Top 10 Bird Watching Destinations in India

~ Guest Blogger Mohit Aggarwal founder of Asian Adventures ~

India’s 28 states and 8 territories have an incredibly diverse range of habitats from the highest ice-capped mountains, rolling hills, desserts, salt flats, lush jungle and vast wetlands to temperate woodland, lowland plains, lakes, great rivers, farmland and rice paddies. No wonder that the bird species numbering over 1300 are so rich and varied. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or just starting out, there are plenty of destinations across the country that will leave you in awe of the wildlife.

Here (in no particular order) are the top 10 bird watching destinations in India:

Keoladeo National Park

In Rajasthan, Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous birding destinations in India. Birders can observe over 370 bird species here, including the Sarus Crane, Knob-billed Duck, Dusky Eagle-Owl, and various waterfowl, both resident and migratory.


Pangot, just 15 km from Nainital, is a popular bird-watching destination in Uttarakhand. We know Pangot for its rich variety of bird species, including the Himalayan species, especially the Cheer Pheasant, which makes its home in the hilltop grasslands. Other popular residents of Pangot include Koklass and Kalij Pheasants, Black Francolin, Small and Rufous-bellied Niltavas, and more. Visitors can go on guided nature walks and treks to spot the birds.

Sat Tal 

Sat Tal, in Uttarakhand, is a group of seven freshwater lakes that offer a great bird-watching experience. Bird-watchers can observe over 400 bird species at Sat Tal, including the Himalayan Vulture, Blue-winged Minla, Red-billed Blue Magpie, White-crested Laughingthrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, and more.

Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary

In Gujarat, the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is home to many bird species, including migratory birds like Lesser Flamingo, Great White and Dalmatian Pelicans, and various migratory waterbirds such as Greater and Lesser White-fronted Geese, Ruddy-breasted and Baillon’s Crakes and more. Visitors can take a boat ride through the wetlands to spot the birds.

Chilika Lake 

Chilika Lake, in Odisha, attracts a wide range of bird species, especially in the winter. Migrants here include Greater and Lesser Flamingos, a variety of waders, Pallas’s and White-bellied Sea Eagles, and more. Ornithologists have recorded over 180 bird species here, and the lake is also home to the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary 

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, in Kerala, is home to over 300 bird species, including Western Ghat endemics like the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Barbet, Malabar Flameback, Flame-throated Bulbul, Wayanad Laughingthrush and more. The sanctuary also plays host to a variety of winter migrants, including Sri Lanka Bay Owl, Black Baza, and more.

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park, in Assam, is famous for its One-horned Rhinoceros population, but it’s also a great bird watching destination. Birdwatchers have recorded a variety of amazing birds here, including Greater Adjutant, Grey-headed and Pallas’s Fish Eagles, Pied Harrier, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler and more.

Great Himalayan National Park 

Great Himalayan National Park, in Himachal Pradesh, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place to see high-altitude birds like Koklass, Cheer and Kalij Pheasants, Himalayan Monal, Western Tragopan, Red- and Yellow-billed Blue Magpies, Himalayan Prinia, Himalayan Black-lored Tit and many more.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary 

In Karnataka, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a group of small islands in the Cauvery River. You can see over 230 bird species here, including the Knob-billed Duck, Blue-faced Malkoha, Greater Painted-snipe, Spot-billed Pelican, Grey-headed and Lesser Fish Eagles, and more.

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

Part of the Kali Tiger Reserve of Karnataka, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to see and photograph a variety of amazing birds like the Great Hornbill Malabar Trogon, Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Malabar Imperial Pigeon, Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Dark-fronted Babbler, and more. Visitors can also go on safaris, nature walks and treks through the sanctuary.

Honestly, it is difficult to pick the ten best birdwatching destination in India, as there are so many to choose from. The above ten are ‘must-see’ but there are very many other superb destinations too. With such a diverse range of habitats and bird species, various destinations can offer many unique experiences, making India justified in calling itself that use much over used phrase;  a true bird-watching paradise.

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