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India Andhra Pradesh

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger ©Michael Clark Website

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.

Top Sites

Adilabad District

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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

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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

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One of the best pieces of coastal mangrove ecosystem.

Durgam Cheruvu (Secret Lake)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Karimnagar district

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Medak District

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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

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Hyderabad - One of the best zoos in India this has a large wild area and a large lake attracting many waterfowl.

Nelapattu Sanctuary - Nellore

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Nellore district - freshwater lake known for it's heronry.

Osmania University Campus: Hyderabad

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Shameerpet Lake

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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

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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.

Srikakulam District

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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

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Guntur district, approximately 300km from Hyderabad, has a large heronry housing waterfowl in large numbers.

Visakhapatnam District

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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.

Warangal District

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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.

Contributor

Kiran Katikaneni

Life Member of Birwatchers' Society of Andhra Pradesh

BLACKEAGLE@surfbirder.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 512

State Bird: Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis

Checklist

Checklist

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Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering India as a whole - please see the main India page of Fatbirder

Useful Information

State Bird

Indian Roller

Guides & Tour Operators

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Anytime Tours

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Fatbirder's own stable of tours for as few as two people travelling together at a time of their choice but at prices that compare vary favourably with tours at set times for larger groups!

Birding Pal

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Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

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

Report

...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

Report

...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....

Organisations

Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh

Website

Founded as a non-governmental organisation in 1980 by a few enthusiasts of Andhra Pradesh with the object of spreading the message of bird conservation, the Society has grown during the years. It organizes field trips, lectures, film and slide shows, nature camps, treks, waterfowl counts, bird ringing, etc…

Museums

Rishi Valley Institute - Home Study Course in Ornithology

Course Details

The Rishi Valley Institute offers a six-month course in Bird Study to promote better understanding of birds and their world in the general public, particularly among its youthful members. This course hopes to promote the cause of birds through creating an interest in birdwatching as a hobby among the general public. This is a self-study course, without any form of direct instructions, which students will have to study and complete on their own. The Director, Institute of Bird Studies and Natural History, Rishi Valley - 517 352, (Chittoor District), Andhra Pradesh. Email: birds@rishivalley.org

Reserves

Nagarjunasagar - Srisailam Sanctuary

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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.

Other Links

Ladakh Wildlife

Website

The avid bird watcher can spend friutful hours by observing Bactrian magpies, grey tits, chough, raven, sparrow, kite, kestrel, Turkoman rock pigeon, chukor, finches, buntings, larks, desert wheateaters, a many more varieties of birds.

Mammalian and Avian Diversity of the Nallamala Hills

Website

The paper briefly reviews the mammalian and avian diversity of the Nallamala Hills (15020-1603 FN and 78030-80010 E); Andhra Pradesh. Based on faunal surveys carried out intermittently throughout the study area and published information, the presence of 74 mammals and 302 bird species in this stretch of Eastern Ghats is reported…