Gujarat

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus ©Yash Kothiala Website
Birding Gujarat

Gujarat has an unrivalled diversity of eco-systems reflected in the rich and varied birdlife of the state. Ranging geographically from the moist forested hills of Dangs district in the south-east to the salt-encrusted desert plains of Kutch district to the north-west, Gujarat has deciduous forests like Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, vast grasslands of Kutch and Bhavnagar districts, scrub-jungles, river-systems like the Narmada, Mahi, Sabarmati and Tapti, a multitude of lakes and other wetlands known for their birdlife, and a long coastline with two gulfs, many estuaries, beaches, mangrove forests and offshore islands fringed by coral reefs inhabited by marine life. Lying on important flyways for millions of birds migrating south in winter, the wetlands of Gujarat are a paradise for birdwatchers. A large percentage of the world population of Demmossile and Common Cranes winters in Gujarat. Congregations of resident and winter-visiting ducks, geese and waders at lakes, marshes, coastal creeks and estuaries of Gujarat can be seen in numbers beyond comprehension in winter. At the wetlands, huge flocks of flamingos, pelicans, storks, ibises, geese, ducks and other birds can be watched.

Gujarat has important habitats of critically-endangered White-backed and Long-billed Vultures. About half the world population of the endangered Lesser Florican breeds at the grasslands of Saurashtra, Kutch and Dahod district during the monsoon months. Kutch has a significant population of the endangered Great Indian Bustard, flagship of India’s bird conservation movement, with a sanctuary created to protect this species in Abdasa taluka of this district. Other species likely to interest a birdwatcher visiting Gujarat are the Indian Skimmer often seen at Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, the Stolikcza’s Bushchat that could be seen at Velavadar National Park and the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary of Kutch district, the White-naped Tit that can be seen in Kutch district and the Saras Crane that breeds in Gujarat. Two vulnerable species of eagle, Imperial and Greater-spotted, inhabit Gujarat in winter.

Gujarat also has spectacular flamingo colonies in the Great and Little Rann of Kutch, the only known regular breeding areas of the near-threatened Lesser Flamingo in India. Outside the four national parks and 21 wildlife sanctuaries too a variety of birds can be seen in Gujarat because of the conservation efforts of the local people who are known for their compassion for animals. Even in congested city and town centres of Gujarat, like the pols of Ahmedabad, birds gather at bird-feeding structures called chabutaras or parabadis, and many houses give grains to peafowl, parakeets and other birds in their gardens. A good number of bird species can be seen at parks, gardens and lakes in cities, towns and villages of Gujarat.

See below for the top sanctuaries and National ParksOther Birding Sites of InterestBesides the four bird sanctuaries, and other wildlife sanctuaries of Gujarat, the state has a number of other wetlands that are also good for birds like Nani Karad in Navsari District, Vadvana and Timbi in Vadodara Disrtrict and Subapura in Patan District. Kutch and Surendranagar districts have a number of reservoirs that attract birds in large numbers in winter. An interesting bird-viewing route is the highway from Kheda to Khambat that passes a number of wetlands inhabited by vulnerable species of birds. While driving on this highway, watch for birds at the paddy fields of Kheda district like the Saras Crane, a vulnerable species that breeds in flooded fields, Openbill Stork, Black-headed White Ibis and egrets. The canals and pools on the roadsides in this well-irrigated district offer opportunities to get close to waterhens, moorhens and other birds. The highway passes Narda Lake, with thick aquatic vegetation near the shores, where brilliantly-coloured Purple Swamphen can be seen. This is a good place to see Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas. Jacanas are called lily-trotters as the webs of their feet spread like spiders to balance gracefully on aquatic plants as they walk over the vegetation. Scan the lake with binoculars to see large flocks of resident and migratory ducks. A little further ahead from Narda towards Khambat is Periej, a large reservoir where large congregations of ducks and other birds can be seen. Other important wetlands for birdwatchers in Kheda district are Kanewal, Daloli, Gobrapura and Machial. The Mahi River has its estuary near Khambat where pelicans are seen in good numbers and a variety of waders can be watched. Another route interesting for birdwatchers is the road from Jamnagar to Dwarka with reservoirs located off the highway like Sinhan and Khambaliya that are excellent for cranes, ducks, pratincoles, plovers and other birds. Closer to Dwarka is a detour to Charakla, with its salt-works, fisheries and shrimp breeding centres, which is an important bird area listed by International Bird Conservation Network. Thousands of flamingos and hundreds of pelicans can be seen here. There are chances of seeing four or five species of gulls in a single visit and a good number of terns. This is one of the few places in the Indian peninsula where the Caspian Tern nests.

