Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary UPSC

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is a famous bird sanctuary located in the Indian state of Kerala. It is named after the renowned Indian ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, who played a significant role in the study and conservation of birds in India.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers and ornithologists, as it boasts a diverse array of bird species. Over 300 species of birds have been documented in the sanctuary, including several rare and endemic species. This makes it a hotspot for bird enthusiasts.

Apart from its avian diversity, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is ecologically significant due to its role in conserving the Western Ghats' biodiversity. It provides habitat for numerous species of animals, plants, and insects in addition to its avifauna.

The sanctuary's location near popular tourist destinations like Munnar and Kochi makes it accessible for tourists and birdwatchers who are exploring Kerala. 

Visitors to the sanctuary can engage in birdwatching, nature walks, and photography. The best time to visit is during the winter months (November to February) when migratory birds arrive, although the sanctuary is open year-round.

Table of Contents

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

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Location

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is located in Devicolam taluka of Idukki district, Kerala, India. It is situated on the northern bank of River Periyar.

The southeast boundary of the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is demarcated by the reserve boundary of the Neriyamangalam Range, extending over a distance of 5 km. Kuttampuzha village is situated on the eastern and northeastern sides of the sanctuary.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is the Cochin International Airport, also known as Nedumbassery Airport. It's located in the city of Kochi (Cochin), Kerala. The distance between Cochin International Airport and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is approximately 60-70 kilometers, and the travel time by road is around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, the Aluva Railway Station is often considered the most convenient choice for reaching Thattekad Bird Sanctuary by train. Aluva Railway Station is situated in Aluva, a suburb of Kochi, Kerala. The distance between Aluva Railway Station and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is approximately 45-50 kilometers, with a travel time of about 1.5 to 2 hours by road.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary History

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary has an interesting history associated with its establishment and conservation efforts. Here's a brief overview of its history:

Discovery and Early Conservation Efforts: The area that is now the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary gained significance due to the efforts of Dr. Salim Ali, a renowned Indian ornithologist. In the early 20th century, Dr. Salim Ali recognized the ecological importance of this region for birdlife. He conducted extensive ornithological surveys and identified the rich avian diversity present in the area.

Recognition and Designation: Dr. Salim Ali's work brought attention to the need for conserving the unique bird species found in the area. In 1983, the Kerala Forest Department officially declared the area as a sanctuary to protect its biodiversity, especially its avian population. The sanctuary was named after Dr. Salim Ali in recognition of his contributions to ornithology and conservation.

Conservation Initiatives: Over the years, the sanctuary has been a focal point for conservation efforts, especially for the preservation of rare and endemic bird species. These efforts have included habitat restoration, anti-poaching measures, and educational programs to raise awareness about the importance of bird and wildlife conservation.

Birdwatching and Tourism: The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary has become a popular destination for birdwatchers, naturalists, and tourists interested in experiencing the diverse birdlife of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary's accessibility, coupled with its unique bird species, has contributed to its reputation as a prime location for birdwatching.

Recognition as an Important Bird Area (IBA): The sanctuary's significance has been further acknowledged by its inclusion as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. This designation highlights the sanctuary's global importance for bird conservation.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Area

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 25 square kilometers. The sanctuary's diverse habitat includes evergreen and deciduous forests, grasslands, and wetlands, providing a range of environments that support its rich avian population and overall biodiversity.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Hills

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is located at the base of the western slopes of the Western Ghats, which is a mountain range running parallel to the southwestern coast of India. The sanctuary's terrain includes hills and undulating landscapes that contribute to its unique ecological characteristics. 

The presence of hills in the sanctuary's vicinity adds to its biodiversity by creating diverse habitats for various plant and animal species, including birds.

Two notable high peaks within the Thattekad region are:

(1) Thoppimudi:

This is one of the high peaks within Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. Its elevation and distinct topography likely contribute to the sanctuary's overall landscape and the habitats available for birdlife.

