Tamil Nadu

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica ©Aseem Kumar Kothiala Website
Birding Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu (formerly Madras State) is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai (also formerly known as Madras). Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Anaimalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south. Tamil Nadu has the country’s third longest coastline at about 906.9 km (563.5 miles). The state shares a maritime border (and many birds) with the nation of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is mostly dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has two distinct periods of rainfall: the south west monsoon from June to September, with strong southwest winds; and the North east monsoon from October to December, with dominant north east winds.Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest Indian state by area and the sixth largest state by population. Its official language is Tamil, which is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. here are about 2000 species of wildlife that are native to Tamil Nadu. Protected areas provide safe habitat for large mammals including elephants, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, gaurs, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri langurs, Nilgiri tahrs, grizzled giant squirrels and sambar deer, resident and migratory birds such as cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, open-billed storks, spoonbills and white ibises, little grebes, Indian moorhen, black-winged stilts, a few migratory ducks and occasionally grey pelicans, marine species such as the dugongs, turtles, dolphins, Balanoglossus and a wide variety of fish and insects. Tamil Nadu has a wide range of Biomes extending east from the South Western Ghats montane rain forests in the Western Ghats through the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests and Deccan thorn scrub forests to tropical dry broadleaf forests and then to the beaches, estuaries, salt marshes, mangroves, Seagrasses and coral reefs of the Bay of Bengal. The state has a range of flora and fauna with many species and habitats. To protect this diversity of wildlife there are Protected areas of Tamil Nadu as well as biospheres which protect larger areas of natural habitat often include one or more National Parks.

  • Wikipedia

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 508

    (As at April 2020)

    State Bird: Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
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Useful Reading

  • Wetland Birds of Tamil Nadu

    | (A Pictorial Field Guide) | By Robert B Grubh & Shailaja R Grubh | Institute for Restoration of Natural Environment | 2012 | Hardback | 168 pages, 235 colour photos, colour maps | ISBN: 9788192014005 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Madras Naturalist's Society

    The Madras Naturalists' Society (MNS) is a non profit organisation founded in 1978 by a group of nature lovers in the city of Madras. MNS promotes appreciation, education and conservation of Nature. Nature has heaped India with so much bounty. It is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. But sadly, her natural treasures are being slowly destroyed by poorly enforced laws, a lack of vision and general apathy among her citizens. MNS's mission is to help spread awareness about India's rich natural heritage and help conserve it through its activities.

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Endowed with a combination of different ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs); the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (from here on referred to as the Reserve, supports over 3,600 species of plants and animals. The first of its kind in India, the Reserve encompasses a group of 21 small islands along the coast of the Gulf of Mannar in southern India…
  • BS Chitrangudi

    InformationSatellite View
    It is notable as a nesting site for several migratory heron species that roost in the prominent growth of Babul trees there.
  • BS Kanjirankulam

    InformationSatellite View
    The breeding population of migratory waterbirds arrive here between October and February and include: painted stork, white ibis, black ibis, little egret, great egret.
  • BS Karaivetti

    InformationSatellite View
    The Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary is a 4.537-square-kilometre (1.752 sq mi) protected area located in the Ariyalur District of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The sanctuary is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Thanjavur. This freshwater lake is fed by Pullambadi, Kattalal canal and attracts thousands of birds every year.
  • BS Kunthakulam

    InformationSatellite View
    Kunthakulam bird sanctuary is situated 33-km south of Tirunelveli in Nanguneri taluk. Kunthakulam is a small and natural scenic village, which is covered with natural forests and ponds. During the season January to April every year more than 10 thousand birds from various countries like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, USA, Australia migrate here and when the season is over the birds return…
  • BS Suchindram Theroor

    InformationSatellite View
    The Suchindram Theroor Birds Sanctuary is a protected area comprising the Suchindram Kulam wetlands at 8°7′30″N 77°27′30″E, and the Theroor Kulam wetlands at 8°10′45″N 77°27′45″E, both near Suchindram town in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is located between Nagercoil and Kanyakumari on the National Highway No. 47. Suchindram pond has a large variety of aquatic vegetation including water lilly, lotus, floating hearts, pistia and other water plants. A few tall trees and other bushes have formed an island at the centre, which gives refuge and is a resting place for birds.
  • BS Udayamarthandapuram

