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Periyar is well located as a centre for seeing most of these ornithological specialties of the Western Ghats, as well as large numbers of other resident hill species and migrants. Its attraction for birdwatchers is enhanced by the proximity of low lying plains on three sides. There is considerable local migration, often in the drier weather, of lowland species up into the foothills, and several interesting examples of ecological counterparts in pairs of wet zone and dry zone species can be found, e.g. the Barbets. This is particularly noticeable at Thekkady, conveniently sited near the top of a steep 450m/1500ft ghat above the dry Tamil Nadu plain.

Periyar Lake

There are 315 species positively recorded in the area. Among positively recorded species approximately 67% are residents, known to breed or suspected of breeding here. A proportion of resident species range quite widely over the area, particularly outside their breeding season (R/LM, e.g. Whiterumped and Blackheaded Munias). Winter visitors (WV) and passage migrants (PM) account for a further 20% and three species are either vagrant (V) or of indeterminate status. The remaining species, about 12%, are a mixture of local and altitudinal migrants (LM). It includes species with established seasonal migration patterns (Herons and Egrets) as well as a few species which only occur here rarely though in the wider region they are resident species (Egyptian Vulture) and also species which though they are known to have bred in the sanctuary are only present for part of the year, such as Hoopoe and Indian Roller, and which are categorised as LM/B.

Birding at Periyar

Bird watching will produce a list of about 20 easily seen lake species and time spent on the grassy edges of the creeks near Thekkady may add half-a-dozen more. The only accessible area of mud flats is immediately above the small check dam near the head works on the edge of Kumili. Forest areas on the other hand are enormously productive, particularly where interspersed with glades and clearings, and this habitat predominates in the Tourist Zone. It is necessary to arrange a guide for walking, except on the Thekkady peninsula, though a short excursion of a mile or two is usually sufficient.

In deciduous forest around Thekkady the commonest species in mixed foraging flocks are, in descending order Racket-tailed Drongo, Scarlet Minivet, Velvetfronted Nuthatch, Bronzed Drongo, Grey Tit, Goldenback Woodpeckers, Whitebellied Tree Pie, Jungle Babbler, Indian Rufous Tree Pie, Yellowbrowed Bulbul, Large Wood Shrike, Ashy Drongo, Small Minivet, Goldfronted Chloropsis, Small Green Barbet, Flowerpeckers. Other common members include Orioles, Fairy Bluebird, Leaf Warbler Flycatchers and Quaker Babbler. Very few species recorded in the sanctuary cannot at one time or another seen in the Tourist Zone, though it is necessary to climb to the grassy hilltops find some such as Brown Rock Pipit and Pied Bush Chat.

Getting There

The park is well connected by bus service from the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram (271 km), as well as the cities of Kochi (200 km), Kottayam (117 km), and Madurai (140 km). The nearest rail junction is Kottayam. The nearest national airports are Kochi (200 km) and Madurai (140 km).


Good quality accommodation is available at Periyar (known as Kumily locally) and also at Thekkady.  Our recommendations are:

Lake Palace: The erstwhile Maharaja’s palace located on the banks of the Periyar Lake. With just 5 rooms, this is a premium heritage hotel.

Aranya Nivas: A heritage hotel, this is ideally located near the boat landing area of the Periyar Lake.

Spice Village:  An up market internationally renowned resort at Kumily is highly recommended for travelers

Wildernest:  A small family owned eco lodge located just outside the park is ideal for birders on a budget.  

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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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