Karnataka

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis ©Aseem Kumar Kothiala Website
Birding Karnataka

Karnataka is the third largest state in peninsular India. It is surrounded by Maharashtra to the north, Goa and the Arabian Sea to the west, Andhra Pradesh to the east and Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the south. The Capital is Bangalore, which is the most cosmopolitan city with Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli being other major cities. Kannada is the principal language, although there is a sizeable population of Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Konkani and Hindi speaking people. English is the lingua franca helping the people from diverse cultural backgrounds to communicate freely.

The state is blessed with one of the best forested regions of the country (more than 32,000sq km of forest cover). These are the Western Ghats, running parallel to the Arabian Sea coast on the west, along the length of the state. The tri-state junction in the south forms the Nilgiri Bio-sphere Reserve, one of the top global bio-diversity hotspots, and it also hosts a handful of national parks, mostly in the southern parts of the state. The rest of the state, on the eastern side, is a flat plain comprising the Deccan Plateau. Altitudes vary from sea level on the western coast to about 300m in most of the north & north-east, about 600m in most of the south and south-east and 900m+ towards the south-east side where the Western Ghats begin. The state is blessed with a coastline of approximately 270km (Mangalore-Karwar) dotted with some of the finest beaches and sacred religious places. Numerous rivers like the Krishna, Tungabhadra, Netravati, Kalinadi and Pennar enrich the state with their perennial flow as most of them originate in the Western Ghats. The state is also well developed industrially and has many universities offering education at all levels.

The state enjoys a quite long winter and is a frequent stopover point for winter migrants. Bar-headed Geese can been seen in very big flocks in Mysore and some regions of north Karnataka. Karnataka also plays host to a large number of winter breeders like the Painted Stork, White Ibis, etc. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, situated about 80Kms from Mysore is one of the most active nesting areas.

Tourism is a major industry in the state,providing the tourists with a wide variety of choice in religious,historical,eco & wildlife and leisure sectors. Karnataka treats a visitor to an authentic flavor of the peninsular India with it’s numerous options.

Top Sites
  • Anshi National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    A 250sq km national park (the final declaration of its status is pending) that lies in the Western Ghats adjoining Goa state and the Dandeli National Park. It is located in the Uttara Kannada district and consists of semi-evergreen & evergreen forests. Apart from birds you may see Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Wildboar, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Slender Loris, Indian Wild dog, Malabar giant squirrel and Giant flying squirrel, the Big 4 venomous snakes & Indian rock Python. Special birds include Great pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Malabar pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, & Srilanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus monileger.
  • Bandipur National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The park stretches over 874 square kilometers (337 sq mi), protecting the wildlife of Karnataka. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park (643 km2 (248 sq mi)), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2 (120 sq mi)) and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2 (133 sq mi)), it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totaling 2,183 km2 (843 sq mi). It is notable as the home to around seventy Bengal tigers and over three thousand Indian elephants (in 1997 [1]) Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve…
  • Gudavi Bird Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    A small bird preserve with a large tank and surrounding dense moist deciduous forest and agricultural fields. Noted for its migratory and resident waterfowl. About 8000 White Ibis are recorded annually.
  • Kabini River Lodge

    WebsiteSatellite View
    About 6 hrs drive from Bangalore, this is a favourite spot for wildlife lovers in the dry season. Kabini River Lodge on the banks of River Kabini, was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore…
  • Kudremukh National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    A 600 sq km of pristine wilderness area nestled in western ghats is known for the nature's bounty in the form of it's numerous rivers and beautiful landscapes. The story of this national park is one of the sweetest success stories for the environmental NGOs of India who fought tirelessly for decades to close down mining operations of a large mining corporation in the core area and replant the area destroyed by their activities. The park is a mixture of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and Shola grasslands which supports Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque and such top birds as Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus, Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii, and Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia.
  • Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    This 247sq km sanctuary comprises evergreen,semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests. Located in the Udipi district,approximately 425 km from Bangalore and 130km from Mangalore. Atractions include Lion-tailed Macaque, Giant Squirrels and Slender Loris and the endangered Cane Turtle. Top birds include White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra and Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus.
  • Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

    WebsiteSatellite View
    A winter spot for birds and birders. Some species of birds that are known to have made Ranganathittu their breeding abode are Spoonbills, Open-bill Storks, Darters, White Ibis, Little Cormorants, River Tern etc.
  • Selected Additional Sites

