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Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in honour of the pre-eminent birder of all times in India, is located two hour’s drive from the port city of Kochi, near Kothamanagalam in Ernakulam district, on the northern bank of the Periyar river. The sanctuary was notified in 1983 based on a recommendation made by Dr. Salim Ali many years previously. He described Thattekad in the 1930's as the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with the Eastern Himalayas.

Thattekkad is a lowland forest with several types of eco-systems & micro habitats – riverine, grasslands, tropical evergreen forest, tropical semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests, riparian forests, scrub forests and dry deciduous forests. The divergent eco-tones make it one of finest birding destinations in India. This is also home to most of the endemics of the Western Ghats.

Some of the birds seen at Thattekkad
Seen on the  Endemic bird watching tour by Kalypso Adventures Seen on the  Endemic bird watching tour by Kalypso Adventures Seen at Thattekkad on the  Endemic bird watching tour by Kalypso Adventures  
Malabar Grey Hornbill
White-cheeked Barbet Mottled Wood Owl

 Even though much of the forest has now been converted to agricultural and plantation areas,  the surviving areas certainly give glimpses of the rich bird diversity of the once widespread lowland forests of Kerala. A trip through this sanctuary would certainly be a bonanza for any birder with its over 270 species in a relatively small area of 25 sq kms area. One should see the rare Mottled Wood Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Malayan Night Heron, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, Grey-headed Bulbul and the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon. 

Thattekkad - A Birding Destination
Thattekkad is a prime destination for bird watching tours by Kalypso Adventures The Hornbill Camp makes an excellent choice for birding at Thattekkad
Scene from Thattekkad The Hornbill Camp at Thattekkad


Getting There

The sanctuary is 53 km North-east of Kochi. The National Highway 49 passes through Kothamanagalam, from where you have to turn off on the the Pooyamkutti road. The nearest railway station is Aluva at a distance of 48 km. Kochi International Airport is approximately 45 Kms away. The best time for birding is from October to May.

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Comfortable accommodation is available at the tented  Hornbill Camp. Spacious cottage tents (20) make up the living area. The camp is located on the banks of the Periyar river.

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Kalypso Adventures
G 340, Panampilly Nagar
Kochi - 682036, Kerala-India
Tel: +91-484-2092280, 4012700
Mobile: +91-94470-31032
Fax: +91-484-2312627
E-Mail: info@birdskerala.com

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