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Heli Tourism

Enchanting Kerala


ISSUE: 201

MAY 2010

Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary

Birds often fascinate us in many ways. Their colour, flights, calls and size and shape; all captivate most of us in one way or the other. Kerala, blessed with a tropical climate and a forest wealth supporting an abundance of bird population is an exciting proposition for bird watching enthusiasts. Kerala not only has a sizeable population of native species, but is also a favoured destination for migratory birds that come from as far away as Central Asia and parts of Europe to nest and breed during the winter season.

A destination for avid bird lovers in Kerala is the Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary. Set up as a sanctuary in 1983, this sanctuary spread over an area of 25 sq. km. is located in Ernakulam district of Kerala. Traveling by road from Kochi, after about 58 km one would reach this bird paradise, which is literally a feast for the eyes and ears. It is just about13 km northeast of Kothamangalam town.

The emergence of this sanctuary has a lot to do with the initiatives of the internationally famous ornithologist from India, Dr. Salim Ali. It was his report of sighting 167 bird varieties in Thattekkadu, most of them found in south India that triggered the curiosity of others on Thattekkadu. It was Dr. Ali's pioneering efforts that became instrumental in the formation of this sanctuary to a large extent.

Thattekkadu attracts nature lovers from far and wide. And travellers coming to Kerala these days are keen to spend time in this bird sanctuary. The terrain out here at Thattekkadu is undulating and the region has elevations that range from 35 to 523 m. The tallest point is the Njayapilli peak, which stand at 523 m. The sanctuary lies like a peninsula between the tributaries of the River Periyar.

The lake skirting the Thattekkadu bird sanctuary is the one formed by the Bhoothathankettu dam. Falling in the catchment area of the dam, this bird sanctuary has vegetation that comprises tropical evergreen forests, tropical semi-evergreen forests and tropical deciduous forests. There are also patches of grasslands in the sanctuary area. The sanctuary is also marked by extensive plantations of teak, rosewood and mahogany.

Birds at Thattekkadu
Most of the south Indian species of birds are present in Thattekkadu. Scanning the trees and skies here, one can easily spot the presence of Indian roller, cuckoo, common snipe, crow pheasant, jungle nightjar, kite, grey drongo, Malabar trogon, woodpecker, large pied wagtail, baya sparrow, grey jungle fowl, Indian hill myna, robin bird, jungle babbler and darter.

Among the rare birds, reports of sightings here include the crimson-throated barbet, bee-eater, sunbird, shrike, fairy blue-bird, grey-headed fishing eagle, black-winged kite, night heron, grey heron, Malabar shama, common grey hornbill and Malabar hornbill.

The avian community here at Thattekkadu also shares the region's natural resources with nearly 28 varieties of animals and nine varieties of reptiles. The sanctuary is occasionally visited by elephants and the other regulars include the leopard, bear, porcupine, python and cobra.

Those who are wishing to visit this bird sanctuary and to be among the company of airborne beauties may get in touch with the Assistant Wildlife Warden in charge of the sanctuary.

And once you are in Thattekkadu and you feel like spending more days, you would find boarding options in the form of PWD Rest House near the dam and also at private lodges at the nearby town of Kothamangalam.

For more information, please contact:
The Assistant Wild life Warden
Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary
Njayapilli P.O., Kothamanagalam (via), Kerala
Tel: +91 485 2588302

Getting there:

Nearest railway station: Aluva, about 48 km away.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 44 km.
District Tourism Promotion Councils KTDC KTIL Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society BRDC Sargaalaya SIHMK Responsible Tourism Mission KITTS Adventure Tourism Muziris Heritage saathi nidhi Sahapedia
Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, Park View, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India - 695 033
Phone: +91 471 2321132, Fax: +91 471 2322279, E-mail:
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