Lakes at cities of Gujarat are also excellent sites for birdwatchers. Large flocks of White Pelican can be seen Lakhota or Ranmal Lake in Jamnagar, and nearby water bodies in the city, which also attract a variety of ducks and waders. More than 75 species of birds have been recorded in and around the lake. The Victoria Park and neighbouring Gaurishankar Lake in Bhavnagar comprise a very good bird-viewing area with an impressive checklist of birds possible over a three or four hour walk along the park trails and on the embankments of the lake. The New and Old Port of Bhavnagar also offer good bird-viewing, including huge Western Reef Egret heronries, and the city-centre parks like Pill Gardens are breeding areas for the near-threatened Painted Stork. Rajkot has good birdlife at lakes and dams in and around the city. The Hamirsar Lake in Bhuj and areas prone to flooding in its vicinity are very good bird sites in years of good monsoon. The medieval Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad is also visited by a good number of bird species and the trees of the zoological and other parks in the vicinity provide suitable nesting areas for Spoonbill, Black-crowned Night Heron and other birds. Birdwatchers will find a good number of species at the forests, reservoirs and streams of Narmada District, and can also delight in watching birds at places along the canals like the Bhashkarpara wetland, a tank in Surendranagar District near the Narmada Canal where counts have exceeded 20,000 waterfowl and lists include specialty birds of river-systems like the Indian Skimmer.

Top Sites
  • Banni Grassland Reserve

    Satellite View
    Like the Rann of Kutch, the Banni area is a low-lying plain said to have been formed from the silt left by the Indus River that once flowed through this region. This is one of the largest grassland tracts in India with an area of over 3800 sq km with around 40 different species of grasses. This area is widely recognised as important for birds because of its location on the flyway for many migratory species and migration studies have been conducted here by well-known organisations like the Bombay Natural History Society. The main focal point for those interested in birds is Charri Dhand, a lake near Fulay village, which in years of good rainfall is a birdwatcher’s dream destination. This lake is visited by large flocks of Demoiselle and Common Crane, said to be a large share of the world population, and equally impressive flocks of myriad duck species. The mix of grasslands, scrub and wetland also make this a heaven for raptors (birds of prey) with the Tawny Eagle and Bonnelli’s Eagle breeding here and Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Steppe Eagle wintering in the Banni area. Endangered species like the White-backed and Long-billed Vulture are seen in the Banni area. White-naped Tit is a vulnerable species of the Banni region.
  • Barda Hills Sanctuary

