Nestled in the heart of Kerala, India, lies a paradise for birdwatching and bird photography enthusiasts – Thattekad. Often referred to as the “Birdwatcher’s Paradise,” Thattekad’s lush and diverse landscape offers a haven for ornithophiles. This pristine destination is renowned for its geographical uniqueness, abundant avian biodiversity, and an array of habitats.
Thattekad is a small village situated in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, South India. The region encompasses the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, which was named after the prominent Indian ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali. The sanctuary spans over 25 square kilometres and is located on the northern banks of the Periyar River, approximately 48 kilometres northeast of Kochi.
Thattekad is celebrated for its exceptional bird diversity, housing over 300 species, including both resident and migratory birds. This region is home to some of India’s most treasured and elusive bird species. From the vibrant Malabar Grey Hornbill to the striking Indian Pitta and the elusive Sri Lanka Frogmouth. Few other remarkable species found here include Malabar Trogon, Flame-throated Bulbul, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Sri Lanka Bay Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Blue-eared Kingfisher, White-bellied Woodpecker, Grey-headed bulbul, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar parakeet, Malabar Woodshrike and Malabar Barbet.
Thattekad’s climate is tropical, with high humidity and rainfall. The best time to visit for birdwatching is during the post-monsoon and winter months, from October to March. The weather during these months is relatively cool and comfortable, making it conducive for outdoor activities.
The level of difficulty on a day trip to Thattekad varies depending on your preferences and physical capabilities. The sanctuary offers well-marked trails and pathways for casual birdwatchers. For those interested in bird photography, the level of difficulty increases as you venture deeper into the forest and seek more elusive species, so wearing suitable attire and comfortable footwear is essential.