Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Okhla Bird Sanctuary UPSC

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Okhla Bird Reserve, is a bird sanctuary located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is situated at the Okhla barrage over Yamuna River and covers an area of about 4 square kilometers. The sanctuary was established in 1990 and is recognized as an important habitat for both resident and migratory birds.

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is home to over 300 bird species, including both terrestrial and water birds. The sanctuary is among the wetlands falling in the Central Asian Flyway. The sanctuary also attracts a large number of migratory birds during the winter season.

The sanctuary provides a natural habitat for birds and is an important stopover and nesting site for migratory species. It offers a peaceful environment for birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers to observe and study the avian biodiversity.

In recent years, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary has faced some environmental challenges due to urbanization and pollution. Efforts have been made to preserve and protect the sanctuary, including the declaration of an eco-sensitive zone around it.

Table of Contents

  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary Location
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary History
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary Area
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary River
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary Lake
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary Flora
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Okhla Bird Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Location

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is located in Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is situated at the Okhla Barrage over Yamuna River, on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border. 

The sanctuary is located at the point where the Yamuna river enters Uttar Pradesh. The sanctuary is easily accessible from Delhi and other nearby cities in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, which is approximately 38 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a cab to reach the sanctuary.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, located in Delhi, approximately 15 kilometers away. From there, you can take a taxi or local transportation to reach the sanctuary.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Nearest Metro Station:

As for the nearest metro station, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary can be accessed from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary metro station, which is on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. The metro station is located near the entrance of the sanctuary, providing convenient access for visitors using the metro system.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary History

What is the history of Okhla Bird Sanctuary?

Historical Significance: The areas around Okhla barrage, encompassing the river Yamuna and the marshes associated with it, have a rich historical significance as a favored location for birdwatchers. This popularity can be traced back to the construction of the Agra Canal, which began from this site in 1874.

Ornithological Surveys: During June 1943 to May 1945, Major-General H. P. W. Hutson conducted ornithological surveys in the Delhi region, including Okhla. He documented the diverse bird species found in the area, providing valuable insights into the avian population during that time.

Barrage Construction and Increased Birdwatching: The construction of a barrage and the subsequent formation of a lake in 1986 significantly transformed the Okhla area. This development attracted greater attention from birdwatchers, resulting in increased birdwatching activity at this site.

Designation as a Bird Sanctuary: In 1990, recognizing its ecological importance, the Government of Uttar Pradesh designated an area of 4 square kilometers along the river Yamuna as a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This official designation aimed to safeguard the habitat and well-being of the avian species in the region.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Area

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary spans an area of approximately 4 square kilometers. The sanctuary is situated at the confluence of the Yamuna River. The compact size of the sanctuary allows for easy accessibility and convenient birdwatching opportunities.


Okhla Bird Sanctuary River

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is located along the banks of the Yamuna River in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The sanctuary encompasses the river and its associated marshes, wetlands, and other water bodies. 

The Yamuna River plays a vital role in the sanctuary's ecosystem as it provides a water source and supports various aquatic and bird species. The confluence of the Yamuna River near the sanctuary creates an ideal habitat for a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. 

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Lake

Okhla Barrage:

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary features a lake (Okhla Barrage) that was formed as a result of the construction of a barrage on the Yamuna River in 1986. The lake serves as a significant component of the sanctuary's ecosystem, attracting a diverse range of bird species. It provides an important water source and supports various aquatic plants and animals, creating a thriving habitat for avian fauna.

The lake's calm waters and surrounding vegetation offer an ideal environment for both resident and migratory birds. It serves as a crucial resting, feeding, and nesting site for numerous bird species. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts visit the sanctuary to observe the avian diversity, particularly around the lake area.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Flora

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is characterized by diverse flora that contributes to its ecological richness. The sanctuary's vegetation includes a mix of wetland, marshland, and terrestrial plant species, creating a varied habitat for birds and other wildlife. 

