Wayanad: A Great Place for Bird Watching
Wayanad in Kerala has become one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the state. One of the attractions that the region offers, apart from picturesque landscape and virgin forests, is the abundant wildlife. Wayanad is is a specially favored destination of bird watchers and ornithologists. With more than 350 species of resident and migrant birds, Wayanad has several great bird-watching sites, and is ideal place to see in Wayanad if one wants to combine birding with a family holiday.
Because of its rich biodiversity, Wayanad is home to several endemic as well as endangered species of birds. Here you can find endemic black-chinned laughing thrush, white-bellied shortwing, black and orange flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and the Nilgiri flycatcher. Birds such as brown wood owl, oriental dwarf kingfisher, black baza, blue-eared kingfisher, steppe buzzard, Bonelli’s eagle, blue-bearded bee-eater, Tytler’s leaf warbler, white-bellied woodpecker, Malabar lark, and jungle bush quail can also be sighted. The Wayanad Laughing Thrush is a rare bird was spotted in the forest of Joida taluk after 23 years. Birds belonging to this family are mostly found in north India, and only three species of these birds are found in south India.
For serious birders there are many spots to visit for bird watching such as Kuruva Island, Pakshipathalam, Edakkal caves, and Phookot Lake. The cavernous caves at Pakshipathalam are home to wide variety of birds, animals and distinctive species of plants. However, the best place to go for bird watching is the Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary. This region offers some of the most spectacular bird watching opportunities imaginable, with several rare species of birds residing in the reserve. A trip to Muthanga might yield a glimpse of the Malabar Grey Hornbill, herons, egrets, water ducks, peafowl, shrikes, eagles, cormorants, wagtails, rollers, pheasants, snipes and a large variety of other birds.
Bird watching in Wayanad is excellent during the spring or fall migrations when many different varieties of birds can be observed. During spring, large numbers of birds travel into Wayanad for nesting locations. The best time of the day for bird watching is early morning since the birds are more active and vocal and are easily spotted during the dawn.
Rafting trips down the Kabini River, boat trips to Pookot Lake, and hikes in the forest also provide good bird-watching opportunities.