History of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries of Kerala. This well renowned bird sanctuary is situated in Ernakulum District. Established in the year 1983, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is considered as one of the most attractive bird sanctuaries in India. The sanctuary was set up by the ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali and hence, is also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Dr. Ali described Thattekkad as the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with the eastern Himalayas, during the 1930s.
Location of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
As is common on the Western Ghats, the terrain is undulating and its elevation ranges between 35 metres and 523 metres. The tallest point is the Njayapilli peak (523 metres high). Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is located at 76 degree 40 minutes and 76 degree 45 minutes north latitude and 10 degree 7 minutes and 11 degree east longitude. It has an annual rainfall of about 2500 mm. The globally acclaimed Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary has a total area of 25 square kilometres and is located between the tributaries of the Periyar River.
Flora of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Flora of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary includes tropical evergreen forests, tropical semi-evergreen forests and tropical deciduous forests. Further, patches of grasslands can also be found. Tropical evergreen forests harbour Vellapine, Karanjili, Palley, Kunthirikam, Bhadraksham, Kanala, Kurangatti, etc. Tropical semi evergreen forests harbour Angili, Kambacom etc. Trees of commercial value like Teak, Rosewood, Venteak, Venga, Maruthi are also found here. The vegetation in this sanctuary includes common plants like Indian Teak tree, Mahogany and Rosewood and the trees make a wonderful lush green cover to blanket the sanctuary.
Fauna of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is home to a large number of almost 500 species of exotic birds and hence, is counted amongst the most famous landmarks in Kerala. The sanctuary also houses thick tropical deciduous and evergreen cover trees for providing a safe haven to all the winged creatures. Among all the bird species found in the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, some of the most notable ones include the Bee eaters, Falcon Grey, Jungle Fowl, Black Winged Kite, Shrike, Crimson-Throated Barbet, Ceylon Frogmoth, Sunbird, Night Heron, Blue Winged Parakeet, White-Breasted Water Hen, Rose-Billed Roller, Great Hornbill etc. The sanctuary is a habitat for different varieties of cuckoos and a region of the sanctuary popularly called "Cuckoo Paradise" is home to them, among which Drongo cuckoo, Indian hawk cuckoo and Large hawk cuckoo are common.
In this sanctuary many species of migratory birds visit during winter and spends six months here. Those species are Orange-headed thrush, Large-billed leaf-warbler, Jerdon's nightjar, Indian cuckoo, Oriental darter, Cormorants, Whiskered terns, Collared scops owl, Ceylon frogmouth, Grey-fronted green pigeon, Yellow-browed bulbuls etc.
Apart from the several species of birds, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is also home to a number of animals and reptiles. At least 28 species of animals can be found in this sanctuary and the number of reptiles is also large. The most commonly found animals in this sanctuary include the Leopard, Sloth Bear and Porcupine and animals like Elephants can also be found occasionally. Indian Cobra and Pythons are the most common ones among all the reptiles found in this bird sanctuary. The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary also offers the visitors a chance to know about a variety of plants.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is located at around 13 kms north-east of Kothamangalam. The nearest railway station is Aluva, at a distance of 48 kms. Cochin International Airport, the nearest airport, is 71 kms from Thattekkad. Kothamangalam is well connected by privately operated buses to Ernakulam via Muvattupuzha or Perumpavur. There are frequent buses from Kothamangalam to Thattekad. Currently the bus needs to cross the Periyar river by ferry. Construction on a bridge across the river has started. Other visiting places near Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary are Nadukani, Bhoothathankettu, Malayattoor, Kodanad, Kalady, Wellington Island, Bolgatty, Mattancherry, etc.
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