Monday, May 29, 2023

Tourism      Wildlife      Bird Sanctuary      Kerala     Ernakulam    

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (Thattekkad)




Kothamangalam Taluk, Ernakulam District, Kerala

Best season


November to February

Main Attraction


Migratory Birds

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Salim Ali Bird sanctuary commonly known as Thattekkadu bird sanctuary in the village of Kuttambuzha in Kothamangalam Taluk on the northern banks of the Periyar river is at a distance of 58kms from Kochi. Around 34 species of mammals, 270 sp of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphigians and 47 species of fishes are reported from the sanctuary.

It was once a rubber plantation and due to its specialty wildlife, Thattekkad was declared a sanctuary on August 27, 1983. The sanctuary is Kerala's first officially recognised bird sanctuary. The rare species of birds and the natural beauty itself makes Thattekkad a preferred tourist destination for bird lovers. Around 10000 tourists annually visits Thattekad. 

The lush green sanctuary at an altitude of 35-523m above sea level, occupies a dense jungle area measuring Dr.Salim Ali, the celebrated ornithologist of India was the main architect of this sanctuary. Described by him, Thattekkad is the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with eastern Himalayas. He discovered 167 species of birds here. It is Dr.R.Sugathan, one of the research students of Dr. Salim Ali and the Bombay Natural History Society has discovered that 327 species of birds inhabit this sanctuary. Now the sanctuary comes under Idukki Wildlife Warden and it is managed by the Kerala Forest Department. 

On either side of the sanctuary is the reservoir of the Bhoothathankettu Dam. The entrance is just after the Thattekkad bridge and the entrance gate is 50m to the left. Near to this, guides can be hired from the Assistant Wildlife Warden's Office. Inside the entrance is surrounded by thick bamboo clusters. On the way, steps to the right lead down to the Animal Rehabilitation Centre. The stray sick, injured or wounded animals are rehabilitated here and will be release after it get cured. The sanctuary has a deer park, situated just opposite to the Rehabilitation Centre. Chital and Sambhar can be seen in its open premises. Besides these, Thattekkad has the Taxidermic Museum located near to the Deer Park. The museum consists a large variety of the sanctuaries habitants that were neatly showcased. Among them birds like, the powerful crested hawk eagle, the gorgeous paradise flycatcher, the tropic bird and 8-ft long King Cobra deserve mention.

A Demonstration plot is also set up inside the sanctuary for medicinal plants. Besides this, a bird research centre, Interpretation center (has a detailed information about the sanctuary, birds, animals and reptiles), a three storied Bird watching chamber with winding staircase. On the either sides of the sanctuary is the reservoir of the Bhoothankettu Dam. On the other sides are the Periyar and Pooyamkutty Rivers. One can enjoy the boating through Periyar. The visitors are also provided with binoculars to enjoy the sight at close quarters.   'Kalypso Adventures' offers a facility to spot butterflies and a 7-day butterfly spotting tours through Kerala.  
Ph: 0484-2310324, 2092280, 09447031032


The forest of Thattekad Sanctuary is classified as thickly wooded, Semi and perennial evergreen forest mainly. It also has extensive plantations of teak, Dalbergia latfilia (Rosewood), Palanquium ellipticum, Hopea parviflora, Canarium strictum, Dalbergia latifolia, Lagerstroemia microcarpa, Evodia aiunenkanda and Terminalia paniculata, Tetrameles nudiflora , Telli etc. 

There is also some deciduous species of forests that periodically shed their leaves. The undulating terrain is covered by mostly by tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, and grasslands. 

The sanctuary is a home to 500 species of exotic birds including the rare birds like Pitts, Crimson-Throated Barbet, Bee-eater, Sunbird, Shrike, Pariah Kite etc. The Bee-eaters that weigh only 15 gm are from Siberia and the Himalayas. Pitts are from Central Asia and Siberia. A variety of koels from Iran, Iraq, Siberia and North India can be seen here. Seven types of water birds fly out from Britian, Siberia and the Himalayas. These birds come here, breed and lay eggs and finally fly back to their original homes. October is the best time to see this migratory birds. The return trips of these birds take place during April, which is the mating season. 

Some of the other bird species in Thattekad are Hornbill, Dollar bird, Whistling thrust, Bluebeard, Greyhead, Fishing eagle, Black-winged kite, Night heron, Eastern grey heron, Drango, Common Crow, Sun Bird, Woodpecker, Robin, Jungle fowl, Jungle mynah, Skrykz, Owls, King fisher, Hawks, Darter etc. 

The mammals found here are elephant, Deer, Sambhar, Wild Boar, Leopard, Bear, Monkey, Jungle Cat, Pig etc.

Different species of reptiles likes Indian Rock Python, King Cobra, Russel's Viper, Saw scaled Viper and Crocodiles can be seen in Thattekkad. 
The sanctuary also boast a variety of extremely colourful butterflies. The Madras Naturalists Society has documented over 50 species of butterflies here. Some of them are Malabar rose, Southern or Western Ghats birdwing, lime butterfly, Malabar banded swallowtail, red Helen, Buddha peacock, Paris peacock, Tamil catseye, blue mormon, the Malabar raven etc.

The use of vehicles are not permitted inside the sanctuary. The timings open for visitors are 8 am to 6 pm.
Guide: No Fixed Charges

Entry Fee : Adults - Rs 10/-
For Children below 12 years and Bonafide students on tour - Rs 5/-
Foreigners : Rs 100/-
Fee for Video/Movie Camera : Rs 150/-
Ordinary Camera : Rs 25/-