Birds of Karnataka


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Birding as a hobby 
in Karnataka became increasingly popular starting 1990 and now has many people indulging in it as a leisure activity. The fact that Karnataka has some of India’s best birding areas has been a major reason for this. To add to this, Karnataka has probably the largest concentration of birders in India. Many birding and nature clubs like Birdwatchers’ field club of India, Merlin Nature Club, Mysore Amateur Naturalists, Wildlife Aware Nature Club, Bhuvanendra Nature Club among others, have contributed to this noble cause, under the guidance of committed birdwatchers like Zafar Futehally, J.C.Utangi, Joseph George, S.Sridhar, S.Subramanya, Late SA Hussain and others.

Good birding areas:
There are quite a number of places where you could do serious birding. Again it depends on what habitat you choose – moist jungles or dry forests.

1) Species common to both western ghats and eastern plains can be seen in transition zones i.e. areas that lie partly both in the ghats and the plains. 

Right: A view of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which offers birds of both Western Ghats and the dry eastern Karnataka



2) Mainly western ghats species can be sighted in the sanctuaries that lie within the western ghats.

Left: A view of the tropical wet evergreen forests of Sharavathy Valley Wildlife Sanctuary at Jog Falls in Western Ghats.




3) Species that are predominantly found in dry deciduous biotope can be seen in the forests along eastern Karnataka.

Right: The grasslands of eastern Karnataka seen here at Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve near Maidenahalli village in Tumkuru district's Madhugiri taluk.

Right: A gaggle (flock) of Barheaded geese swim in the waters of Kunigal Dodda Kere wetland in south Tumkuru district. Barheaded geese fly great distances to reach their wintering grounds. A ringed barheaded geese  photographed in Dec 2007, near Mysore, was found to have come from Mongolia.

4) Waterfowl: There are many places where waterfowl can be sighted. During monsoons they congregate in large numbers to breed in heronries like (from north to south) Ghattaprabha (Belagavi district), Gudavi, Attiveri & Mandagadde (Shivamogga district), Ulave (Chikkamagaluru district), Kaggaladu (Sira, Tumakuru district) and Ranganathittoo (Mandya district). There is no better place in Karnataka to sight spotbilled pelicans and painted storks, than Kokkrebellur village near Maddur in Mandya district. Also during winters, mainly from November to February, various man- made wetlands (dams, lakes, tanks etc) across Karnataka are host to a number of migratory waterfowls like northern pintails, white storks etc. Some of the water bodies famous for attracting migratory water birds are in Dharwad and Haveri districts. Others are dams like Bhadra (Lakvalli), Vanivilas Sagar (near Hiriyur), Markonahalli dam (near Yediyur, Bengaluru – Mangaluru NH 47) and also tanks (man-made lakes) like Kunigal big and small tank and Tailur tank (Maddur taluk).

Best Season:
Except for watching migrants and breeding waterfowls there is no sort of season for birding in Karnataka.

Summer, in its own way, is an excellent time to watch the birdlife (and all other wildlife for that matter). This is more relevant to dry deciduous and teak forests, when the leaves fall off and the entire forests are ‘naked’. The visibility is very good and there are few places for the wildlife to hide.

The monsoons have their own beauty. Although the canopy is dense, the sheer joy of birds playing `hide and seek’ amidst the lush greenery makes birding such a delightful leisure. Also, if you bird in the Western Ghats during rains, you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular sceneries of the evergreen tree covered mountains and milky white river valleys hugged by clouds. Many a time, you don’t even mind being not able to sight birds due to rains, as the scenic beauty makes up for the ‘loss’.

As mentioned earlier, winter in Karnataka is the time to watch for migrants, particularly water birds.

Also in Karnataka, you could enjoy all the seasons in a particular forest by watching the birds over a period of time. That way you will have the possibilities of sighting a lot many birds than when you confine yourself to a particular season. This is possible because the weather is never extreme, particularly in the old Mysore region (South Karnataka), as compared to North India or even many parts of the Deccan Plateau.

Birding clubs / e-groups:
There are a number of bird watchers in Karnataka particularly in and around Bangalore who can be of great help to other bird watchers. A better way of learning about birds or getting to know "what's happening" in the birding circle is to subscribe to an e-group.

List of e-groups: Following is a list of some e-groups that discuss birding in India. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

BNG birds:
Established in 1998, this group is a 'a forum for the exchange of information including notices, etc. pertaining to the birds and other wildlife of the city of Bangalore in India, and its environs'. To subscribe to this group please send an email to or contact the list owners at

BNG core:
Conservation related
issues of bngbird group are discussed on this e-list. To subscribe please email or contact list owner at

Delhi Bird:
This is 'an interactive egroup which exists to share information about birds in Northern India and the issues that affect them'. To subscribe, please email or contact the list owners at More information can be seen at 

Kerala birder:
This is a 'discussion Forum for Birdwatchers of Kerala'. To subscribe, please email or contact the list owners at

Oriental birding:
This is 'a mailing list for all who are interested in wild birds, birding and conservation in the Oriental region and is 'in association with the Oriental Bird Club'.  To subscribe, please email or contact the list owners at For more information visit 

There are a number of bird watchers in Karnataka particularly in and around Bangalore who can be of great help to other bird watchers. The following are some of bird watching / nature clubs, NGOs in Karnataka involved in promoting bird watching:

Organisation, address, region of primary interest and contact person 

1. Bustard Nature Club                                                
    L-200, Nijalingappa Colony,
    Raichur Town – 584 101

    Geographical range: Raichur and adjoining Districts
    Contact persons: S.Srivastava and B.Nagaraj

    New Ashok Hardware,                                    
    Coen Road, Near Apsara Talkies,
    Hubli 5800 20

    Geographical range: All of North Karnataka including the districts of Belgaum, Gadag, Haveri,     Koppal, Bijapur, Bidar, Raichur, Gulbarga, Uttara Kannada and Dharwad.

    Contact: Sri. Gurunath Desai
    Tel: 099720 39789
    E mail< vijay_ifs AT

3. Love Birds of Coorg                                

    c/o Dr.S.V.Narasimhan
    Virajpet - 5712 18

    Geographical range: Kodagu District, particularly Virajpet taluk.

    Contact: Dr.S.V.Narasimhan, General Practitioner, Virajpete
    E mail< vnsimhan AT     

    #13, 8th Cross, 30th main,
    Sarakki III Layout, J.P.Nagar I Phase
    Bangalore - 5600 78

    Geographical range: Bangalore District and adjacent forests. Associated with birdwatching outings on 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month in and around Bangalore.

    Contact: Mr.J.N.Prasad
    E mail< jnprasad2001 AT
    Tel: 080 - 26644682 / 26653350

5. Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC)  
    'Nisarga' , Nisarga Layout, 
    Near Hotel Vaishali, BH Road
Tumakuru - 5721 02    

    Geographical range: Mainly Tumkur and adjoining districts. Although many activities extend     through out Karnataka, particularly Western Ghats.

    Contact: Club Advisor / Chairman
    E Mail< wildlifeaware AT