Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest state in India in terms of area [c.277,000sq.km] and population [approximately 80 million people]. The state is the gateway to the southern peninsular country from the north and the east. Hyderabad, the state capital, is located at a convenient distance from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The altitude varies from sea level along the coast to about 1500m in the Eastern Ghats. The state is blessed with a coastline of approximately 980km on the Bay of Bengal. The state receives its precipitation mainly from southwest monsoon [June-September] and to an extent from northeast monsoon [November-December].
The high ranges include the Eastern Ghats, which are ranges of interrupted hills with patches of moist deciduous forests. They run parallel to the coast with the distance from the coast varying considerably. Fertile valleys formed by perennial flow of the rivers Godavari and Krishna break these ranges. Deccan plateau lies to the east of these ranges with an average elevation of 500m. This undulating landscape falls in the Telangana region of the state known for the last remaining patches of evergreen and moist deciduous forests. The southern region of the state, known as Rayalaseema is an arid area known for dry deciduous and thorny scrub jungles. India's largest Project Tiger Reserve, Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam falls in 5 districts along the path of river Krishna.
The region is rich from ornithological point of view too. There are bird species representing 58 families and the last compilation of checklists for the state puts the taxa number at 512. There are numerous wild bird sanctuaries. Some of them are set out below.
Details of the individual sites below borrow heavily from the brochures of the BSAP and the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Northern most district of the state known for lush green forests. Kuntala waterfalls: 22km from Adilabad town. Picturesque location with lush green jungles around. Pochera waterfalls: 50km from Adilabad town. River Godavari`s rapids meandering through the jungle and flowing over the rocky slopes is a breathtaking scene. Sivaram Wildlife Sanctuary: 50km from Mancherial, Adilabad. Riverine forest known for large ungulates and an occasional Tiger. Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary: 50km from Mancherial, Adilabad. A large wilderness area with dry deciduous forest. Noted for large ungulates and bird diversity. Pranahita Wildlife Sanctuary: 35km from Mancherial, Adilabad. Surrounding Pranahita, one of the major tributaries of Godavari, is known for rock fossils. Diverse mammals and birds can be sighted.
Anantagiri Reserve Forest - Ranga Reddy
Ranga Reddy district, approximately 70km from Hyderabad. A hilly range of small, dense jungle with wooded valleys. Known for the resident and breeding Crested Hawk-eagle, Spizaetus cirrhatus and Crested Serpent eagle Spilornis cheela.
Coringa Mangrove Sanctuary
One of the best pieces of coastal mangrove ecosystem.
Durgam Cheruvu (Secret Lake)
Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. A natural wonder on whose secrecy the glory of the bygone Golconda kingdom depended heavily upon. A moderate sized lake surrounded by hillocks on all the sides can be a perfect getaway in monsoon and winter. Huge boulders provide ample vintage points. The regulars being Indian River Tern Sterna aurantia.
East Godavari district
Kakinada, the port town is located approximately 525km away from Hyderabad. Rajahmundry, the district headquarters is about 370km from Hyderabad. Better known as the 'rice bowl' of the state leaves the visitor with an enchanting experience of the rice fields and the coconut lined canals known as the 'konaseema', much celebrated in Telugu literature. Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary: 50km upstream Rajahmundry Quintessentially 'Telugu' in it's façade is also much written and admired location in literary works. Nestled in fertile Godavari basin is one of the finest representative forests of the eastern ghats known for the big cats like Tiger, Leopard and the large herbivores is also a treasure trove of the birds. Chittoor district: Tirupati, one of the most important and well-connected towns is approximately at a distance of 600km from Hyderabad. The southernmost district is virtually covered with the Eastern Ghats and it's extended hill systems. The famous being the 'seven hills' of Tirumala for religious and bio-diversity and the Horsley Hills for the aesthetic reasons. Sri Venkateswara Sanctuary: Around the town of Tirupati. Undisturbed and protected forests on the hills harbour a wide variety of wildlife. The notable being the highly endangered Slender Loris. The hills are also home to a good number of bird species. The Talakona waterfalls,a little distance away from the temple town is an ideal birding area.
Hyderabad Central University campus
15km west of Hyderabad on Old Mumbai highway. A large wooded area interspersed with huge boulders. Bird friendly atmosphere ensures a high density and variety of sightings. The large fresh water lake inside the campus hosts numerous resident breeding waterfowl and migrants in the winter, the notable being the breeding Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis and a small colony of breeding Baya Weavers. The tall lamp-posts of the campus provide nesting sites to the Spotted Munia Lonchura punctulata.
ICRISAT campus – Medak
Medak district, 25km west of the Hyderabad city centre. This is a veritable paradise for the birdwatcher! The campus has representative habitats of many eco-systems. A normal birding day in winter (Jan-Feb) usually yields close to hundred species.