    Attiveri Bird Sanctuary - a 2.23sq km bird sanctuary in and around the Attiveri reservoir, located in Uttara Kannada district approximately 400km from Bangalore via Shiggaon and 43km from Hubli.Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - situated in the western ghats comprising moist and dry deciduous forests it is a 492sq km sanctuary which is recently upgraded to a Project Tiger Reserve. Noted for Rubythroated Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus, Shama Copsychus malabaricus, Malabar Whistling Thrush, 4 species of the Hornbills, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus, Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus, & White bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis.Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary - particularly noted for Rufous bellied Hawk-eagle Hieraaetus kienerii.Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary - noted for Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica, Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus, Malabar Trogon. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary - noted for Sirkeer Cuckoo Phaenicophaeus leschenaultia, Greenbilled Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis and Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus.Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary - One of the last patches of pristine forests in the Western Ghats, which extends over 475 sq km. Noted for White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis. Ghataprabha Bird Sanctuary - Situated along the Ghataprabha river and has an area of 30sq km. Noted for water birds.
Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 531

    (As at December 2018)

    State Bird: Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis

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 Hill Region of Karnataka

    By AK Chakravarthy & KPPC Tejasvi | Navbharath Enterprises | 1992 | Paperback | 148 pages, Colour & b/w photos, line illustrations, maps | ISBN: #50225 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Organisations
  • Birdwatchers' Field Club of Bangalore

    Wiki
    The group has been active in conducting mid-winter waterfowl censuses. The club was also involved in a survey of wetlands around Bangalore in collaboration with the Forest Department of the Karnataka state and was involved in a comprehensive survey of water quality parameters including chemical, physical and biological status.…
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Attiveri

    InformationSatellite View
    Spread over an area of about 2.23 km2, the sanctuary is located in and around the Attiveri reservoir. The part of the sanctuary surrounding the reservoir has riverine and deciduous forests. Birds inhabiting this area include cattle egret, Indian and little cormorants, black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, pied and white-throated kingfishers, Indian grey hornbill and barn swallow. The agricultural fields surrounding the sanctuary attract a variety of aquatic creatures.
  • BS Ghataprabha

    InformationSatellite View
    Ghataprabha Bird Sanctuary is 29.78 square kilometres, and its boundaries enclose a stretch of about 28 km of the Ghataprabha River, including the reservoir resulting from the dam built near Dhupdhal. The sanctuary is known for migratory birds such as the demoiselle crane and European white stork. It is surrounded by agricultural fields. Between November and March is the best time to visit the sanctuary, when most of the migratory bird species nest there.
  • BS Gudavi

    InformationSatellite View
    Gudavi Bird Sanctuary is located on the Banavasi Road in Gudavi of Sorab Taluk which is 16.01 km from Sorab town. The bird sanctuary is one of the best five of Karnataka. It is spread over an area of 0.74 square km. 217 different species of birds belonging to 48 families are found there.
  • BS Ranganathittu

    InformationSatellite View
    Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, also known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, is a bird sanctuary. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state,[2] only 40 acres (16 ha) in area, and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri river. The islands are host to numerous small mammals, including bonnet macaque, colonies of flying fox and common small mammals like common palm civet and Indian gray mongoose and the monitor lizard. The mugger crocodile or marsh crocodile is a common inhabitant of the riverine reed beds and Ranganathittu has largest fresh water crocodile population in Karnataka state as well, of course, as many bird species.
  • NP Bandipur

    InformationSatellite View
    Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is a tiger reserve with an area of 900 square km. In the dense moist deciduous forests of this area the upper canopy reaches heights of 30m and valuable hardwoods like teak and rosewood are also to be found here. This is one of the finest habitats of the Asian elephant. Drained by the Moyar River, its open forest makes it easy for visitors to see the elephant and gaur in natural surroundings…
  • NP IBA Nagarhole

    InformationSatellite View
    It is one of India's premier Tiger Reserves along with the adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy predator-prey ratio, with many tigers, Gaur, elephants, Indian leopards, and deer (Chital, Sambar, etc.). Recognised as an Important Bird Area the park has over 270 species of birds including the 'critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), 'vulnerable' lesser adjutant (Leptopilos javanicus), greater spotted eagle (Aquila changa) and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).
  • NP Kudremukh

    InformationSatellite View
    Kuduremukha is a mountain range and name of a peak located in Chikkamagaluru district, in Karnataka, India. It is also the name of a small hill station cum mining town situated near the mountain, about 48 kilometres from Karkala and around 20 kilometres from Kalasa. Kudremukh National Park is spread partly over the thick hilly forests near the coastal plains on the western portion and the shola vegetation on the Western Ghats uplands, covering parts of three districts, viz., Chickmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.
  • NP Mudumalai