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Walking down the trails after reaching the Kileshwar Temple complex, gives you chance to spot nesting Pond Heron, nesting of Cattle Egret, Indian Pitta, Great-breasted Warbler, Whiteeye, Spotted Munia, Little Egret, Green Pigeon, Red-vented Bulbul, Indian Robin, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Paradise Flycatcher, Spotted Dove, Magpie Robin, Black Ibis, Nesting Sandgrouse, Common Iora, Pied Cuckoo, Indian Peafowl, Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, White-breasted Kingfisher, Little Ring Dove, Pearl Spotted Owlet and also experience nature untouched by humans. Other wild life found here are: Jackal, Wolf, Jungle cat, Mongoose, Rabbits, Porcupine, Hyena, Civet, Cobra, python, Blue Bull, Mugur crocodile, etc. Barda hills are located about 90 Kilometers from Jamnagar…
  • Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is internationally known as the remaining habitat of the Asiatic Lion. For birdwatchers, Gir is an interesting place to see raptors like the critically endangered White-backed and Long-billed Vultures, near threatened Red-headed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, vulnerable Greater Spotted Eagle and the endangered Pallas’ Fish Eagle. Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle and other magnificent birds of prey nest in the forests of Gir. Even non-birdwatchers will enjoy seeing attractive birds like the Asian Paradise Flycatcher that looks fairy-like as it flies with its tail feathers trailing behind, the brilliant golden yellow Black-hooded Oriole, the Blossom-headed Parakeet, the Painted Francolin, Painted Sandgrouse, the colourful Coppersmith Barbet and myriad flycatchers. The water bodies like Kamleshwar Dam are also good sites for birdwatchers. Darters, Painted Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, motley species of ducks and other waterfowl can be seen at this dam and at other wetlands of Gir, and the vulnerable Indian Skimmer is also known to visit the water bodies in the sanctuary.
  • Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    Close to Jamnagar, the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is one of the top sites for the Indian Skimmer, a vulnerable species that most birdwatchers want to have on their list of sightings in India. The Indian Skimmer is a delightful bird to watch with its striking red bill and black-head standing out against its predominantly white body. A unique feature of the Indian Skimmer is its bill that has a longer lower mandible than the upper one enabling it to feed while flying over the surface of the water with only the tip of its beak skimming the surface, a graceful sight to behold. The bird sanctuary is unique in having fresh-water lakes on one side of the road bisecting it and salt water marshes on the other. Driving or walking on the road offers a good opportunity to scan both kinds of wetlands to see a variety of wading birds that are characteristic of each. The sanctuary has resident populations of Nakta or Comb Duck, Spot-bill and other ducks and also attracts large flocks of migratory ducks like Shoveler and Pintail. It is an important site for the Baer’s Pochard. The Black-necked Stork nests at Khijadiya. This is also one of the few sanctuaries in peninsular India where the Crested Grebe breeds. Khijadiya is also the breeding area for a number of wading birds.
  • Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary - The largest wildlife reserve in Gujarat is the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, comprising more than 7500 sq km which includes part of the Great Rann of Kutch. This sanctuary is specially noted for the area called the Flamingo City near Solanki Bet. The marshes of this great sanctuary The breeding of the White Pelican and Avocet also been recorded here and nowhere else in India, and many other interesting species of birds can be seen at the marshes of the Great Rann of Kutch. Most of the mammals seen in the Wild Ass Sanctuary are also found here.
  • Little Rann Of Kutch

    Satellite View
    Once part of the Arabian Sea, the Great and the Little Rann of Kutch were separated from each other and from the Gulf of Kutch by silting and other geographical forces. In the monsoon, the Great and the Little Rann of Kutch are inundated with water. As they dry in winter, the land gets converted into a salt-encrusted desert landscape interspersed with elevated areas called `bets’ or islands that are vegetated as they fall above the water-level and wetlands. This unique landscape harbours a rich and varied birdlife typical of the habitat. This sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers because of its range of habitats from the salt-encrusted desert landscape to vegetated elevated patches called bets that were probably islands when the Little Rann was an arm of the Gulf of Kutch to wetlands left behind after the monsoon months when the Rann is inundated with water. Indian and Spotted Sandgrouse, Desert and Pied Wheatear, more than 10 species of lark, and other birds characteristic of the desert habitat are seen when driving around the Rann. White-eared Bulbul, Indian Courser, Stone-plover and shrikes are seen in the scrubby and grass-covered areas of the sanctuary. In winter, the sanctuary is visited by the near-threatened Macqueen’s Bustard. It is also an important area for critically threatened vulture species and vulnerable species of eagle. The wetlands attract large congregations of birds and are best visited in winter when migrating birds join the residents. Both the species of flamingo found in India and all the three species of pelican have been seen at the wetlands, and the marshes of the Little Rann are the breeding site of thousands of Lesser Flamingo. Large flocks of Demoiselle and Common Cranes, a variety of ducks and two species of geese visit the wetlands in winter. This sanctuary is also the habitat of the Sarus Crane. Three species of ibis, Spoonbill and flocks of godwits, stints, sandpipers, shanks, moorhen and other wading birds can be seen at the water bodies.
  • Marine National Park