Indira Park, Sanjeevaiah Park & Hussain Sagar lake - Hyderabad
Hyderabad, in the heart of the city, is known for garden birds. Hussain Sagar lake harbours a large number of resident and migrant waterfowl, while it's fringes are known for migrant Wagtail species.
Approximately 160km from Hyderabad. Sivaram Wildlife Sanctuary: 80km from Karimnagar town, is contiguous with it's counterpart in Adilabad district.
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park - Hyderabad
Hyderabad in the heart of the city is a good birding location for the local dry areas and scrubland species.
Kolleru Lake Sanctuary - East Godavari
East Godavari district - approximately 450km from Hyderabad. A large fresh water lake with inhabited islands is traditionally known for waterfowl. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis is one of the star attractions.
Lakes of Hyderabad
The numerous lakes of Hyderabad host a wide variety of winter migrants. These are usually named after their location like Saroornagar,Fox Sagar, Mansoorabad, Safilguda etc. Sadly, all of them are facing major crises in the form of encroachment and pollution by sewage.
Mahavir Deer Park – Hyderabad
Hyderabad, 17km east of the Hyderabad city centre is sure location to sight the Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus apart from large herds of Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra and Spotted Deer.
Manjeera Reservoir (Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary) - Medak
Medak district is approximately 70km from Hyderabad. Secluded islands in the freshwater reservoir shelter a large breeding colony of Painted Storks, Mycteria leucocephala and Indian Darter Anhinga melanogaster.
90km from Hyderabad. Medak lake: On the outskirts of the town,gives a magnificent view of the famous 'Medak Cathedral', one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in India. Lake hosts regular winter migrants and the breeding residents. Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary: 15km from Medak town. The 9.12sqkm man made lake is surrounded by jungle providing the birders with sightings of both the waterfowl and the woodland birds.
Narsapur Reserve Forest - Medak
Medak district, approximately 60km from Hyderabad. This is a dense patch of forest known for woodland species, notable for Woodpeckers.
Nehru Zoological Gardens - Hyderabad
Hyderabad - One of the best zoos in India this has a large wild area and a large lake attracting many waterfowl.
Nelapattu Sanctuary - Nellore
Nellore district - freshwater lake known for it's heronry.
Osmania University Campus: Hyderabad
External lungs of the city, a densely wooded and serene area. There can always be a surprise delight on any early morning birding.
Pulicat Sanctuary - Nellore
Nellore district - approximately 600km from Hyderabad. A large inland brackish water lake known for its Flamingos and winter visitors from the northern hemisphere.
Rishi Valley Bird Preserve - Chittoor
Chittoor district, approximately 500km from Hyderabad. Nestled in serene, green hills, this bird preserve is the labour of numerous school children and one visionary's driving force. Birding with a good amount of spiritualism, as it's the abode of one of the greatest spiritual teachers and thinkers of the modern times Sri Jiddu Krishnamurthy.
Rollapadu Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary - Kurnool
Kurnool district - approximately 270km from Hyderabad, is known for the Great Indian Bustard Choreotis nigriceps one of the highly endangered birds of the world. Other grassland species can also be sighted.
Satyam Technology Centre
20km northwest of Hyderabad in Bahadurpally village. The R&D centre of the software major is a wonderful birding area. Largely untouched land resulted in wild growth much to the delight of any birder. Hillocks in the campus add a magical touch to the already wonderful birding experience.
20km northeast of Secunderabad on Hyderabad Karimnagar highway. Large fresh water lake with wild rocky country surrounding it is a bliss for any birder with a keen interest in Larks. The claim to the fame being Syke`s Crested Lark Galerida deva. The dry scrubland hosts numerous other species of Larks.
Sri Lankamalleswara Sanctuary - Cuddapah
Cuddapah district - approximately 500km from Hyderabad is known universally for the highly endangered Jerdon's Courser Rhinoptilos bitorquatus,which was once believed to be extinct.
Approximately 750km from Hyderabad. Mahendra Hills: 90km from Srikakulam town. The highest peak in the Eastern Ghats lies in these hills.Picturesque hills offer a good birding experience. Telineelapuram & Telukunchi: 65km & 115km from Srikakulam town respectively. The heronries are well known for the breeding colonies of Painted Storks.
Uppalapadu Tank - Guntur
Guntur district, approximately 300km from Hyderabad, has a large heronry housing waterfowl in large numbers.