    InformationSatellite View
    The Udayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary covers an area of around 45 km2 and is fed by an irrigation tank that receives water from the Mettur Dam. The tank remains dry between the months of April and August. From September through December, the bird population inhabiting the sanctuary rises to around 10,000 birds. The ideal season to visit this sanctuary is during the months of November and December.
  • BS Vaduvoor

    InformationSatellite View
    Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary located in the town of Vaduvur in Tiruvarur District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Vaduvur was located 22 KM away from Thanjavur on the Thanjavur-Mannargudi state highway. 20,000 birds from 38 different species visit the sanctuary every year. They include Open bill stork, Cattle egret, Little egret, Pelicans, Grey Pelicans, Darter, Little Cormorants, Common coots, Little tern, Pond heron, Night heron, Painted stork, Common keat, Kingfisher among others. The ideal time to visit the sanctuary is in the early morning before 6.30 p.m or in the late evening after 05.30 p.m. However, a large group of bird can be seen throughout the day.
  • BS Vedanthangal

    InformationSatellite View
    Originally established in 1798, the official sanctuary covers only 30 hectares of Marshy land on the edge of Lake Vendanthangal. Unofficially, the bird's breeding ground covers an area of about 10 square kilometers, with habitats, including woodland, marsh and open grass, as well as several other lakes. It is an extraordinarily crowded place, with more than 40,000 birds (including 26 rare species), from various parts of the world visit the sanctuary during the migratory season every year.
  • BS Vellode

    InformationSatellite View
    The sanctuary is about 15 km from Erode Central Bus Terminus on the way to Chennimalai, near Vellode, and 10 km from Erode Junction Railway Station, in the south. It is at a large lake surrounded with semi-dark bushes, near Vellode. This .772 km2 (0.298 sq mi) sanctuary near Erode is home to many foreign birds. The sanctuary features thousands of birds coming from various countries, some of which can be easily identified. Some easily found bird species include cormorants, teals, pintail ducks, pelicans, and darters.
  • BS Vettangudi

    InformationSatellite View
    Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary is a 0.384 km2 (0.148 sq mi) protected area, declared in June 1977 near Thirupattur in the Sivaganga District that includes the periya kollukudi patti, chinna kollukudi patti, and vettangudi patti irrigation tanks.
  • BS WS Pulicat Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is a famous 481 km² located in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and Protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu state in South India. 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.
  • FR Nanmangalam

    InformationSatellite View
    The Coromandel coast once had extensive scrub forests which come under the classification of dry evergreen scrub consisting of many thorny plants, but less than 1% of the original forests remain due to population pressures (Meher Homji,1973). Such a type of habitat closest to Madras is the Guindy National Park, which occurs within city limits. However, this is a highly modified forest, many trees having been planted by the forest department over the years. A few other naturally occurring scrub forests around Madras and all over Tamil Nadu have been classified as wastelands and have been afforested in the Social Forestry scheme…
  • NP Guindy

    InformationSatellite View
    Guindy National Park is a 2.70 km2 (1.04 sq mi) Protected area of Tamil Nadu, located in Chennai, South India, is the 8th smallest National Park of India and one of the very few national parks situated inside a city. The park has over 150 species of birds including grey partridge, crow pheasant, parrot, quail, paradise flycatcher, black-winged kite, honey buzzard, pariah kite, golden-backed woodpecker, yellow-wattled lapwing, red-wattled lapwing, blue-faced malkoha, shrikes, Asian koel, minivets, munias, parakeet, tailor bird, robin, drongo, and stone curlew. Bird watchers anticipate migratory birds here like teals, garganeys, pochards, medium egrets, large egrets, night herons, pond herons and open-billed storks every fall season.
  • NP Mukurthi

    InformationSatellite View
    Mukurthi National Park (MNP) is a 78.46 km2 (30.3 sq mi) protected area located in the western corner of the Nilgiris Plateau west of Ootacamund hill station in the northwest corner of Tamil Nadu state in the Western Ghats mountain range of South India. The park was created to protect its keystone species, the Nilgiri tahr. The park is characterised by montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas in a high altitude area of high rainfall, near-freezing temperatures and high winds. Avifauna consists mostly of hill birds including the threatened laughingthrush, whistling thrush, woodcock, wood pigeon, black-and-orange flycatcher, Nilgiri flycatcher, grey headed flycatcher black bulbul, white-eye, Nilgiri pipit. The predatory black-winged kite, kestrel and black eagle may be seen in the grasslands.
  • NP Nagarhole

