Sunday, August 27, 2023

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary UPSC

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, also known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, is a popular bird sanctuary located in the southern state of Karnataka, India. The sanctuary is spread across a cluster of small islands on the Kaveri River and is a haven for a diverse range of bird species. 

Ranganathittu is home to a rich variety of bird species, both resident and migratory. The sanctuary serves as a nesting and breeding ground for birds like painted storks, spoonbills, white ibises, egrets, herons, and cormorants.

The sanctuary plays a crucial role in the conservation of several bird species and their habitats. Efforts are made to maintain the ecosystem and protect the bird populations.

Table of Contents

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

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Location

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka, India. It is situated on the banks of sacred river Cauvery.

It's situated around 3 kilometers away from the historic town of Srirangapatna and about 16 kilometers north of Mysore. 

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. It's located approximately 160 to 170 kilometers away from the sanctuary, and it's the closest major airport. From the airport, you can travel to the sanctuary by road using private transportation or public buses.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the Mysore Junction Railway Station, located in Mysore, Karnataka, India. The sanctuary is about 16 kilometers from Mysore. Once you reach the Mysore Junction, you can hire a taxi, take a local bus, or use other modes of transportation to reach Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary History

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary's history dates back to the early 20th century. Here's a brief overview of its historical background:

Formation of Islets and Early Attraction to Birds: The history of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary can be traced back to the mid-17th century when an embankment was constructed across the Kaveri River between 1645 and 1648 under the rule of Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the king of Mysore. This engineering feat led to the creation of a cluster of islets along the river. Originally numbering 25, these islets began to naturally draw the attention of various bird species.

Ornithologist Salim Ali's Observations and Protection: Renowned ornithologist Salim Ali played a pivotal role in recognizing the ecological significance of Ranganathittu's islets. He observed that these islets served as a crucial nesting site for a diverse range of bird species. Acknowledging the importance of preserving this avian habitat, Salim Ali urged the king of Mysore to take action. In response, the area was officially declared a protected zone in the year 1940.

Management and Expansion Efforts by the Forest Department: The responsibility for maintaining and safeguarding the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary was entrusted to the Forest Department of Karnataka. In an ongoing endeavor to enhance the sanctuary's quality and scope, measures have been taken to acquire adjacent private land for the purpose of expanding the protected area. These efforts reflect a commitment to creating a more conducive environment for the avian inhabitants.

Eco-sensitive Zone Declaration and Preservation: In 2014, a significant step was taken to ensure the preservation of Ranganathittu's ecological balance. Approximately 28 square kilometers surrounding the sanctuary were designated as an eco-sensitive zone. This designation carries restrictions on certain commercial activities, underscoring the government's intent to maintain the sanctuary's integrity and prevent disruptive influences.

Ramsar Site Designation: A notable milestone in the sanctuary's history was achieved in 2022. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary received the prestigious recognition of being designated as a protected Ramsar site. This international designation signifies the sanctuary's global importance as a wetland area that serves as a habitat for diverse bird species and contributes to the overall ecological balance.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Area

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 0.67 square kilometers (67 hectares or 0.26 square miles). This relatively small but ecologically significant area comprises a cluster of islets and land along the Kaveri River in the state of Karnataka, India. 

This sanctuary comprises of 6 Islands and 6 Islets in the river Cauvery. The Islets are the main breeding ground for variety of local and migratory birds. The comparative isolation of the Islets during the monsoons and the abundance of aquatic insects make Ranganathittu a favourite haunt for birds. 

Despite its modest size, the sanctuary is home to a diverse range of bird species and plays a crucial role in providing nesting, breeding, and foraging habitats for both resident and migratory birds. The sanctuary's compact size allows for easy exploration and observation of its avian residents, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary River

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is situated along the banks of the Kaveri River in the southern state of Karnataka, India. The sanctuary's existence is closely intertwined with the river's presence, and the islets within the sanctuary are formed by the flow of the Kaveri River.

The Kaveri River, also spelled Cauvery, is one of the major rivers in southern India. It originates in the Western Ghats and flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. The river is not only a lifeline for the region's agriculture and communities but also plays a critical role in providing a diverse range of habitats for various flora and fauna, including birds.

Within the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the Kaveri River's flow has shaped the landscape, creating a series of islets and water bodies that serve as nesting sites, breeding grounds, and feeding areas for numerous bird species. The river's presence contributes to the sanctuary's ecological balance by providing water, food, and shelter for the birds and other wildlife that call the area home.

The sanctuary's location along the Kaveri River makes it an ideal place for birdwatching and experiencing the interconnectedness of water bodies and avian life. The river's flow, combined with the surrounding vegetation and ecosystem, creates a unique environment that supports a rich diversity of bird species throughout the year.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Flora

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is not only a haven for diverse bird species but also hosts a variety of flora that contributes to the sanctuary's ecological balance. The vegetation within the sanctuary provides nesting sites, shelter, and food for the birds, making it an essential part of the ecosystem. 

Here are some of the key flora species found in the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary:

(1) Riverine Vegetation:

The vegetation along the banks of the Kaveri River and its islands consists of trees, shrubs, and aquatic plants that are adapted to the wetland environment. These include species like banyan trees, fig trees, tamarind trees, and bamboo thickets. These trees offer nesting sites and perches for birds, as well as providing shade and shelter.

(2) Aquatic Plants:

The lakes and water bodies within the sanctuary are adorned with various aquatic plants such as water hyacinths, lotus, and water lilies. These plants not only contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the area but also serve as a food source and nesting material for certain bird species.

