famous for many things, and one of them is Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, it spread over an area of 14 acres of lush dense greenery. Counted among the famous bird sanctuaries in India, it attracts bird lovers in large numbers.

One can spot numerous species of resident and seasonal birds here. The pristine Pathiramanal Island on the lake is a perfect spot for migratory birds coming from Siberia and Russia. The other kinds of birds found here range from woodpeckers, parrots, and teals to owls and kingfishers.

Birdwatching in Kumarakom is made special, above all by the amazing opportunity to enjoy backwater rides.

Location: Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom, Kerala

Entry Fee:

  • Indians: INR 50
  • Foreigners: INR 100

Timings: 6.30 am to 5 pm

Major Attractions: Birds like waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron, and the water duck are the most popular attractions. Migratory bird Siberian cranes are the highlight in winter.

Best Time to visit: June to August, to witness migratory birds visit from November to February

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport (38 km approx.), which is connected to all major Indian cities. Hire a taxi to reach the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Kottayam railway station is connected to major cities in India. It is located approximately 12 km from the bird sanctuary.
  • By Road – You can easily plan a road trip to the sanctuary from Kottayam (13 km away). Local cabs and taxis are easily available. You can also hire private transport to reach the location.

Explore Packages to Plan your Trip to Kumarakom

3. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, spread over an area of 1.43sq.km, is another bird reserve located in Haryana. One of the most popular bird sanctuaries in India, its home to more than 250 species of resident and migratory birds.

The bird reserve in India receives a large number of migratory birds from Siberia, Russia, Turkey and Eastern Europe during the winters. The various kinds of birds housed here range from red collared dove, rock pigeon, white-throated kingfisher and great egret, among others.

Location: Gurgaon Farukh Nagar Rd, Sultanpur, Gurugram, Haryana

Entry Fee:

  • Indian Adult: INR 5
  • Children (5 to 11 years of age): INR 2
  • Foreigners: INR 40

Timings:

  • Summer – 6.30 am to 6 pm
  • Winter – 6.30 am to 4.30 pm

Major Attractions: Museum, watchtowers, interpretation centers, and libraries.

Best Time to visit: October to February

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport (48 km approx.). Taxis are available from here to each sanctuary.
  • By Rail – The nearest railhead is located in Delhi (46 km). It is very well-connected to all the main cities in India.
  • By Road – State-owned buses operate between Delhi to Gurgaon. The road connectivity is really good with other cities.

4. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa

Happen to be a bird lover? Then a visit to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary must definitely be on your bucket list. Named after the famous ornithologist Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali, this narrow stretch of mangrove forest lies along the estuarine part of Mandovi River and the western tip of Chorao Island in Goa.

The bird sanctuary in Goa is accessible by a regular ferry service. There is a bird watching tower which allows visitors to observe a different variety of birds like woodpeckers, sandpipers, kingfishers and white egrets, besides others. Besides birding, bird watching, you can easily enjoy a visit to various kinds of animals. In addition to the avians, the inhabitants include marsh crocodiles, cormorants, drongos, and jackals, among others.

Location: Chorao Island, Ilhas, Ribandar, Goa

Entry Fee:

  • Indians: INR 10
  • Foreigners: INR 100

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Major Attractions: A three-storeyed watchtower to facilitate bird watching, Mapusa and Mandovi river, hiking, Chorao Island, boat ride

Best Time to visit: October to March

How to Reach:

  • By Air – You can reach Goa airport from other states and transfer to Charao Island via ferry.
  • By Rail – Madgaon station and Thivim station are the top stations to reach Goa. You can find direct trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, and other cities. Once reached, find buses or cabs to reach the ferry wharf.
  • By Road – Goa is connected with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, and more. Reach Goa and transfer to the ferry to reach the sanctuary.
  • Take a ferry ride across the Mandovi river to reach Chorao Island. Buses and cabs from various parts of Goa are available, particularly in Panaji to reach Ribandar ferry wharf.