    InformationSatellite View
    Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), is a national park located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India. It is one of India's premier Tiger Reserves along with the adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park. Besides the enormous variety of woodland birds, there are large congregations of waterfowl in the Kabini river. Birds range from blue-bearded bee-eater, scarlet minivet and Malabar whistling thrush to the more common ospreys, herons and ducks.
  • NP TR WS Anamalai

    InformationSatellite View
    Anamalai Tiger Reserve, earlier known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park (IGWLS&NP) and previously as Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected area located in the Anaimalai Hills of Pollachi, Valparai and Udumalpet taluks of Coimbatore District and Tiruppur District, Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is also home to the near-threatened great Indian hornbill. Over 250 species of birds have been identified in the park.
  • NP WS Mudumalai

    InformationSatellite View
    The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also a declared tiger reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), in Nilgiri District, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-west of Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu. It shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. There is a high diversity of animal life in the sanctuary with about 50 species of fishes, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals. Mammal diversity is higher in the dry deciduous and dry thorn forests than in the other habitats. Thirteen percent of all mammal species in India are present in Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary.
  • NP WS Palani Hills

    InformationSatellite View
    Wild boars are common in areas away from human habitation and cultivation. Threatened species in the park area include: Indian elephant, gaur (wild ox), Nilgiri tahr and grizzled giant squirrel.
  • WS BS Point Calimere (inc Vedaranyam Bird Sanctuary)

    InformationSatellite View
    Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary is a 21.47-square-kilometre (8.29 square mile) protected area in Tamil Nadu, South India along the Palk Strait where it meets the Bay of Bengal at Point Calimere at the southeastern tip of Nagapattinam District. The sanctuary was created in 1967 for conservation of the near threatened blackbuck antelope, an endemic mammal species of India. It is famous for large congregations of waterbirds, especially greater flamingos.
  • WS Manjira

    InformationSatellite View
    Manjira wild life sanctuary spreads over an area of 20 sq.kms and is the abode of a number of resident and migratory birds and the marsh crocodiles. 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.
  • WS Meghamalai

    InformationSatellite View
    Meghamalai forest area hosts a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies. Resident and migratory elephants are common. Other animals sighted are tiger, leopard, Nilgiri tahr, gaur, spotted deer, barking deer, sambar deer, wild boar, porcupine, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, common langur, bonnet macaque, sloth bear, grey junglefowl, smooth-coated otter and flying squirrel. Bird like red-whiskered bulbul, common iora, white-browed wagtail, grey wagtail, pied bush chat, Blyth's reed warbler, barn swallow, spotted dove, Asian paradise flycatcher, brahminy kite, long-tailed shrike and over 100 species of birds have been identified.
  • WS Srivilliputhur

    InformationSatellite View
    Occupying an area of 485.2 km2, it is bordered on the southwest by the Periyar Tiger Reserve and is one of the best preserved forests south of the Palghat Gap. Recognised as an Important Bird Area, over 275+ species of birds are seen in this sanctuary including 14 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats, such as the critically endangered Oriental white-backed vulture and the long-billed vulture, vulnerable species Nilgiri wood-pigeon, broad-tailed grass warbler, red-faced malkoha and the white-bellied shortwing (Brachypteryx major) and near threatened species like the great pied hornbill, Nilgiri pipit, black-and-orange flycatcher and the Nilgiri flycatcher. The Malayan night heron is of lesser concern. The primary raptors here are the serpent eagle, hawks and black eagle. A bird survey in 2013 observed in the sanctuary rare endemic species including Sri Lankan frogmouth, mountain and rufous-bellied hawk-eagles, great Indian and Malabar pied hornbills, mountain and green imperial pigeons which are all species found only in the higher altitudes of Western Ghats. Some of the rare migratory birds spotted included the steppe eagle, Eurasian sparrowhawk and bluecapped rockthrush.
  • WS TR Sathyamangalam

    InformationSatellite View
    Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in South India, declared in 2008, which covers forest area of 524.35 square kilometres (202 sq mi). It covers Sathyamangalam taluk and parts of Gobichettipalayam Taluk of Erode District in the north western Tamil Nadu. This Sanctuary is significant as a wildlife corridor in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats and a genetic link between the four other protected areas which it adjoins, including the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sigur Plateau, Mudumalai National Park and Bandipur National Park…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Anytime Tours

