Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Forest birds of Kanha and Bandhavgarh

Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park offer the best birding opportunity. The bird species checklist surpasses 250 mark about 50 species less than Bharatpur bird sanctuary in Rajasthan.

Birdwatching is catching up in these tiger reserves but then birds are not seen en mass here. Forest birding is always straining until unless you come across a mixed hunting party. Winters is the best time for birding in these parks but thick forest canopy makes bird watching strenuous.

Winter visitors or migratory birds arrive from October onwards and one can see ultramarine flycatcher, Hume's warbler, greenish warbler, sulfur bellied warbler, Tickell's warbler, black redstart, pintails, common teals, Asian brown flycatcher and wagtails. Many species of pipits that migrate in winters can also be seen.

Common birds are grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, orioles, nuthatches, parakeets, drongos, cuckoos, barbets, owls, owlets, crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, honey buzzards, black naped flycatcher, paradise flycatcher, verditor, Tickell's blue flycatcher, white eyed buzzard, mynas, sparrows, Greater racket tailed drongo, orange headed thrush, black necked stork, lesser adjutant stork and painted stork. There are many more....

Checklist of Bandhavgarh National Park is the same as that of Kanha National Park albeit with minor variations. In these tiger reserves the terrain varies although forest habitat is the same. Wetlands birds do not visit these tiger reserves in great numbers as large water bodies are absent, nevertheless many ducks, teals, sandpipers and wagtails can be seen during the winters.

Many tour operators, hotels and wildlife resorts now offer birding as an option along with tiger safaris in the park. Those with in house professional naturalists and birding guides deliver the best.

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