(Last Updated on : 09/01/2014)
The Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary is considered to be one of the most popular and well known bird sanctuaries in India. The sanctuary is located in the Gurgaon district, in the state of Haryana and it is an ideal place for birding and bird watchers. It is home to numerous species of birds, animals and mammals. The sanctuary is best visited during the winters, as a large number of migratory birds visit its, during that period. The place also witnessed a number of organisms like crustaceans, fish and insects thriving during floods, and as a result, several birds get attracted to this area. The climate of this place is tropical with very hot summers and chilly winters and it has its monsoon rains in the month of July till mid September. The most favourable time to visit this sanctuary is considered to be during the period of October to March.
The potential of the Sultan National Park and Bird Sanctuary to become a bird preserve was first identified by an enthusiastic bird watcher, Mr. Peter Jackson. He then convinced the then Prime Minister of India, Ms. Indira Gandhi, about the need for giving protection to this area and became successful in convincing. The Government of India declared the area covering 359 acres as a Bird Sanctuary in the year 1971 and it was again upgraded to the status of National Park in 1991 by the State Government of Haryana. After the up gradation, the Department of Wild Life Preservation, Haryana has so far carried out a number of development works like construction of mounds, widening of paths, etc. in the bird sanctuary. Apart from that, an education and interpretation center, and a library have also been established within the bird sanctuary.
The State Government of Haryana is also planting trees like Acacia Nilotica, Acacia Tortilis, Beris and Neem that are popular with the birds. The vegetation of the Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary mainly comprises of tropical and dry deciduous forests. Thus, the trees like babul savannah grasses, acacia, jamun and banyans are dotting its landscape. As the soil of the sanctuary is also quite fertile, it can be found carpeted with lawns, trees, shrubs and heaps of bougainvilleas, as well. Apart from the vegetation and birds, the sanctuary is also home to a number of common animals. Some of the most commonly seen animals in this sanctuary include the Striped Hyena, Leopard, Nilgai, Sambar, Blackbuck, Hog Deer, Four Horned Antelope, Caracal, Wild Dog, Rattle/Honey Badger, Mongoose, Hedgehog, Wild Pig, Wild Cat, Indian Porcupine, etc.
The Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary is home to about 250, out of a total 450 species of birds, found in Haryana. Some of the birds are residents of this sanctuary, while the others come from distant regions like Siberia, Europe and Afghanistan. The resident birds of the sanctuary include the Common Hoopoe, Paddy Field Pipit, Purple Sunbird, Little Cormorant, Eurasian Thick-knee, Gray Francolin, Black Francolin, Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Spot billed Duck, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Black headed Ibis, Little Egret, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, India Crested Lark, Red vented Bulbul, Rose ringed Parakeet, Red wattled Lapwing, Shikra, Eurasian collared Dove, Red collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Spotted Owlet, Rock Pigeon, Magpie Robin, Greater Coucal, Weaver Bird, Bank Mynah, Common Mynah and the Green Bee Eater.
Apart from the resident birds, the Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary also witnesses more than a 100 migratory bird species, every year. These birds come to the sanctuary in search of feeding grounds and to pass the winter. Some of the most notable migratory bird species found in the sanctuary include the Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingo, Ruff, Black winged Stilt, Common Teal, Common Greenshank, Northern Pintail, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Northern Shoveler, Rosy Pelican, Gadwall, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon, Black tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Blue throat and the Long billed Pipit. All these bird species visit the sanctuary during winter. Apart from them, about 11 species of migratory birds visit the Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary during summer. These birds include the Asian Koel, Black crowned Night Heron, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Comb duck, Blue cheeked Bee Eater, Blue-tailed Bee-Eater and the Cuckoos.