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Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

The wildlife destination came to light when famous ornithologist Dr Salim Ali termed Thattekad in the 1930s as the ‘richest bird habitat in peninsular India’. Located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, the sanctuary sprawls along the northern banks of River Periyar. The sanctuary covers an area of 25 sq km and features over 500 colourful species of birds. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of India’s bird man Dr Salim Ali that nature lovers, students, researchers and ornithologists arrive to explore the natural riches of the sanctuary from the world over. Though, you can explore the bird sanctuary on your own, it is advisable to be accompanied by a local guide during the tour. English speaking people are hardly noticed at Thattekad. A local English speaking guide will assist you in communicating with the locals. A tropical climate prevails at the sanctuary throughout the year.

Best Time to Visit
If you wish to enjoy your bird watching tour at Thattekad Sanctuary the most, plan your travel between the months of September and March.

Wildlife Attractions
The sanctuary gives you an opportunity to explore around 210 bird species. A variety of colourful bird species have found a home in the midst of evergreen, tropical semi evergreen and tropical deciduous forests. Commonly sighted bird species in Thattekad Sanctuary include jungle nightjar, kite, grey drongo, Malabar trogon, Indian roller, woodpecker, grey jungle fowl, jungle babbler, darter, robin, Indian hill myna etc.

The sanctuary also provides shelter to numerous rare bird species. These include shrike, fairy blue bird, Malabar hornbill, common grey hornbill, grey heron, night heron, black winged kite, sun bird, crimson-throated barbet etc.

During your bird watching, you can also catch sight of a few mammalian species. Elephant, leopard and sloth bear are also found in Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. Take a wildlife tour through the sanctuary with a local guide. The guide will also equip you with the knowledge of local flora and fauna.

Things to Do
It would be a wonderful option to see the birds from the 3-storied watch tower, standing inside the bird sanctuary. Travellers can also book their stay at the watch tower. The place offers facilities including bed, toilet and kitchen. However, there is no electricity. There are solar powered lamps.

To extract the maximum of your tour, you can also ask your travel agent to book a backwater cruise close by. In addition, you can plan a tour to the Cardamom Hills around. The Periyar Tiger Reserve is a few hours drive from here.

As you enjoy your bird watching tour at Thattekad, also remember to relish a wide range of deliciously cooked southern Indian cuisines. The southern Indian meals are comprised of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Reaching the Bird Sanctuary
To reach the bird sanctuary, travelers first need to take a flight to the Kochi International Airport, at 71 km from Thattekad. The closest rail link is at Aluva, 48 km away. Regular bus services are available from Kothamangalam, located at a distance of 13 km from Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.