(3) Reed Beds:

Reeds and grasses grow in marshy areas and along the edges of water bodies. These plants help stabilize the soil and provide nesting sites for various bird species, including small passerines and waterfowl.

(4) Shrubs and Understory Plants:

Understory vegetation, including various shrubs and grasses, create a diverse habitat that supports insects and small prey animals. This, in turn, attracts insect-eating birds like warblers and flycatchers.

(5) Fruits and Berries:

Various fruit-bearing trees and bushes provide a natural food source for frugivorous bird species, contributing to the overall food web of the sanctuary.

Note- Ranganathittu has its own endemic species of plant Iphigenia mysorensis, a relative of the lily found nowhere else in the world.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Fauna (Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Animals)

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a thriving ecosystem that supports a rich diversity of wildlife beyond its avian inhabitants. The sanctuary's various habitats, including freshwater lakes, islets, and wetlands, provide homes and resources for a range of fauna species. 

Here are some of the notable fauna species found in the sanctuary:


  • Bonnet Macaque
  • Common Mongoose
  • Common Otter
  • Palm Civet
  • Fruit Bat


There are 221 species of birds belonging to 61 families. They include both resident and migratory birds. 

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Birds List:

  • Little Cormorant
  • Indian Cormorant
  • Great Cormorant
  • Oriental Darter
  • Asian Openbill
  • Black Headed Ibis
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • White Ibis
  • Openbilled Stork
  • Indian River Tern
  • Great Stone Plover
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Streaked Weaver Bird
  • Small Blue Kingfisher
  • Lesser Pied Kingfisher
  • White Breasted Kingfisher
  • Stork Billed Kingfisher
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Grey Partridge
  • Quails
  • Pipits 
  • Paradise Flycatcher
  • Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
  • White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
  • Babblers
  • Warblers
  • Iora
  • Changeable Hawk Eagle
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Shahin Falcon
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Marsh Harrier 
  • Lesser Whistling Teal
  • Spotbilled Duck
  • Bronze Winged Jacana
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Sandpiper
  • Pied Crested Cuckoo
  • Blue Faced Malkoha
  • Indian Pitta
  • Rosy Pastor
  • Golden Oriole
  • Blyth's Reed Warbler
  • Chiffchaff
  • Bluethroat
  • Forest Wagtail
  • Redheaded Bunting


  • Snakes (both poisonous and non-poisonous)
  • Turtles
  • Common Indian Monitor
  • Marsh Crocodile

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary located?/Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located in which state/district?

A. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka, India. The sanctuary is nestled along the banks of the Kaveri River and encompasses a cluster of islets and wetlands that provide vital habitats for a diverse range of bird species. 

Q. Who is the founder of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary?

A. The establishment of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is not attributed to a single individual founder. The sanctuary's history and development are the result of various factors, including the natural formation of islets along the Kaveri River, the recognition of its ecological significance by ornithologists, and the conservation efforts of local authorities.

The sanctuary's significance was first noted by renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, who observed the area's importance as a nesting and breeding ground for a variety of bird species. His advocacy and recommendations played a crucial role in raising awareness about the need to protect the area. Subsequently, under the initiative of the Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Chamaraja Wadiyar, and with the support of the local administration, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary was officially established as a protected area in 1940.

Therefore, while there isn't a single founder in the conventional sense, the sanctuary's establishment can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of individuals like Dr. Salim Ali, local authorities, and conservationists who recognized the ecological value of the area and worked towards its protection and conservation.

Q. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is famous for which bird?

A. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is famous for being a haven for a diverse range of bird species, both resident and migratory. One of the most iconic and recognizable birds associated with the sanctuary is the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala). These large, striking birds with their white bodies, glossy black wings, and vivid pink facial patches are a common sight in the sanctuary, particularly during the breeding season.

The sanctuary is also known for hosting various other bird species, including:

  • Spot-billed Pelican
  • Openbill Stork
  • Egrets
  • Herons
  • Ibises
  • Cormorants
  • Kingfishers
  • Darters

Q. What is Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary famous for?

A. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is famous for several reasons, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and tourists. Here are some of the key reasons why the sanctuary is renowned:

(i) Avian Diversity: The sanctuary is famous for its rich avian diversity. It hosts a wide variety of bird species, both resident and migratory, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Species like painted storks, spot-billed pelicans, herons, ibises, and cormorants are commonly seen.

(ii) Breeding Ground: Ranganathittu is known as an important nesting and breeding ground for various bird species. The sanctuary's islets and water bodies provide safe havens for birds to build nests and raise their young.

(iii) Migratory Birds: During the winter months, the sanctuary attracts numerous migratory bird species that travel from different parts of the world. These birds find shelter and food in the sanctuary's ecosystem.

(iv) Scenic Beauty: The picturesque landscapes, serene water bodies, lush vegetation, and vibrant birdlife create a visually stunning environment that appeals to nature lovers and photographers.

(v) Boat Tours: Guided boat tours allow visitors to get up close to the birds and their habitats. These tours offer unique opportunities to observe and photograph the birds from a close distance.

(vi) Salim Ali's Legacy: The renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali's observations and recommendations helped bring attention to the sanctuary's significance and played a part in its protection.

(vii) Proximity to Urban Centers: Its location near Mysore and Bangalore makes it easily accessible for day trips, attracting both local and international visitors.

Table of Contents Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Location Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary History Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Area Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary River Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Flora Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Fauna Mammals Birds Reptile Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary UPSC Questions

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