Here are some examples of the flora found in the Okhla Bird Sanctuary:

(1) Aquatic Plants:

The sanctuary's water bodies support various aquatic plant species such as water hyacinth, lotus, water lilies, and submerged plants like Vallisneria and Hydrilla. These plants play a crucial role in maintaining water quality and providing food and shelter for aquatic organisms.

(2) Marshland Vegetation:

The marshy areas within the sanctuary are home to species like reeds, cattails, bulrushes, and sedges. These plants thrive in the wetland habitat, providing nesting sites and cover for birds, as well as contributing to the overall biodiversity of the area.

(3) Riparian Vegetation:

Along the banks of the Yamuna River, you can find a variety of riparian vegetation. Trees such as Banyan, Peepal, Neem, and Babul are common, providing shade and nesting sites for birds. Shrubs like Indian rosewood, ber, and jujube can also be found in these areas.

(4) Grasses and Herbs:

The sanctuary features a diverse range of grasses and herbaceous plants. These include species like elephant grass, bulrush grass, Bermuda grass, and various wildflowers. These plants contribute to the overall vegetation cover and provide foraging grounds for birds.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary Fauna (Okhala Bird Sanctuary Animals)

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of fauna, including both resident and migratory bird species, as well as other animals. Here are some notable examples of the fauna found in the sanctuary:


Although the focus of the sanctuary is primarily on bird conservation, there are several mammal species that can be found within its boundaries. These include the Indian Grey Mongoose, Indian Hare, Indian Palm Squirrel, and various bat species. Small carnivores like the Indian Civet and Striped Hyena have also been reported in the surrounding areas.


Which bird is famous in Okhla Bird Sanctuary?

Common Bird Species:

  • White-rumped Vulture
  • Indian Vulture
  • Baer’s Pochard
  • Sarus Crane
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • Indian Skimmer
  • Pallas’s Fish Eagle
  • Lesser Adjutant
  • Bristled Grassbird
  • Finn’s Weaver
  • Ferruginous Pochard
  • Black-bellied Tern
  • Grey-headed Fish Eagle
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Black-necked Stork

Migratory Bird Species:

  • Baikal Teal
  • Northern Pintail
  • Common Teal
  • Bar-headed Goose
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Common Greenshank
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Pied Avocet
  • Black-necked Stork
  • Osprey
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Grey-headed Swamphen
  • Bluethroat
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Western Marsh Harrier
  • Common Cuckoo


The wetland and marshy habitats of the sanctuary support a variety of reptiles. This includes species such as the Indian Python, Common Indian Monitor Lizard, Indian Cobra, Russell's Viper, and various turtle species.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Okhla Bird Sanctuary located?/In which state Okhla Bird Sanctuary is located?

A. The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is located in Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India

Q. How to reach Okhla Bird Sanctuary by metro?

A. The nearest metro station to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is the Okhla Bird Sanctuary Metro Station, which is located on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro.

Q. What is Okhla Bird Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is famous for several reasons:

(1) Avian Diversity: The sanctuary is renowned for its rich avian diversity. It is home to over 320 bird species, including both resident and migratory birds. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts visit the sanctuary to observe and study these diverse bird populations.

(2) Migratory Birds: The sanctuary is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species, especially during the winter months. Birds from as far as Siberia, Europe, and Central Asia travel thousands of kilometers to seek refuge in the sanctuary. The presence of migratory birds adds to its fame and attracts birdwatchers from across the world.

(3) Bird Conservation: The sanctuary plays a crucial role in the conservation of avian species. It provides a protected area for nesting, feeding, and resting for a wide variety of birds. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation, monitoring, and public awareness programs to ensure the well-being and survival of bird populations.

(4) Location and Accessibility: The Okhla Bird Sanctuary's location near Delhi and its easy accessibility make it a popular destination for birdwatchers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts. Its proximity to urban areas allows for convenient visits and offers a tranquil retreat amidst the bustling city.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary

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