(2) Njayapillimudi:

Another high peak in the vicinity, Njayapillimudi, also likely influences the sanctuary's terrain and provides a variety of habitats for the resident and migratory bird species that inhabit the area.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary River

The Periyar River flows through the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, adding to its natural beauty and ecological significance. The presence of a river provides water sources and wetland habitats that are crucial for various bird species and other wildlife.

The Periyar River is one of the major rivers in Kerala and plays a vital role in the region's water resources and ecosystem. Its flow through the sanctuary contributes to the diversity of habitats available for birds and other organisms. Wetlands and riverbanks attract a variety of bird species, making the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary an important location for both resident and migratory birds.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Flora

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary boasts a diverse array of flora that contributes to its rich biodiversity and provides habitats for various bird species. The sanctuary's vegetation includes several types of forests and plant species, contributing to its ecological significance. 

Here are some of the notable flora found in the sanctuary:

(1) Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest:

This type of forest is characterized by its dense canopy and rich biodiversity. It includes species such as:

  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia)
  • Indian Laurel (Terminalia paniculata)
  • Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
  • Black Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula)
  • Bullet Wood (Mimusops elengi)
  • Ironwood (Mesua ferrea)

(2) -Evergreen Forest:

This type of forest features a mix of evergreen and deciduous species. Some common trees include:

  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Indian Kino Tree (Pterocarpus marsupium)
  • Indian Mast Tree (Polyalthia longifolia)
  • Mango Tree (Mangifera indica)
  • Indian Mahogany (Toona ciliata)

(3) Moist Deciduous Forest:

These forests shed their leaves during certain seasons. Species in this forest type include:

  • Indian Laurel (Terminalia paniculata)
  • White Cedar (Debregeasia salicifolia)
  • Silk Cotton Tree (Ceiba pentandra)
  • Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula)
  • Bamboo species

(4) Riparian Forest:

These are forests along riverbanks. Trees found here might include:

  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia)
  • Bamboo species
  • Various aquatic plants and grasses

Forest Disturbances: The forest in the sanctuary has undergone changes due to various factors. One-third of the sanctuary area is under monoculture, mainly consisting of Teak (Tectona grandis) and Dipterocarpus. This monoculture has had an impact on the original riverain forest that existed along the riverbanks.

Private Holdings: Some private land holdings exist along the edges of the sanctuary. These holdings vary in size, ranging from small areas to larger plots.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Fauna (Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Animals)

The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is renowned for its diverse avian population, but it's also home to a variety of other wildlife species. The sanctuary's diverse habitats, including forests, wetlands, and riverbanks, support a range of fauna. 

Here are some of the notable animal species that can be found in the sanctuary:


  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Leopard Cat
  • Asian Elephant
  • Sloth Bear
  • Wild Dog
  • Sambar
  • Small Travancore Flying Squirrel 
  • Draco or Gliding Lizard Draco 


Thattekad Bird Sanctuary Bird List:

  • Orange-headed Ground Thrush
  • Large-billed Leaf Warbler
  • Jerdon’s Nightjar
  • Indian Cuckoo
  • Oriental Darter
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Collared Scops Owl
  • Ceylon Frogmouth
  • Bay Owl
  • Grey-fronted Green Pigeon
  • Yellow-browed Bulbul
  • Drongo Cuckoo
  • Indian Hawk Cuckoo
  • Large Hawk Cuckoo
  • Dark-fronted Babbler
  • Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
  • Nilgiri Wood Pigeon
  • Wynaad Laughtingthrush 
  • Ceylon Frogmouth
  • Broad-tailed Grassbird (Grass Warbler)
  • Rufous-tailed (Rusty-tailed) Flycatcher
  • Tytler's Leaf Warbler
  • Green Munia


The sanctuary is also home to a variety of reptile and amphibian species, including various snakes, lizards, and frogs.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary UPSC Questions

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

A. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is located in the Indian state of Kerala. Specifically, it is situated in the Kothamangalam Taluk of Ernakulam district in Kerala, India. This sanctuary is known for its rich avian diversity and lush natural surroundings, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts

Q. When was Thattekad Bird Sanctuary established?

A. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary was established in the year 1983. The Government of Kerala declared it a Bird Sanctuary in recognition of its importance for avian biodiversity and conservation. Named after the renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, the sanctuary has since become a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, offering a habitat for various bird species within its diverse landscapes.