Approximately 620km from Hyderabad. The second largest city of the state is one of the most cosmopolitan and fastest developing cities of India. Provides a wide range of options for a casual tourist and an avid birder alike. Beaches: Numerous beaches in and around the city might provide a surprise pelagic species. These are also known for the migrant waders. Araku Valley: 110km from Visakhapatnam. Serene hill station away from the spoils of the commercial tourism. Is an ideal get-away from the city and can offer wonderful forest species. The places of interest are Anantagiri,Tyda and Borra caves conveniently located from Araku. Visitors can have memorable experiences of the tribal lifestyle and can be a part of their folklores that exemplify the concept of joie de vivre.
proximately 140km from Hyderabad. Ramappa lake: 70km from Warangal city. This lake adjoins an ancient temple built in 13th century by one of the most famous and powerful kings of Telugu speaking people. The intricate architecture and rich history complements a wonderful birding experience. Pakhal Lake & Wildlife Sanctuary: 50km from Warangal city. A veritable haven for the winter migrants. Few of the rare migrant waders can be sighted here.
Life Member of Birwatchers' Society of Andhra Pradesh
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 512
(As at December 2018)
State Bird: Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering India as a whole - please see the main India page of Fatbirder
The Common Birds and Mammals of Andhra Pradesh
By WWF India and Sachin Jaltare | Sangam Books | 2009 | Paperback | 164 pages, Colour illustrations |
ISBN: 9788173716539Buy this book from NHBS.com
Deccan Birders (formerly Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh)
Deccan Birders is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1980 (as Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh and renamed as Deccan Birders in 2018) by a few enthusiasts of Telangana/Andhra Pradesh with the object of spreading the message of bird conservation. It organises field trips, lectures, film and slide shows, nature camps, treks, waterfowl counts, bird ringing, etc. Deccan Birders is registered under the Public societies Registration Act – I of 1350F.
It has an area of 458.92 hectares. It is an important breeding site for spot-billed pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis). Nelapattu has two major plant communities, Barringtonia swamp forests and southern dry evergreen scrub. Southern dry evergreen scrub covers most of the sanctuary, including the 288 hectares of Kalluru Reserved Forest and 88 hectares of unreserved forest. About 189 bird species can be found at Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, 50 of which are migratory. In addition to the spot-billed pelican, it is an important breeding site for white ibis, openbill stork, night heron, and little cormorant.
BS WII IBA Kolleru
It covers 673 square kilometers. hed in November 1999, under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The sanctuary protects part of the Kolleru Lake wetland, which gained Ramsar Convention for International importance in 2002. A large fresh water lake with inhabited islands is traditionally known for waterfowl. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis is one of the star attractions.
BS WS Pulicat Lake
Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilka lake in Orissa. The sanctuary is most noted for the many greater flamingos seen here. It also attracts many migratory birds and also is a feeding and nesting ground for aquatic and terrestrial birds such as pelicans,storks,etc. The biodiversity of this lake attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
NP BR Sri Venkateswara
The total area of the park is 353 km2 and is located in Eastern Ghats spread over the Seshachalam hills of Cuddapah district and Tirumala hills of Chittoor district. It is known for its many waterfalls including the Talakona, Gundalakona and Gunjana. As the government of India declared the Seshachalam Hills as one of the biosphere reserves of India in 2010, this national park becomes the part of it. About 178 species of birds from this national park have been identified. The globally threatened yellow-throated bulbul is seen here as are grey-fronted green pigeon, a bird of the Himalayas and the Western Ghats yet it is quite common in these forests. The critically endangered Oriental white-backed vulture is found in the national park. Some of the other birds found here are:large hawk-cuckoo, blue-faced malkoha, yellow-browed bulbul, Indian scimitar-babbler and Loten's sunbird. In 1984 the Asian elephant, not seen in Andhra Pradesh for nearly 300 years, re-appeared in the southern part of Chittoor district. In 1993, a breakaway herd of five individuals moved to the Chamala Valley of Tirumala forests in this national park.
NP Kasu Brahmananda Reddy
The park has an approximate area of 390-acre (1.6 km2). The entire park was declared as a National park by the Andhra Pradesh state government after getting approval from the central government in the year 1998. It is located centrally in Jubilee Hills and is described as a jungle amidst the concrete jungle. It has peacocks and other animals. The park has over 600 species of plant life, 140 species of birds and 30 different varieties of butterflies and reptiles. Some of the animals making their home in the park include: pangolin, small Indian civet, peacock, jungle cat and porcupines. There are few water bodies present in the park providing the needed moisture for the plants and quenching the thirst of birds and small animals
NP WS Papikonda
It is located in East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh, covering an area of 1,012.86 km2 (391.07 sq mi). Wildlife includes mammals like tigers, leopards, sambar and spotted deer and Indian bison.
The sanctuary possesses a wide variety of birds, because of the feed available in the backwaters of the mangrove forest. It is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in India with 24 mangrove tree species. Some critically endangered species like the white-backed vulture and the long billed vulture are present in the sanctuary. The painted stork, Oriental white ibis, ferruginous pochard found in the sanctuary are near threatened species, and spot-billed pelican is a vulnerable species. Significant populations of waders and mangrove birds are also present.