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Offshore from the southern coast of the Gulf of Kutch, 42 islands sit like little gems in the Arabian Sea. Fringed by coral reefs and mangrove swamps, these islands are a treasure-trove of marine species and a paradise for birdwatchers. In 1980, Gujarat notified India’s first Marine Sanctuary covering about 460 sq km of the coastal zone including most of the islands, and two years later about 162 sq km from this was accorded further protection as India’s first Marine National Park.About 80 bird species are recorded on the islands including Crab Plover, Kentish Plover, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Sanderling, Little and Temmick’s Stints, sandpipers, herons and godwits. The highlight of islands like Pirotan and Narara is seeing large flocks of Crab Plover. The swamp forests of the islands, featuring about seven species of mangrove, have breeding colonies of near-threatened species like Painted Stork, Darter and Black-necked Ibis, and other birds like egrets and herons. The islands are also breeding areas for terns and other birds. On the boat crossing to the islands, there are chances of seeing Pallas’ Fish Eagle, Osprey and other raptors.
  • Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    The highest count of birds in the state is usually at the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, a shallow freshwater lake that is among the largest of its kind in India with hundreds of islands dotting its expanse of more than 100 sq km. About 250 species of birds have been recorded at this sanctuary and a birdwatcher can hope to record 100 or more on a winter day when Nalsarovar is one of the most important wintering areas for waterfowl in Gujarat with a waterfowl count yielding 190,000 birds. A country boat ride on the lake is a beautiful experience. As the boatman poles the boat through the aquatic grasses towards more open waters, you are treated to the sight of magnificently-coloured birds - both the species of flamingos and all the three species of pelicans found in India have been recorded at the sanctuary, and spectacular flocks of Demoiselle and Common Cranes, geese and myriad duck species can be seen here in winter. Brilliantly coloured birds like the Purple Swamphen and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, and a number of other wading birds, can be seen working the shallows of the lake. This is also the hunting ground of vulnerable species of raptors like the Pallas’ Fish Eagle and Greater-spotted Eagle. Sarus Cranes breed near the lake and other birds have been known to nest on the islands.
  • Naliya - Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    Another significant grassland habitat of Kutch is the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary at Lala near Naliya in Abdasa taluka. Though covering only about 20 sq km of area, this grassland is very important for birdwatchers as perhaps the only sanctuary in India where three species of bustard are found – the endangered Great Indian Bustard is resident here, the endangered Lesser Florican breeds here during the monsoon months, and the near-threatened Macqueen’s Bustard is a winter visitor. There is a good drivable track through the sanctuary that offers a chance of seeing the endangered Great Indian Bustard and a variety of other birds like the Black and Grey Francolin, Spotted and Indian Sandgrouse, quails, larks, shrikes, coursers and plovers. This sanctuary is also interesting for birdwatchers as vulnerable species like the Stoliczka’s Bushchat and White-naped Tit could also be seen. The sanctuary is important for birds of prey like the Imperial Eagle that visits in winter. The sanctuary extends north towards the creeks of Jakhau along the coast of Kutch where large flocks of flamingos, herons, egrets, sandpipers and other birds can be seen.
  • Porbandar

    InformationSatellite View
    Although Porbandar town has a Bird Sanctuary, on most visits I have found more birds at the creeks. This is a mind-blowing area to view and photograph Flamingos that allow you to get quite close as they are used to the bustle of the town surrounding them. A wide variety of other wetland birds can be seen in town and on the road to Dwarka, and also, coastal species by the sea.
  • Thol Bird Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    The Thol Bird Sanctuary north of Ahmedabad, in Mehsana District, comprises a lake created in 1912 when the Maharajas of Baroda ruled parts of this district. There are good chances of seeing the Sarus Crane in the fields flooded by channels and overflow from the lake and a huge variety of birds can be seen when approaching the lake at the pools and canals. The lake is a good place to see White Pelican and Painted Stork in large flocks and a variety of ducks. Do not ignore the scrub along the embankments where a good number of birds can be watched. The low trees along the lake sometimes harbour nesting birds.
  • Velavadar National Park

    Satellite View
    The Savannah-like grassland of Velavadar National Park is one of the most important sites in India for the vulnerable Stolizca
Contributors
  • Anil Mulchandani

    Ahmedabad | amulchandani@hotmail.com

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 603

    (As at December 2018)

    State Bird: Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus

Endemics
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
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 ISBN: Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of Northern India

    by Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp | Christopher Helm | 2003 | Paperback | 304 pages, 120 plates with colour illustrations | ISBN: 9780713651676 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Faunal Diversity of Khijadiya Lake and Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

    (An Avian Community Perspective) | by Sanjeev Kumar | Zoological Survey of India | 2013 | Paperback | 193 pages, 18 plates with illustrations; colour illustrations, 2 colour maps | ISBN: 9788181713223 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Field Guide to Birds in and around Indroda Nature Park

    Written & Published by Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER Foundation) | 2017 | Paperback | 68 pages, colour photos | ISBN: #235583 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Khijadia

