Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in India

Sarus Crane

Ahmedabad | Source
Jerdon,s Leaf Bird
Jerdon,s Leaf Bird | Source

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Situated in the State of Rajasthan is a World famous bird sanctuary called Bharatpur. The sanctuary is located in one corner of Bharatpur Township. It has an area of 28, part of which is fenced. It is also known as Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary named after the famous Shiva Temple inside the premises.

Very popular for duck shoots especially during British Raj in India, the destination is now a conservation center. The stone slab in the park carries figures of all the major duck shoots that took place there. The engraving includes the name of the shooter - usually a foreign dignitary or a visiting Maharajah.

The terrain is a slightly uneven ground with large grassy swamps, some with deep waters and small patches of forests in the neighborhood. The complex wetland system of mounds, dykes, bunds and trees offer excellent habitat to more than three hundred species of birds. The inundation is artificial, man made and managed by the authorities now. The land filling with water happened during the construction of Ajan Dam between the year 1726 to 1763 by Maharajah Suraj Mal.

Bharatpur was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO and also as a Ramsar site. The best season to visit is winters, when the migratory ducks and teals arrive in thousands. The period between mid October to Mid March is the best.

One has to pay an entry fee at the sanctuary gate, and hire a birding guide. These are local guides and excel in bird identification . The guides help in identifying avian species, and know the routes very well.

Birding starts at the crack of dawn and can go one till evening hours before dusk. One can hire a ricksha or cycle at the gate for comfort. The best option is to walk around, this increases bird sightings but can be tiring. You have to carry mineral water and refreshments, however light snacks and beverages are available at the canteen in the center. During hot days you can avail a can of Coke or Pepsi to quench your thirst.


Pelican | Source

Yellow Footed Green Pigeon

Indian Bird at Bharatpur
Indian Bird at Bharatpur | Source

Keoladeo Ghana Sanctuary

Bird Images

Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Racket Tailed Drongo
Racket Tailed Drongo

Keoladeo Avian Images

Black Kite
Black Kite | Source
Gray Francolin
Gray Francolin | Source
Northen Shovellar
Northen Shovellar | Source
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis | Source

Avian Images

Horn Bill
Horn Bill

Bharatpur Avians

Common Pochard
Common Pochard | Source
Leaf Bird
Leaf Bird | Source
Painted Stork
Painted Stork | Source
Sarus Carne
Sarus Carne | Source
Alexandrine Parakeet
Alexandrine Parakeet | Source
Woolly Necked Stork
Woolly Necked Stork | Source
Sirkeer Malkoha
Sirkeer Malkoha | Source
Tailor Bird
Tailor Bird | Source
Orange Headed Ground Thrush
Orange Headed Ground Thrush | Source

Bird Photographs

Yellow Eyed Babbler
Yellow Eyed Babbler | Source
Black Headed Oriole
Black Headed Oriole | Source
Redstart | Source
Common Wood Shrike
Common Wood Shrike | Source
Indian Scops Owl
Indian Scops Owl | Source
Black Redstart
Black Redstart | Source
Hawk Eagle
Hawk Eagle | Source

Checklist of Birds of Bharatpur

During winters the birds arrive in hordes from Himalayas, Central Asia, Europe and Siberia. In order to see the spectacle and sight targeted species large number of birders arrive in Bharatpur. The check list has been worked upon for years by the ornithologists and added to their trip reports.

Wetland & Shore Birds:

  • Northern Pintail
  • Gadwall
  • Knob Billed Duck
  • Tufted Duck
  • Shoveler
  • Common Pochard
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Common Teal
  • Lesser Whistling Teal
  • Common Shelduck
  • Falcated Teal
  • Mallard
  • Spot Billed Duck
  • Baikal Teal
  • Baer's Pochard
  • Greater Scaup
  • Gargeny Teal
  • Red Crested Pochard
  • Ferruginous Duck
  • Bar Headed Geese
  • Grey Lag Geese
  • Cotton Teal
  • Little Grebe
  • Median Cormorant
  • Little Cormorant
  • Great Cormorant
  • Grey Heron
  • Purple Heron,
  • Ruff
  • Painted Stork
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • Black Necked Stork
  • Open Billed Stork
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Black Ibis
  • Snake Bird
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Temminck's Stint
  • Spotted Red Shank
  • Common Red Shank
  • Sarus Crane
  • Common Crane
  • Great White Pelican
  • Spot Billed Pelican
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Night Heron
  • Black Bittern
  • Great Bittern
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Jack Snipe
  • Common Snipe
  • Painted Snipe
  • Black Tailed Godwit
  • Terek Sandpiper
  • Red Necked Phalarope
  • Long Billed Dowitcher
  • Dunlin
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Broad Billed Sandpiper
  • Pheasant Tailed Jacana
  • Bronze-winged Jacana
  • Great Stone Plover
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Pied Avocet
  • Pacific Golden Plover
  • Red Knot
  • Grey Plover
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • River Tern
  • Kentish Plover
  • Black Headed Gull
  • Brown Headed Gull
  • Black Bellied Tern
  • Gull Billed Tern
  • Little Tern
  • Whiskered Tern

