THATTEKKAD BIRD SANCTUARY
Thattekkad is the richest bird habitat in peninsular India I have known, comparable only with Eastern Himalaya.
Dr. Salim Ali(The Fall of a Sparrow)
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, constituted in 1983 on the strong recommendations of Dr. Salim Ali, is the first of its kind in Kerala.
The abode of enchanting, magnificent birds in the land of majestic elephants is an ecstasy for exuberant seekers of Nature’s bounty.
Longitude: 760 40’- 760 45’ East Latitude: 1007’-North
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary located on the northern banks of river Periyar in Kothamangalam Taluk, Ernakulam District of Kerala state within the administrative jurisdiction of Idukki Wildlife Division.
Sanctuary spreads over an area of 25.16Sq.Kms.
Typical of the Westen Ghats, the sanctuary has an undulating terrain with altitude ranging between 35m and 523 m above MSL. The highest peak is the Njayapili Mudi.
The sanctuary has propitious weather typical of the state- ample rains, good sunlight and hot and humid weather.
The temperature varies between 200C to 370C, with cooler months during November to January and hotter months between February to May.
The sanctuary receives copious rains from both northeast and southwest monsoon along with scattered summer showers during April. Average precipitation in the sanctuary is 2500mm.
The tranquil greenery of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is a rich repository of diverse flora and fauna. The distinct forest types, open rocky cliffs and artificial reservoir offer various habitats for a wide range of species, many of which are rare and endemic.
Ensconced in the sanctuary are over 750 species of plants many of which are indigenous and many of high medicine value.
Copious water sources of the sanctuary has an aqua fauna that affirms more than 57 species of fishes including the endangered Deccan Mahseer (Tor khudree) and the endemic and widely sought after Red line Torpedo Barb aka Miss. Kerala (Puntius denisonii).
Recorded amphibians include 12 species, the chief among which are Indian Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) and Malabar Flying frog (Rhacophorus Malabaricus ).
Nestled among the undergrowth of the sanctuary are beyond 30 species of reptiles ranging from easily spotted Skins to elusive King Cobras. The sanctuary also harbours Southern Flying Lizard (Draco dussumieri) that glides from tree to tree.
Insect fauna of the Sanctuary is very rich with vast variety of bugs, beetles, stick and leaf insects, butterflies, moths etc. The strikingly beautiful Southern Birdwing, the largest butterfly of Southern India crowns the list of 172 species of butterflies sighted in the sanctuary.
Rich in animal diversity, the sanctuary accommodates a wide variety of mammals like deer’s, elephants, langurs, leopards, porcupines, wild boars, wild dogs and so forth. The rare and Western Ghat endemic Malabar Spiny Dormouse (Platacanthomys lasiurs) and the Travancore Flying Squirrel (Petinomys fuscocapillus) need special mention.
The sanctuary offers affluent bird life which promulgates it as an avian paradise.
- Tropical Evergreen Forests characterized by tall trees with massive plank buttress which include Vellapine (Vateria INdica), Karanjili (Dipterocarpus indicus) etc. Canes, reeds, woody climbers and ferns also abound in the area.
- Semi- Evergreen Forests dominated by features of both evergreen and deciduous forests that harbours Angili (Artocarpus hirsuta), Kamabakom (Hopea parviflora) etc.
- Moist Deciduous Forests which remain leafless between February to May and displays trees like Konna (Cassia fistula) , Venteak (Lagerstroemia lanceolata) etc.
- Riparian Forests restricted mostly along the river banks characterized by the hydrophilic plans like Neer Maruthu(Terminalia arjuna), Elippa (Madhuca longifolia) etc.
- Scrub Jungle consisting of southern tropical thorn forests with hardwood trees, throny shrubs, cacti and climbers consisting of Kongini (Lantana Camara), Communist Pach (Chromolaena odorata) etc.
- Various plantations of Teak (Tectona grandis), Mahogony (Swietenia Mahagoni) etc.
- Grass Lands.
- Birds of the forests (evergreen and deciduous)
- Birds of the plantations (Teak and mahogany)
- Birds seen around the water sources
- Pheasant-tailed Jacana
- Indian Pitta
- Golden Oriole
- Asian Paradise Flycatcher
- Greenish Leaf Warbler
- Blue Rock Thrush
- Grey wagtails
- Black Baza
- Malabar Parakeet
- Malabar Grey Hornbill
- Nilgiri Wood Pigeon
- Grey-headed Bulbul
- Malabar barbet
- Gray fronted green pigeon
- Blyth’s starling
- Malabar wood shrike
- Nilgiri flowerpecker
- White- bellied Blue Flycatcher
- Waynad laughing Thrush
- Rufous Babbler
- Small sunbird
- White bellied Treepie