    InformationSatellite View
    The hilly terrain of the Western Ghats, clothed in dense mixed and moist deciduous forests, make Mudumalai (the ancient hills) a most attractive wildlife reserve. The Mysore-Ooty highway runs through the Park, following the course of the Moyar River, which separates Mudumalai from Bandipur. Just 321sq. km. in area the hilly terrain provides diverse habitats. There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture.
  • TR Kali Tiger Reserve (NP Anshi)

    InformationSatellite View
    The black panther, elephants and tigers live in the park but are rarely seen. Other large mammals here abound. Interesting birds include the Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Indian Grey Hornbill and Asian Fairy Bluebird. Around 200 species of birds are recorded in the park. These include the distinctive adjutant stork, ashy woodswallow, black-crested bulbul, blue-headed pitta, brahminy kite, broad-billed roller, crested serpent eagle, golden-backed woodpecker and yellow-footed green pigeon.
  • WS Bhadra

    InformationSatellite View
    Bhadra sanctuary consists of two adjacent sections. The main western Lakkavalli-Muthodi section lies from 13˚22’ to 13˚47’ N latitude, 75˚29’ to 75˚45’ E longitude and the smaller eastern Bababudangiri section from 13˚30’ to 13˚33’ N latitude and 75˚44’ to 75˚47’ E longitude. An estimated 33 tigers are found in Bhadra. It has more than 300 species of birds, some endemic to this region and some migratory.[4] Some of the species are grey junglefowl, red spurfowl, painted bush quail, emerald dove, southern green imperial pigeon, great black woodpecker, Malabar parakeet, hill myna, ruby-throated bulbul, shama, Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush, four species of hornbill and racquet-tailed drongo.
  • WS Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple

    InformationSatellite View
    The Biligirirangana Hills, commonly called BR Hills, is a hill range situated in south-eastern Karnataka, at its border with Tamil Nadu (Erode District) in South India. The forests form an important wildlife corridor between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, linking the largest populations of Asian elephants and tigers in southern India. A recent (2017) survey has revealed the presence of 62 tigers in this sanctuary. 254 species of birds recorded in the BR hills. These include the enigmatic southern population of the white-winged tit (Parus nuchalis).
  • WS Brahmagiri

    InformationSatellite View
    It is situated on the border between Wyanad District of Kerala state on the south and Kodagu District in Karnataka on the north side. It is located at a distance of 243 km from Bangalore. Birds in the sanctuary include emerald dove, black bulbul and Malabar trogon.
  • WS Cauvery

    InformationSatellite View
    The Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Ramanagar districts. The two most endangered species in the sanctuary are Gyps species of vultures – the white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus). The four vulnerable species reported are Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii), greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), white-naped tit (Parus nuchalis) and yellow-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus xantholaemus). Other bird species reported are 25 species of Malayan Tropical Dry Zone which includes the near threatened red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus). The species of least concern reported here is the resident white-bellied blue-flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes).
  • WS Dandeli

    InformationSatellite View
    Along with neighboring Anshi National Park (339.87 square kilometres (83,980 acres)), the sanctuary was declared part of the Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve in 2006. Karnataka state government has officially notified the Dandeli Elephant Reserve under Project Elephant on 4 June 2015.
  • WS Mookambika

    InformationSatellite View
    The sanctuary lies in the Western Ghats in Udupi district of Karnataka. The sanctuary consists of an area of 274 km2 (106 square miles). It has west coast tropical evergreen forests, west coast semi evergreen forests, southern secondary moist mixed deciduous forests and dry grasslands in its ranges. Good for large mamals and Jungle myna, Peafowl, Great Indian hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill, Common fowl, Common myna, White cheeked bulbul, Red vented bulbul, Little cormorant, Cattle egret, Little egret, Black drongo, Jungle crow, Crow pheasant, Brahminy kite, Grey jungle fowl, Pea fowl, White breasted water hen, Red wattled lapwinger, Spotted dove, Blue rock pigeon, White breasted king fisher, Golden backed threetoed wood pecker, Scarlet minicret, Ashy swallow shrike, Paradise fly catcher, Magpie robin, Taylor bird, Purple sunbird, White backed munia, Golden oriole.
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators


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  • Bangalore Birding

    Tour Operator
    Personalised bird watching, photography and wildlife tours around Bangalore, Mysore and Coorg in the Western Ghats. Flexible itineraries and locations on our bangalore birding and wildlife trips to suit your specific requirements as a traveling birder.
  • Eldhose Bird Tours