Explore Packages to Plan your trip to Goa

5. Kaundinya Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Kaundinya Bird Sanctuary is one of the must-visit places for bird watching in India, and visiting here is a delight for nature lovers. Located about 86km from Horsley Hills and stretching over 358sq. km, this sanctuary is renowned for its rich biodiversity.

The various types of birds which can be found here include rosy pelicans, pumas, jungle cats and monitor lizards, apart from others. In addition, the wildlife reserve is also home to a wide variety of wildlife such as porcupines, sloth bears, tigers and pumas, to name a few.

Location: Near Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh

Entry Fee: NA

Timings: 7 am to 5 pm

Major Attractions: Elephant and jeep safaris, Kalyan Revu Waterfall, Kaigal Falls, Palar river, species of plants and trees, such as Indian sandalwood, figs, crape myrtle, wattles, and bamboo, sloth bear, panther, chital, sambar, jungle cat, and jackal.

Best Time to visit: October to May

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The closest airport is located at 120 km in Bangalore. Catch a bus or taxi to reach the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – The nearest railway station is located in Vellore (65 km). It is connected with major cities. Once you reach, take a taxi to reach the sanctuary.
  • By Road – This wildlife sanctuary is very-well connected by road from Bangalore at 120 km approx. and from Chittoor at 50 km approx.

6. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu

The “hamlet of the hunters” translates to Vedanthangal, in the local language. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu is located in Kanchipuram and is counted amongst the oldest bird sanctuaries in India. The sanctuary is spread over 30 acres of land and is visited by almost 40,000 migratory birds every year.

The best time to visit the sanctuary is between the months of October to January. On visiting this sanctuary, the various kinds of birds you will come across are pintails, common sandpipers, spoonbills, and grey wagtails, apart from many others.

Location: Vedanthangal, Madurantakam, Tamil Nadu

Entry Fee:

  • Adults: INR 25
  • Children above 5 years: INR 5

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Major Attractions: Witness 30000 birds of 200 species including Darters, Paddy Bird, Moorhen, Egrets, Painted Stork, Sandpiper, and Pond Heron.

Best Time to visit: November to March

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The closest airport is located at approximately 61 km in Chennai. You can ride the bus or hire a taxi to reach the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Chengalpattu Railway Station is the closest railway station located at a distance of 26 km. The significant junction is located at Chennai, which connects Tamil Nadu to all major cities in India.

By Road – Vedanthangal is around 30 km from Chennai. Hire a taxi or ride a bus from Chengalpattu and Chennai.

Explore Packages to Plan your Trip to Tamil Nadu

7. Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Orissa

Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary lays claim to being the largest brackish water lake in Asia. Apart from its natural beauty which is a spectacular sight to come across, its also visited by a wide variety of birds. Chilika Lake in Odisha is visited by over 160 species of birds, especially in the peak season, which is between November and February.

The various kinds of birds which you have a chance of spotting here are gulls, flamingos, white-bellied sea eagles, and ospreys, apart from others. Many migratory birds from Central Asia, Iran and Siberia also visit the lake.

Location: Nalaban, Odisha

Entry Fee: INR 15 per person

Timings: 7 am to 5 pm

Major Attractions: Boat ride in the lake to visit beacon island and bird island. Also, watch the migratory birds and the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins.

Best Time to visit: October to March

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is located 120 km at Bhubaneswar away. Taxis are available towards the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Balugaon is the nearest rail station situated on the Howrah-Chennai track.
  • By Road – Many buses run from Bhubaneswar (Baramunda Bus Station) and Cuttack (Badambadi Bus Station) to Balugaon the whole day. State-run buses have frequent and the fastest services.