    InformationSatellite View
    The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is located about 12 km. away from Jamnagar. It is a unique wetland eco-system having two fresh water lakes extending on an area of 6.05 SQ. km. Besides, marshes, mangroves, creek, of the Gulf of Kutch and salt pans are located in the adjoining area. The adjoining area falls in the Marine Sanctuary and therefore, the entire Khijadiya area forms an excellent and unique eco-system found no where else in India. It provides unique assemblage of fresh and saline wetlands providing micro habitat diversity to water birds. One can find both sea and shore birds, here like the black-necked stork, great crested grebe, shikra, Indian spotted eagle, black ibis, black-winged kite, brahminy kite, pheasant-tailed jacana, great thick-knee, common greenshank, grey francolin, imperial eagle, little tern, black-tailed godwit, knob-billed duck, common crane, common teal, dunlin, garganey, marsh harrier, northern pintail, shoveler, Eurasian wigeon, pale harrier, demoiselle, cormorants and darters.
  • BS Nal Sarovar

    InformationSatellite View
    The wetlands of the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary near the Nalsarovar lake is a great place to view birds. A seasonal lake spread over 115 sq km, Nalsarovar harbours over 250 species of birds. Small boats carry visitors close enough to see birds like the kingfishers.
  • BS Porbandar

    InformationSatellite View
    It lies in the heart of city of Porbandar and is a unique example of co-existence of man and nature.
  • BS Thol Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    It was constructed as an irrigation tank in 1912. It is a fresh water lake surrounded by marshes. It was declared the Thol Bird Sanctuary in 1988; it is a habitat to 150 species of birds, about 60% are waterbirds. Many migratory birds nest and breed in the lake and its periphery. Notable species include Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga) and sarus crane (Antigone antigone).
  • BS WS WII Chari-Dhand Wetland Conservation Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    This is a seasonal desert wetland and only gets swampy during a good monsoon, receiving water from the north flowing rivers as well as from the huge catchment areas of many surrounding big hills. It is spread over an area of 80 km2.
  • NP Gir

    InformationSatellite View
    Located in the south-west fringes of the Saurashtra Peninsula, The Gir National Park is a haven to about 300 Asiatic Lions which is their last surviving population.This area flanked with three unique and unusual reserves, the Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary; the Rann of Kutch and the Flamingo Islands. The plentiful avifauna population has more than 300 species of birds, most of which are resident. The scavenger group of birds has 6 recorded species of vultures. Some of the typical species of Gir include crested serpent eagle, endangered Bonelli's eagle, crested hawk-eagle, brown fish owl, Indian eagle-owl, rock bush-quail, Indian peafowl, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, black-headed oriole, crested treeswift and Indian pitta.
  • NP Vansda (aka Bansda)

    InformationSatellite View
    Riding on the banks of Ambika River and measuring roughly 24 km2 in area, the park lies about 65 km east of the town of Chikhali on the National Highway 8, and about 80 km north-east of the city of Valsad. Vansda, the town from which the name of the park is derived. About 155 species of birds are found including common grey hornbill, grey-fronted green pigeon, yellow backed sunbird, Malabar trogon, jungle babbler, forest spotted owlet, shama, great Indian black woodpecker, are found.
  • NP Velavadar (aka Blackbuck National Park)

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is located around 42 km from the district headquarters city of Bhavnagar. Hugging the coasts of the Gulf of Khambhat on the south, it is spread over an area of 34.08 km2, which was primarily a "vidi" (grassland) of the maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar for hunting the blackbucks with his famous hunting cheetahs. On the northern side, it is surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. The national park has been classified as 4B Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of semi-arid bio-geographical zone. Wildlife abounds and birds are numerous including the world's largest harrier roost.
  • WS Barda

    InformationSatellite View
    It is situated approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Porbandar and 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Gir Forest National Park. Previous to its 1979 establishment as a wildlife sanctuary, Barda was a private reserve for Porbandar and Jamnagar.
  • WS Rann of Kutch

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Rann of Kutch is a large area of salt marshes located mostly in Gujarat (primarily the Kutch district), India and the southern tip of Sindh, Pakistan. It is divided into two main parts: Great Rann of Kutch and Little Rann of Kutch. The Rann of Kutch is the only large flooded grasslands zone in the whole Indo-Malayan region. The fact that the area has desert on one side and the sea on the other provides the Rann of Kutch with a variety of ecosystems, including mangroves and desert vegetation. The grassland and deserts of the Rann of Kutch are home to forms of wildlife that have adapted to the often harsh conditions of this vast area. These include endemic and endangered animal
  • WS Sonai Rupai