    Website
    One of the finest Birding expeditions you can find in Kerala as well as other southern parts of India (Tamilnadu & Karnataka) would be definitely Eldhose Bird Tours.
Trip Reports


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  • 2011 [03 March] - Ravi Kailas - South India Endemics

    Report
    Notably, we had a number of sightings of Great Hornbill - this being the nesting season, perhaps males had to fly far in search of food to take back to the brooding female in the nest. Another notable sighting was of a bull Gaur, less than 20 ft from us, while walking in a magical bamboo forest. Another endemic primate, the acrobatic Nilgiri Langur, were ubiquitous and species of deer, wild boar and other smaller mammals were frequently seen. Bird endemics sighted included Rufous Babbler, White-cheeked Barbet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Malabar Parakeet, White-bellied Treepie and Malabar Grey Hornbill. A walk along a forested canal bordering the reserve, provided excellent sightings of Stork-billed Kingfisher and possibly of a Brown Fish Owl, taking off before we had a chance to confirm ID…
Places to Stay


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  • Dubare Elephant Camp - Dubare Reserve Forest

    Accommodation
    The Karnataka Forest Department has about 150 Elephants in various camps and Dubare has been historically an important camp. The Elephants for the famous Mysore Dassehra were trained here. But presently after logging operations have ceased, the Forest Department does not really know what to do with all its elephants! They (Elephants) have been practically retired except for giving some rides to odd tourists. At the same time, the Forest Department spends quite some money to maintain them and their mahouts..
  • K Gudi Wilderness Camp - Biligiri Rangaswamy Sanctuary

    Accommodation
    Experiential jungle lodge, located at Biligiri Rangaswamy Sanctuary surrounded by thick forest reserves
  • Kabini River Lodge - Nagarhole National Park

    Accommodation
    Kabini River Lodge on the banks of River Kabini, Karnataka, India is a Jungle Lodges Enterprise and was Once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore. Kabini is today rated among the top five wildlife resorts in the world. Take the jeep safari through the Nagarhole National Park where you are bound to see herds of elephants grazing, wild dogs, bisons, deer, peacocks, wild boars a variety of birds and maybe if you`re lucky, those elusive big cats: the tiger and the panther
Other Links
  • Birds of Karnataka

    Website
    Includes the first ever checklist to this south west Indian state, description with pictures of the state, its birds and birding, e.g. Western Ghats: The lifeline of south India, for all the flora and fauna. A virtual action zone for bird life (and also some of the largest and most beautiful butterflies of the Indian sub-continent). Many birds can be seen around streams and waterholes. Evergreen species (like Fairy blue bird, Malabar Trogan, Black and Orange Flycatcher etc) can usually be sighted in evergreen forests and high altitude
  • Birds of Ranganatittu

    Website
    Ranganatittu is a outstanding bird sanctuary in Karnataka (index, map). It is located at down stream Krishnanarajasagar reservoir in Kaveri river basin. It comprises of five islands, strewn with a large number of boulders. In addition to permanent residents, a large number of migratory birds visit the sanctuary in different seasons of the year
  • Birdwatching in Bangalore

    Facebook Page
    An informal page, for those who like the diversity of birdlife in Bangalore and love what the city and its environs have to offer. This page will also offer updates on all regular birding outings in Bangalore for those on FaceBook.
Blogs
  • Ameen Ahmed - Tumakuru's Environment & Heritage Issues

    BLOG
    Last Updated 2014 - This blog is to share the environmental issues affecting Tumakuru District (formerly Tumkur) and its environs. Show your concern towards your environment and heritage by adding your comments and sharing your thoughts and concerns.
  • Kiran Kashyap's Photologue

    BLOG
    Tucked away from the city limits, in the middle of the forests is a place with abundant wildlife culture. Sangama is a popular destination for more than one reason. It is said that the river Kaveri meets it's tributaries at this place. A holy trademark for all pilgrims who'd take an anxious dip in the river to wipe off their sins.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Manas Khan - In admiration of artless beauty

    Gallery
    This photo gallery is . . . in admiration of artless beauty, the grace of God's creation in its purest and most truthful form
  • Photographer - Sudhir Shivaram

    Gallery
    I was bitten by the shutterbug even during my college days when I was part of the Malnad Amateur Photographers Society (MAPS) at the Malnad College of Engineering, Hassan. What began as a random interest in photography gradually gained direction and I became more and more focused on wildlife photography. It also helped that I had by then shifted base to Bangalore and it made it easier for me to frequent the forests around Bangalore-Mysore

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