Explore Packages to Plan your Trip to Odisha

8. Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, Gujarat

Another beautiful bird sanctuary in India is the Kutch Great Indian Bustard in Gujarat. Its popularity, as is quite evident, is due to the fact that its home to a significant population of Great Indian Bustard – a neutral-colored ground-dwelling bird species with a long neck and ostrich-legs long legs. Apart from the Great Indian Bustard, the other kinds of birds found in Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary include Houbara Bustards, florican Bustard, and Macqueen’s Bustards, among others. Nilagais, chinkaras, jungle cats and desert cats are also found here.

Location: Jakhau, Gujarat

Entry Fee: Free Entry

Timings: Open on all days, from sunrise to sunset

Major Attractions: Great Indian Bustard, Mc Queen’s Bustard, Stoliczkas, Merlins, Lesser Florican, and Bush Chats.

Best Time to visit: October to March

How to Reach:

  • By Air – Ahmedabad is the nearest airport located 110 km away.
  • By Rail – The nearest railway station is Naliya railway station located 22 km away from the sanctuary.
  • By Road – There is great road connectivity to Gujarat’s Jakhau area. Naliya is the closest bus stand to the sanctuary located 20 km away.

Explore Packages to Plan your Trip to Rann of Kutch

 

9. Mayani Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra

Mayani Bird Sanctuary, located in close proximity to Vaduj town of Maharashtra, is a favorable tourist destination for those who love bird watching. It’s a wetland ecosystem very rich in biodiversity that helps the growth of scattered forests and cactus.

Mayani Bird Sanctuary is home to almost 400 migratory birds which can be spotted during the winter season between the months of November to January. Some of the birds found here include painted storks, black ibis, kingfishers and brahmini ducks, besides others.

Location: SH76, Kankatre, Maharashtra

Entry Fee: INR 15 per person

Timings: 7 am to 9 pm

Major Attractions: Migratory birds like Brahminy Ducks, Black Ibis, Flamingos, and Painted Storks.

Best Time to visit: August to October

How to Reach:

  • By Air – Mumbai is the nearest international airport. Pune is the closest domestic airport. Once reached, you can hire a bus or taxi to the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Satara is well-connected to other major rail stations in the country.
  • By Road – Plan a trip from major cities to Satara. Many buses run from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, etc. to Satara.

10. Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat is one of the largest and also among the most famous bird sanctuaries in India. The wetland vegetation spread over an area of 120sq. km makes a great place for spotting various kinds of bird species. Geese, spoonbills, pelicans, and eagles, among others are easily spotted.

Records state that there are more than 210 species of birds in the sanctuary. While thousands of visitors fly in winters and early spring.

Location: Bagodara Nalsarovar Link Rd, Nalsarovar, Gujarat

Entry Fee:

  • Indians: INR 40 (Mon to Fri), INR 50 (Sat and Sun)
  • Foreigners: INR 736 (Mon to Fri), INR 920 (Sat and Sun)

Timings: 6 am to 5.30 pm

Major Attractions: ‘pilu’ trees which have a red berry type edible fruit, horse ride at lakeside Nalsarovar national park, one-day picnic spots are available, local vendors serve kathiyawadi thali that consists of three different types of vegetables, Indian bread aka bajra ki roti, gudh (jaggery), butter and chutney in small huts.

Best Time to visit: November to January

How to Reach:

  • By Air – Located 75 km away, Ahmedabad airport is the closest airport to this bird sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Viramgam is the nearest station located at a distance of 40 km.
  • By Road – Nalsarovar is well-connected with major cities in India. You can either hire a bus or travel in your own car to this bird sanctuary.

11. Samaspur Bird Sanctuary in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest states in India, is home to several attractions that attract tourists. One among them is Samaspur Bird Sanctuary. If you happen to be a bird lover, then you should definitely visit. This bird sanctuary is home to more than 200 species of birds. Some popular names include spot bill, kingfisher, common teel and whistling teel, besides others. Additionally, the natural reserve has a lake that consists of various fishes. November to March is the best time for spotting the exotic birds in this sanctuary.

12. Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary is another bird sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. Situated around a freshwater lake, its home to more 250 species of birds. Some of the birds found here include pintail, red-crested pochard, white ibis and purple moorhen, apart from others. Moreover, migratory spices are seen in huge numbers in the winters

In fact, Nawabganj receives visitors from Siberia in winters. In addition to spotting birds, there are options of relaxing as well as clicking pictures from the birdwatching towers. Also, boat rides and deer parks are fun.

13. Bakhira Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh

Next, we have Bakhira Bird Sanctuary. Located on a large natural floodplain and wetland, the natural reserve is a beautiful place to view some unique species of birds. Established in 1980, the sanctuary gets its name from a lake that surrounds a village which also goes by the same name. Some of the birds which you can find here include purple moorhen, kaima and swamphen. Besides, Bakhira is also a habitat for mongooses, jungle cats and golden jackals, apart from others.

14. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, near Mysore is simply one of the best places for bird-watching in India. It is one of the largest bird sanctuaries of Karnataka and also India. Located in close proximity to Mysore, the reserve comprises six small islands along the river Cauvery. Some of the varieties of birds, the sanctuary is home to include stork billed kingfishers, Indian shags, oriental darters and streak throated swallows, among others.

Apart from the wide variety of avifauna found here, this sanctuary is also home to various kinds of animal species. The most popular names include mugger crocodile, monitor lizard, flying fox, and Indian grey mongoose, besides others.

15. Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, West Bengal

Next on our list, we have Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary. It is located in the rural areas of Kolkata outskirts. A great place to spend some quality time watching the exotic quality of birds. The popular names are black headed bulbul, little spider hunter, and fish eagle, besides others.

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru Bustard Sanctuary Solapur, Maharashtra

Named after the Great Indian Bustard, this sanctuary boasts a vast population of the engendered species of Indian Bustards. In addition, various species of animals like the wolf, Indian fox, and common mongoose are found here.

Established in 1979, Jawaharlal Nehru Bustard Sanctuary is now a tourist hotspot and attracts many Indian as well as foreigner tourists. You can spot bird species like Indian Courser, bay-backed Shrike, Patridges, Bonneli’s Eagle, Blackbucks, Qualis, Indian Bush Lark, and more.

Location: Nannaj, Maharashtra

Entry Fee: NA

Timings: NA

Major Attractions: Great Indian Bustard along with other bird species

Best Time to visit: October to February

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is located 257 km (approx.) away from the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Solapur is the closest railway station at a distance of 23 km (approx.).
  • By Road – Great network of roads connects Nannaj with all the major cities of India.
  1. Najafgarh Drain Bird Sanctuary, Delhi

A haven for birding enthusiasts, Najafgarh Drain Bird Sanctuary is one of the oldest bird sanctuaries in Delhi. It’s swampy wetlands attract over 5000 birds of many species such as Painted Stork, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-necked Stork, and Sarus Crane. The lush green surroundings offer an ideal habitat for aquatic birds. Due to its proximity, it makes a great weekend trip from Delhi. Apart from birds, the sanctuary provides shelter to animals such as Jackal, Fox, Porcupine, and Nilgai.

Location: Dharampura, Najafgarh, Delhi

Entry Fee: No entry fee is required.

Timings: Morning to evening

Major Attractions: Demoiselle cranes, Sarus crane, Cattle Egret, Golden Eagle, pigeons, Tailor Bird, Warbler, Black Kite, Red-wattled Lapwing, koel bird, Myna Bird, and waterbirds and a small lake (Jheel).

Best Time to visit: Winter months

How to Reach:

  • By Air – Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the closest.
  • By Rail – Take a train till Delhi and then hire a taxi or bus to the sanctuary.
  • By Road – This bird sanctuary is very-well connected with other cities in India.
  1. Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary is home to several migratory and indigenous birds. Due to its location in the center of Guntur, it is visited by many tourists every week. You can spot major bird species flying and chirping all around the sanctuary. This creates a great atmosphere filled with melody and composure. Apart from this, Several migratory birds from Serbia and Australia travel here such as painted storks and spot-billed pelicans. Due to the proximity of a few ponds, the region is also rich in numerous species of fish.