    InformationSatellite View
    The Sonai Rupai sanctuary is a picturesque Indian wildlife sanctuary, offering breathtaking views of natural beauty and wildlife. Birds include white winged wood duck, hornbills, pelicans, etc. and various types of migratory birds.
Guides & Tour Operators


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Anytime Tours - 10 Days Birding in Gujarat

    Tour Operator
    This tour is designed for bird watchers interested in species such as McQueen’s bustard, sociable lapwing, Indian courser, crab plover, white-browed bushchat and very large congregation of birds in different habitats. One also sees the highly endangered mammals in this tour. Bhuj extension (optional 3nights and 4 days): the best habitat for white-naped tit, Marshall’s iora & grey hypocolius. The best tim to go is from November until April…
  • Cedo Birding (Centre for Desert and Ocean)

    Tour Operator
    Centre for Desert and Ocean is a registered Wildlife Conservation Organization. The aims and objectives of the CEDO is to do wildlife conservation work in the remote desert region of Kutch district in Gujarat state of India
  • Gujarat Birding

    Tour Operator
    Bird watching, wildlife, Birding tour - Birdwatching trip can be organise as per individual, group's desire. Deciduous forest, hills, cultivation and wetland areas surround the campsite. Various ecosystems are habitat of colourful and interesting birdlife
  • Rann Riders

    Tour Operator
    The Little Rann of Kutch is a birding paradise and has been declared a Ramsar Site. During the safaris in the Rann expect to see large flocks of larks, and other dryland birds like sandgrouse, coursers, plovers, chats, warblers, babblers, shrikes. Among the many winter visitors are the houbara bustard and spotted sandgrouse
  • Tragopan Tours

    Tour Operator
    Highlights: The Great and Little Rann, Asiatic Lion, Crab Plover and search for the Stoliczka
Trip Reports


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  • 2009 [12 December] - Ian Merrill - Rajasthan, Gujarat & Maharashtra

    Report
    Our 2009 North West India trip was largely inspired by the travels of our good friends Rob Hutchinson and James Eaton (www.birdtourasia.com), who had followed a similar route the previous winter. The main constraint of our trip was the two-week window of travel time available, which meant that we could not follow Rob and James’ full circuit; this is where the logistical planning became interesting, in deciding which of the mouth-watering selection of birds and mammals we could afford to omit.
  • 2012 [02 February] - Steve Lister - Rajasthan and Gujarat

    PDF Report
    (targeted all of the key birds of western Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as covering Asiatic Lion (Gir Forest), Asiatic Wild Ass (Little Rann of Kutch) and both Wolf and Striped Hyena (Velavadar))
  • 2013 [02 February] - James Eaton & Frank Lambert

    PDF Report
    …Although we recorded just 299 species the list of megas was impressive; Green Avadavat, Macqueen’s Bustard, Hypocolius, Sociable Plover, Sykes’s Nightjar, White- naped Tit, Crab-Plover, 13,000 Demoiselle Cranes, 35,000 Common Crane, Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Mottled Wood Owl and to finish off, the critically endangered Forest Owlet Add in some impressive mammals including the majestic Asiatic Lion, and this was a wonderful visit to one of India’s most exciting areas…
  • 2014 [01 January] - Frank Lambert - West India

    PDF Report
    …After lunch we tracked down an obliging pair of Stoliczka’s Bushchats and spend more than 30 minutes appreciating these increasingly rare birds. As we did so, we found another four bustards, although these were almost certainly some of the same birds we had seen earlier. Several vultures then put in an appearance, gradually coming nearer and nearer until their identification was easily confirmed. Two huge Monk Vultures were joined by a couple of Red-headed Vultures and Eurasian Griffons, confirming that this part of India it is still possible to encounter several species of these rare birds…
  • 2014 [01 January] - James Eaton - West India

    PDF Report
    …An afternoon walk along the river and reedbed was similar to the morning; pleasant general birding and great views of some particularly confiding Moustached Warblers, Baya and Black-breasted Weavers, Red Avadavats, Black-rumped Flamebacks, raucous Jungle Babblers and a Hoopoe posing in a trackside tree….
  • 2014 [02 February] - Bo Beolens