    Tour Operator
    This tour focuses on the endemic birds of the Western Ghats and South India. There is a good chance of picking up most of the endemic bird species associated with the Western Ghats. Species include White-bellied Treepie, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Woodpigeon and Nilgiri Flycatcher, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon and Indian Pitta…
  • Eldhose Bird Tours

    Tour Operator
    Eldhose Bird Tours arranges Birding Expeditons to Kerala and other bird-rich areas of South India- Tamilnadu & Karnataka. We want all of our clients to share in the excitement and fun of a top-notch birding adventure, and we want to provide the best service possible to both our tour participants and our independent travel clients. We are delighted by what seems to be success in both categories. we have a large and loyal following, many of whom have been more than couple of times or in some cases, dozens of tours with us, and these clients,in turn, are our greatest advertising--most of our new clients come to us by word of mouth via a friend who suggested they "must" try Birding with Eldhose…
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [03 March] - James Eaton - Kashmir, Andamans & Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    From the north-westernmost tip of the subcontinent to the south-east islands of the Andamans and finishing off in the southwest of the peninsula, this custom tour covered a vast area of India in search of some of the most sought-after endemics. The bird of the tour, by a country mile, Orange Bullfinch that kicked the tour off in style, with a supporting cast of rarely-seen thrillers such as Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Kashmir Nutcracker and Rufous-naped Tits enjoying the snow-laden conifers. This landscape couldn’t have contrasted more starkly with the hot and humid tropical Andaman Islands, where we successfully enjoyed all bar one endemics, highlighted by prolonged views of a confiding Andaman Barn Owl, day-roosting Andamans Scops Owl and prolonged looks at Andaman Crake. Finally, we hit the well-trodden path through the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Kerala locating every endemic of the area. Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Thrush and Broad-tailed Grassbird being particularly well appreciated, though a non-endemic, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl was equally thrilling.
  • 2017 [12 December] - Brecht Verhelst

    PDF Report
    We did a lot of birding, but also included some more relaxed holiday activities, such as a boating trip on the Kerala backwaters, and spent some time looking for mammals in Mudumalai and Bandipur tiger reserves.
  • 2018 [02 February] - James Eaton - Andamans & Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    Though recording 309 species, a respectable total on a typical two-week Asian tour, it was the quality within that that makes Southern India such a mouth-watering, must-do tour. Included in the total, we saw all possible 21 endemics that are shared between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some 30 Indian endemics, most of which are found only the Western Ghat states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Pride of place must go to the 20 species of night-bird – 13 owls, one frogmouth and six nightjars – from the roosting Spot-bellied Eagle Owl to the walkaway Sri Lanka Bay Owl finale of the tour. Of the trickiest, often missed species, Nilgiri Thrush, Wynaard Laughingthrush and Andaman Crake gave superlative, prolonged views. It’s not just the birds and mammals that make this tour so special, but also the cuisine which ranks as some of the tastiest in Asia!
  • 2018 [11 November] - Aseem Kothiala - Birding in the Nilgiris - Western Ghats

    Every twelve years, these Nilgiri hills of southern India turn blue as the flowers (Kurinji or Neelkurinji) that give the range its name are in full bloom, making it a UNESCO natural heritage site.
  • 2020 [01 January] - James Eaton - Andamans & Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    Though recording 302 species, a respectable total on a two-week Asian tour, it was the quality that makes Southern India such a mouth-watering, must-do tour. Included in the total, we saw all bar one of the 21 endemics that are shared between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some 30 Indian endemics, most of which are found only the Western Ghat states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Places to Stay
  • Jungle Hut Resort - Mudumalai National Park

    The resort is well planted with many bird-pollinated plants and possesses numerous ponds, allowing our guests to view a richness of bird species without even having to step off their veranda. We also cater to the avid birder, with a range of hikes, treks or bird walks accompanied by our resident naturalist and ornithologist who has 29 years of experience combing the area by sound and sight for birds and other wildlife. These treks can last from 2-8 hours depending on your preferences! Wonderful wildlife, helpful staff and friendly owners - Fatbirder recommended
  • O'Land Plantation Stay

    Get away from it all to a hidden gem in the Nilgiris where nature reigns supreme. Just an hour’s drive from Coonoor and Ooty and yet a world apart – O’land Plantation is a 120 acre estate that grows tea, coffee, pepper and cloves. It also offers luxury stays for those who feel a special connection with nature and are looking for truly eco-friendly homestay.
  • Kiran Kashyap's Photologue

    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.

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