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 » Holiday Ideas  » Eco-Tourism  » Bird Watching
  Bird Watching  Destinations 

Out of 8600 bird species (about 30,000 if subspecies or geographical races are taken into account) the Indian subcontinent affords suitable living conditions for more than 1295 species (about 2,400 with subspecies) as per the adoption of taxonomy used in An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of the Oriental Region (Inskipp et al. 1996).

The Indian subcontinent is very rich in species. This is partly due to its altitudinal range, extending from sea level to the summit of the great Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain. Another reason is the region’s highly varied climate and diverse habitat offering forests, scrubs wetlands, grasslands, deserts and seas. Other contributing factor to the subcontinent’s species-richness is the positional overlapping of three biogeographical provinces: the Indomalayan (South and Southeast Asia), Palearctic (Europe and North Asia) and Afrotropical (Africa) realms. As a result, species typical of all three realms occur.

The large majority (around 1000) of the 1300 or so species recorded in the region are residents, although the numbers of some of these are augmented by winter visitors breeding farther north. The subcontinent attracts winter visitors; some of which are also passage migrants. The winter visitors originate mostly in northern and central Asia. As for the migration routes, it is believed that many of the subcontinent’s winter visitors enter the subcontinent via the Indus plains and through Pakistan, mainly enroute to India and Sri Lanka. In addition to the subcontinent’s residents, summer and winter visitors and passage migrants, nearly 100 species of vagrant are also on record.

Keoladev Ghana Sanctuary (Ramsar Convention Site) at Bharatpur in Rajasthan is undoubtedly the Mecca for all bird enthusiasts. The Chilka Lake and Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa, the Kumarakoram and Thattekad Birds Sanctuary in Kerla, the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary in Haryana, Jim Corbett, Rajaji and Nandadevi National Parks in Uttrakhand and Nalsarovar Bird sanctuary in the West are some of the best places to indulge in birding in India.