    Report PDF
    Fatbirder's trip to Gujarat…
  • 2015 [01 January] - Frank Lambert - Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra

    PDF Report
    ...West India also supports huge numbers of wintering birds, in particular raptors and waterbirds, of which we saw plenty, and rarer species such as Hypocolius and Macqueen’s Bustard, both of which gave us outstanding views. Although we recorded just 298 species this included many memorable species such as White-bellied Minivet, White-naped Tit, Indian Spotted Creeper, Green Avadavat, Painted Sandgrouse, Indian Courser, Yellow-eyed Pigeon, five species of vulture, Pallid Scops Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Sykes’s Nightjar and to finish off, the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet...
  • 2015 [02 February] - Richard Webb

    PDF Report
    Although primarily a mammal trip we also saw 224 species of birds including two Great Indian Bustards, Grey Hypocolius, thousands of Common Cranes in Velavadar, great views of five species of owl, Indian Eagle, Mottled Wood, Short-eared and Collared Scops Owl along with Spotted Owlet, and some great waders including 16 Sociable Plovers, 13 Small Pratincoles and lots of Indian Coursers.
  • 2015 [03 March] - Graeme Wright - Rajasthan, Gujarat (and New Delhi)

    PDF Report
    ...Morning birding in Abu Road – tried for Grey Jungle Fowl at road to Temple Sanctuary, but a Brown Headed Pygmy Woodpecker was nesting by the entrance as was a Yellow Crowned Woodpecker.
  • 2016 [03 March] - Peregrine Rowse - Rann of Kutch

    PDF Report
    ...The lake and mudflats were covered with duck and vast numbers of Avocet as well as Black tailed Godwit but in such a huge, flat, open expanse many birds were distant. There were at least several hundred Lesser Flamingo. Common Cranes were numerous and there was a lovely flock of c. 200 Demoiselle Crane. We checked some fallow fields and found a lovely pair of Indian Courser and Yellow wattled Lapwing, and Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse. A real surprise was four lovely Wild Ass out on the mudflat; they were golden in the evening sun.
  • 2017 [01 January] - Aseem Kothiala - Little Rann of Kutch

    Report
    ...MacQueen's bustard commonly also called as the Houbara bustard, is seriously threatened and classified as Vulnerable. Excessive hunting are among factors responsible for the diminishing houbara numbers. While we looked for it, sighted it very close, roosting under a shrub. Within a couple of seconds, before we could click, the shy bird took a short flight and started to walk fast away from us, stopped, glanced at us and took flight to disappear....
  • 2017 [01 January] - James Eaton

    PDF Report
    A region long neglected has now become a popular destination due to the large number of very rare and, in many cases declining, subcontinent endemics reliant on the natural grasslands of Central and West India. We managed a clean-sweep of all of the specialities of the region, with pride of place going to the regal Great Indian Bustard after just an hour of searching. Among the 344 species recorded, the list of megas was impressive; Rufous-vented Grass-babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Mountain Chiffchaff, Yellow-eyed Dove, Green Avadavat, Macqueen’s Bustard, Hypocolius, Sociable Lapwing, Sykes’s Nightjar, White-naped Tit, Crab Plover, Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Mottled Wood Owl, Vigors’s Sunbird and to finish off, the critically endangered Forest Owlet. Add in some impressive mammals and some of the finest food in Asia, and this was a wonderful visit to one of India’smost exciting areas.
  • 2018 [01 January] - Mike Nelson

    PDF Report
    West India is a haven for endemics with a fine mixture of arid habitat specialists, reed lurking skulkers, some fantastic night birding and some of India’s most sought-after and, sadly, threatened species along with some tasty cuisine made for another fantastic tour.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Hannu Jännes

    PDF Report
    This was yet another very successful Birdquest tour to the north western of India with an epic journeythrough the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat plus a short visit to the state of Maharasthra to conclude. We recorded no fewer than 330 bird species and 17 mammals, and, more importantly, we found almost every bird specialty of the dry western and central regions of the subcontinent including a number of increasingly scarce species with highly restricted ranges like the impressive Great Indian Bustard (with a world population of only 150 or so), the beautifully patterned White-naped Tit, White-browed (or Stoliczka’s) Bush Chat and the Critically Endangered Indian Vulture.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Mark Smiles

