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 25sq.km. 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
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
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
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/-