It is a dry evergreen forest mixed with scrub and meadows and covers an area of 70.70 square kilometers. The indicator species is the Indian leopard.
It is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian elephants, which migrated after 200 years from neighbouring regions. The sanctuary is primarily an elephant reserve and is home to about 78 Indian elephants. The vulnerable yellow-throated bulbul is present in the sanctuary. Apart from Indian elephant], some of the animals found in the sanctuary are: sloth bear, panther, cheetal, chowsingha, sambar, porcupine, wild boar, jungle cat, jackal, jungle fowl, starred tortoise and slender loris.
It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world because it harbors vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests. It is believed by conservationists to be one of the last remaining tracts of thick primary mangrove forests of South India, which is rapidly disappearing due to absence of protective measures. Avifauna include crested serpent eagle, Indian roller, wagtails and pipits.
Originally a crocodile sanctuary, the reservoir, located in the sanctuary, provides drinking water to Hyderabad and Secundarabad. Around 73 species of birds are present in the sanctuary. A large flock of common teal and cotton pygmy goose is found. Sometimes more than 1,500 ruddy shelduck are seen. Upstream of the Manjeera lake, a large number of cranes and bar-headed geese. At least fourteen species of birds breed in the sanctuary, some of them are: Darter, Asian openbill, painted stork, Oriental white ibis, Eurasian coot and black-crowned night heron. In recent time the vulnerable lesser adjutant and Indian skimmer have been seen.
WS Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve
The dry deciduous forests with scrub and bamboo thickets provide shelter to a range of animals from the tiger and leopard at the top of the food chain, to deer, sloth bear, hyena, jungle cat, palm civet, bonnet macaque and pangolin.
Known primarily as a habitat of the great Indian bustard, the species has suffered a drastic fall in its numbers in the sanctuary in recent years. The sanctuary, in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, is close to the state's border with Karnataka and is 45 km from the district headquarters of Kurnool. It covers an area of 6.14 km2. 132 bird species are attracted with the Alganur reservoir near the sanctuary frequented annually by migratory species. Some of the bird species spotted at Rollapadu besides the bustard and the florican include Indian rollers, several myna species, short-toed snake eagles and winter migrant waterfowl such as bar-headed geese, demoiselle cranes and greater flamingos.
Guides & Tour Operators
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2015 [08 August] - S S Cheema - Birding in Hyderabad
...All of a sudden before we moved on the bird decided to hop on to a tree with little less cover. My heart knew no joy, three ‘Heart-spotted woodpeckers’ I got on to clicking a few dozen frames.
2015 [12 December] - S S Cheema - Hyderabad
...The birding did not disappoint at all. I saw a total of 33 species and the notables included India Thick-knee, White-bellied Drongo (my first good shot of the bird), Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Indian Cormorant (Indian Shag) and the Great Cormorants....
2017 [05 May] - Ajinkya Supekar - Manjeera Wildlife Sanctuary
Manjeera Wildlife Sanctuary is an riverine wetland 50 km northwest of Hyderabad in Medak district. It is a place with a number of resident and migratory birds in addition to being home for the Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris. It is recognized internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA), due to its rich bird diversity and its high preference by migratory birds. Mainly it has four habitats: marshland, tropical scrub forest, grassland and agriculture land. On the bird listing website- ebird.org, 233 species of birds have been reported till now.
2017 [05 May] - Ajinkya Supekar - Telangana
Telangana. It is on the fringes of Papikonda National Park in Andhra Pradesh. The forest is semi evergreen- deciduous, known for bamboo and rosewood. Parnasala is a temple near Bhadrachalam with Godavari river flowing close to it. We were four of us: Naresh Vadrevu, Phani Krishna Raavi, Gopalkrishna Iyer and Me.
Rishi Valley Institute of Bird Studies & Natural History
The Institute is devoted to protecting birds, to preserving bio-diversity and educating students and the public on environmental issues.
Best 5 Sanctuaries to See Pelican Birds in Andhra Pradesh
The Pelican is a large coastal water bird nest in large colonies and breeds in southern Asia and across India. The Spot billed pelican or grey pelican species in found to breed only in peninsular India and have become popular tourist attractions in Andhra Pradesh such as Kokrebellur, Koothankulam and Uppalapadu village.
Birding in Rollapadu Landscape , Andhra Pradesh India
Grassland ecosystems are one of the finest ecosystems in the world which support very good populations of birds especially the grasslands specialist. Among such grasslands ecosystems in India, Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary is one of the finest grasslands present in India. This sanctuary was formed in the year 1988especially to protect the endangered bird The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and also Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) which nests in this region...
Birdwatchers' Society of Andhra Pradesh (BSAP)
For All the Birds lovers & Nature Photographers of our Twin Cities, this year again BSAP and GHAC are jointly organizing the Hyderabad Bird Race under the HSBC's National Support for the India Bird Race initiative.