    PDF Report
    This was a short trip with my wife, primarily aimed at targeting the NW India specials, with the very (impossibly, as it turned out) optimistic hope of also picking up Great Indian Bustard that is all but gone from the Naliya reserve. Being based in Dubai, this was almost a long weekend getaway, with flights between Dubai and Ahmedabad taking just over a couple of hours.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson

    PDF Report
    This very special custom tour of West India, with a focus not only on seeing the most special birds of the area but also the most spectacular mammals such as Tiger, Asiatic Lion and Leopard, and although these took center stage among the mammals, we also enjoyed amazing encounters with Jungle Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat, ‘Desert’ Wild Cat, and the beautiful Blackbuck.
Places to Stay


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Blackbuck Lodge

    Accommodation
    The Blackbuck Lodge is one of the most amazing wildlife resorts of Western India. Sitting comfortably amid the Savannah, the superbly appointed cottages of The Blackbuck Lodge offer an opportunity to luxuriate in the wilderness. Lodged in a luxurious room with wide-ranging modern conveniences, gaze out of the deck at the changing colours of the grasslands and the wealth of wildlife. The elegant Indian antelope, called blackbuck, venture close to the cottages, while globally-threatened birds can be seen in the bushes. For more wildlife experiences, the lodge provides safaris in customized jeeps with experienced drivers and guides/spotters. Book a Bush Dinner which is a romantic experience with a beautiful setting enhanced by scores of lanterns, a bonfire and an open barbecue under the star-lit skies.
  • Gir Birding Lodge

    Accommodation
    The Gir Birding Lodge is located in a large mango orchard at the entrance to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The lodge has two rooms in the main building (sharing a bath) and 4 cottages with attached bathrooms, featuring western toilet fittings, hot-and-cold showers…
  • Hotel President - Jamnagar

    Accommodation
    We have provision for guides for taking guests for Bird watching & Coral Watching and also for Boat Hire for trips to the Marine National Park & Sanctuary
  • Lemon Tree Premier the Atrium - Ahmedabad

    Accommodation
    Decent, although over-priced, hotel 15 minutes from the airport…
  • Rann Riders Dasada

    Accommodation
    Rann Riders has a cottage camp at Dasada, near the Little Rann of Kutch wildlife sanctuary, offering eight cottages resembling traditional village huts, with comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms featuring hot showers and English toilets. Whether you are looking for a place to get away from it all-unwind on hammocks in the Nilgiri thicket, stroll in the farmlands, ride a boat on the lake-or an exciting holiday of exhilarating…
  • The Gateway Hotel - Gir Forest

    Accommodation
    Located at the edge of the world-renowned Gir Forest, The Gateway Hotel is the ideal getaway for nature lovers, holidaying families and honeymooners alike. Surrounded by rich jungles, the hotel faces the Hiran River and offers the perfect setting to take in the calm, far from the bustle of the city…
Other Links
  • Birding Fulay

    Webpage
    Birding the Grey Hypocolius by the village of Fulay, Kutch, Gujarat
  • Birding Kutch Bustard Sanctuary

    Webpage
    Birding the Critically Endangered Great Indian bustard in the Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Gujarat
  • Birding the Gir Forest National Park

    Webpage
    Birding the Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat
  • Birding the Little Rann of Kutch

    Webpage
    Birding the Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
  • Birds of Gujarat

    Website
    A database and gallery of the birds of the state.
  • Checklist - Jamnagar

    Website
  • Gujarat Biodiversity

    Website
    Exploration of Biodiversity of Gujarat - An Incessant Effort by Hiren Soni, Anand, Gujarat, India
  • Gujarat Fauna

    Website
    The thick forests of Dangs, receiving maximum rains and having abundant greenery, are the home of beautiful birds such as Trogon, hornbills, barbets, babblers, racket-tailed drongos and minivets. The sarus, pea-fowls, red-wattled lapwings, parakeets, babblers and mynas are mostly found in the plains. The extensive coastal regions of the state give shelter to a number of birds such as plovers, stints, sandi pipers, curlews, lesser flamingoes, terns and gulls. During the winter, flocks of migratory birds come down to Gujarat from faraway countries, some of which have their habitat in Siberia. The great and the little Rann of Kutch, when filled with water during favourable monsoon, serve as breeding ground for flamingoes, pelicans and avocets
  • Jamnagar a bird watchers paradise

    Website
    An official survey shows that the most number of birds in India are in Gujarat state and in the Gujarat state, the most number of birds are found in Jamnagar…

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