Location: Near, Guntur Rd, Uppalapadu, Andhra Pradesh

Entry Fee: INR 30 per person

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Major Attractions: Amravati, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Amareswara Temple, Kondaveedu Fort, Buddhist Stupa

Best Time to visit: October to April

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is located in Vijayawada at a distance of 50 km (approx.). Take a flight to Vijayawada Airport and then hire a cab to the sanctuary.
  • By Rail – Catch a train from other major cities to Guntur. Take a cab to Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary.
  • By Road – This sanctuary is easily accessible by road.
  1. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Also called Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, this was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. It is named after a well-known ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is one of the significant centuries in India and is visited by many tourists around the year. Not only this, it is also one of the richest bird habitats in India. The flat and green plateau houses around 270 bird species. The sanctuary is regarded as “Cuckoo Paradise”, due to its Cuckoo population. Emerald green pigeons, Mountain Hawk Eagles, Indian Pitta, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Cormorants, and Ceylon frogmouth are some famous birds you can spot here.

Location: Kothamangalam-Pooyamkutty Road, Nayapalli PO, Thattekad, Kerala

Entry Fee: 

  • Indians: INR 10 per person
  • Foreigners: INR 115 per person

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Major Attractions: Jeeps and boat safaris

Best Time to visit: November to February

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport located 37 km (approx.) from Cochin, and 45 km (approx.) from the sanctuary
  • By Rail – The closest railway station is Aluva loathed 45 km (approx.) away from the sanctuary.
  • By Road – Travel via smooth roads to the sanctuary. It is 12 km (approx.) away from Kothamangalam to Chelad.
  1. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is one of the most famous bird sanctuaries in India. It is a haven for bird watchers and Ornithologists. It stretches across 481 sq. km and has the second largest brackish water ecosystem in India after Chilika lake in Odisha. You must know that it is a supreme sensitive area environmentally and is under threat of vanishing due to excessive siltation. However, the major bird species found here include White Ibis, Grey Pelicans, Painted Storks, Spoon Bills, Grey Herons, Reef Herons, Cormorants, Open Billed Storks, Egrets, and Spot Billed Ducks.

Location: Attakanitippa, Andhra Pradesh

Entry Fee: NA

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Major Attractions: Trekking, boat ride,

Best Time to visit: October to March

How to Reach:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Meenambakkam Airport in Chennai (90 km away).
  • By Rail – The closest railway station is Sullurpet Railway Station located 10  km (approx.) away from the sanctuary.
  • By Road – To reach here take the National Highway 5 from Chennai towards Nellore. Further take Thatchur Koot Road to Ponneri village, which is roughly 19 km away (approx.) from Pulicat village.

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Vishwajit Sharma

A travel writer by profession possessing an avid interest in books, movies and music, Vishwajit Sharma believes that travelling is essentially discovering yourself. He hopes that, through his articles and write ups, the idea of travelling is aroused in everyone. Let the journey begin!

Comments ( 6 )
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  • Ananya

    I wanted it for my project , thanks a lot

    • Diksha Khiatani

      Hey Ananya

      Thanks for your kinds words! Keep on following our blogs for more such informative posts in the future.

  • Morris

    This is truly useful, thanks.

  • Kuldeep

    Dear Vishwajit.. Very good information about Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary. Infact the way of presenting information is very good . Please keep posted.

  • Ruma Dey Baidya

    Hi VISHWAJIT,

    Your article is vary short and nice and what beautiful photographs.

    Thanks
    Ruma Dey Baidya

    • Vishwajit Sharma

      Thanks Ruma,
      I am happy to know that you liked my article and found the photographs beautiful. Stay tuned for more such articles in the future.