Q. Which river flows through Thattekad Bird Sanctuary?

A. The Periyar River flows through the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. This river adds to the sanctuary's natural beauty and provides vital water sources and wetland habitats for various bird species and other wildlife. The presence of the Periyar River contributes to the sanctuary's appeal for both avian and nature enthusiasts.

Q. What are the other names of Thattekad Bird Sanctuary?

A. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is also known by two other names:

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: The sanctuary is named after Dr. Salim Ali, a prominent Indian ornithologist who made significant contributions to the study of birds in India. This name pays tribute to his efforts in bird conservation and ornithological research.

Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary: This is an alternative transliteration of the sanctuary's name, reflecting its pronunciation in the local language.

These names are often used interchangeably to refer to the same bird sanctuary located in Kerala, India.

Q. What is the climate in the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary?

A. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary experiences a tropical climate typical of the region it is situated in. It falls within the Western Ghats, which influences its weather patterns. The sanctuary's climate can be characterized as follows:

(i) Monsoon Season (June to September): During the monsoon months, Thattekad experiences heavy rainfall. The southwest monsoon brings significant precipitation, which contributes to the lush vegetation and the river's flow. This period might not be ideal for birdwatching due to the rain.

(ii) Post-Monsoon Season (October to November): After the monsoon, the region starts to transition into a drier period. The weather becomes more pleasant, and bird activity can increase as the vegetation remains lush and food sources are abundant.

(iii) Winter Season (December to February): The winter months are considered the best time to visit the sanctuary. The weather is relatively cooler and more comfortable for outdoor activities like birdwatching. Migratory birds from northern regions and higher altitudes often arrive during this period.

(iv Pre-Monsoon Season (March to May): As summer approaches, the temperature starts to rise. This season can be hot and dry, but birdwatching is still possible. Some resident birds might be more active during this time as they engage in breeding activities.

The sanctuary's location within the Western Ghats, its proximity to the Periyar River, and the presence of diverse habitats contribute to its microclimates and weather variations.

Q. What is the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is famous for its remarkable avian diversity and its significance as a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Here are some of the key reasons why the sanctuary is renowned:

(i) Rich Avian Diversity: The sanctuary is home to a diverse array of bird species, making it a prime destination for birdwatching. With over 300 recorded species, including endemic, rare, and migratory birds, Thattekad has gained recognition as a birdwatcher's paradise.

(ii) Renowned Ornithologist Salim Ali: The sanctuary is named after Dr. Salim Ali, a highly respected Indian ornithologist. His association with the sanctuary has contributed to its global recognition and importance for bird conservation.

(iii) Critical Habitat: Thattekad Bird Sanctuary provides crucial habitat for various bird species, including some that are globally threatened or restricted in range. The sanctuary's varied ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and riverbanks, contribute to its role in supporting diverse birdlife.

(iv) Migratory Birds: The sanctuary is a seasonal home for many migratory bird species that arrive during the winter months. Birdwatchers are drawn to the sanctuary to witness the impressive influx of these migratory visitors.

(v) Natural Beauty: In addition to its avian inhabitants, the sanctuary offers a picturesque natural setting. Its location near the Western Ghats and the presence of the Periyar River add to its scenic charm.

(vi) Biodiversity Hotspot: The Western Ghats region, where the sanctuary is located, is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot. Thattekad's contribution to this biodiversity adds to its global significance.

(vii) Peaceful Retreat: For nature enthusiasts, the sanctuary provides a tranquil retreat where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural world and observe birds and other wildlife in their native habitats.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

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