Passerines, Warblers, Raptors, Forest Birds:

  • Grey Horn Bill
  • Marshall's Iora
  • Common Iora
  • Indian Eagle Osprey
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Short Toed Eagle
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Tawny Eagle,
  • Imperial Eagle
  • Eurasian Marsh Harrier
  • Spotted Eagle
  • Serpent Eagle
  • Greater Spotted Eagle
  • Bonelli's Eagle
  • White Eyed Buzzard
  • Black Francolin
  • Grey Francolin
  • Indian Courser
  • Common Quail
  • Jungle Bush Quail
  • Rain Quail
  • Barred Buttun Quail
  • Yellow Legged Buttonquail
  • Wryneck
  • Brown Headed Pigmy Woodpecker
  • Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
  • Back Rumped Flame Back
  • Brown Headed Barbet
  • Coppersmith Barbet
  • Little Green Bee Eater
  • Blue Cheeked Bee Eater
  • Blue Tailed Bee Eater
  • Sirkeer Malkoha
  • Rose Ringed Parakeet
  • Plum Headed Parakeet
  • Asian Palm-Swift
  • Little Swift
  • Barn Owl
  • Oriental Scops Owl
  • Collared Scops Owl
  • Eurasian Eagle-Owl
  • Dusky Eagle Owl
  • Brown Fish-Owl
  • Barred Jungle Owlet
  • Spotted Owlet
  • Brown Hawk Owl
  • Short Eared Owl
  • Grey Nightjar
  • Syke's Nightjar
  • Indian Nightjar
  • Long Tailed Night jar
  • Savanna Nightjar
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Spotted Dove
  • Red Turtle, Dove
  • Little Ring Dove
  • Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
  • Water Rail
  • Brown Crake
  • White Breasted Waterhen
  • Baillon's Crake
  • Spotted Crake
  • Ruddy breasted Crake
  • Watercock
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Common Moorhen
  • Common Coot
  • Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse
  • Yellow Wattled Lapwing
  • River Lapwing
  • Grey Headed Lapwing
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • White-tailed Lapwing
  • Collared Pratincole
  • Small Pratincole
  • Yellow-legged Gull
  • Pallas's Gull
  • Osprey Black Winged Kite
  • Pariah Kite
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Red-headed Vulture
  • Hen Harrier
  • Pallid Harrier
  • Pied Harrier
  • Montagu's Harrier
  • Shikra
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Golden Eagle
  • Booted Eagle
  • Common Kestrel
  • Red Necked Falcon
  • Oriental Hobby
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Western Reef-Egret
  • Great Egret
  • Median Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Little Bittern
  • Yellow Bittern
  • Cinnamon Bittern
  • Lesser Adjutant
  • Rufous-tailed Shrike
  • Long-tailed Shrike
  • Grey-backed Shrike
  • Southern Grey Shrike
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Golden Oriole
  • Black Headed Oriole
  • Large Cuckooshrike
  • Black Headed Cuckooshrike
  • Small Minivet
  • White-bellied Minivet
  • Scarlet Minivet
  • White Throated Fantail
  • White-browed Fantail
  • Black Drongo
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Spangled Drongo
  • Common Woodshrike
  • Orange-headed Thrush
  • Tickell's Thrush
  • Red Breasted Flycatcher
  • Verditer Flycatcher
  • Blue Throat
  • Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
  • Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher
  • Siberian Rubythroat
  • Magpie Robin
  • Indian Robin
  • Black Redstart
  • Common Stonechat
  • Pied Bushchat
  • Grey Bushchat
  • Desert Wheatear
  • Variable Wheatear
  • Isabeline Wheatear
  • Brown Rock Chat
  • Brahminy Starling
  • Rosy Starling
  • Myna
  • Asian Pied Starling
  • Bank Myna
  • Great Tit
  • Plain Martin
  • Dusky Crag-Martin
  • Barn Swallow
  • Wire Tailed Swallow
  • Red Rumped Swallow
  • Streak-throated Swallow
  • Red Whiskered Bulbul
  • White Eared Bulbul
  • Red Vented Bulbul
  • Zitting Cisticola
  • Rufous-fronted Prinia
  • Jungle Prinia
  • Ashy Prinia
  • Plain Prinia
  • Oriental White Eye
  • Lanceolated Warbler
  • Moustached Warbler
  • Paddyfield Warbler
  • Blunt Winged Warbler
  • Blyth's Reed-Warbler
  • Clamorous Reed Warbler
  • Common Chiff Chaff
  • Booted Warbler
  • Common Tailorbird
  • Dusky Warbler
  • Blyth's Leaf Warbler
  • Tickell's Leaf Warbler
  • Sulphur Bellied Warbler
  • Lemon Rumped Warbler
  • Hume's Warbler
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Western Crowned Warbler
  • Marsh Babbler
  • Yellow-eyed Babbler
  • Common Babbler
  • Large Grey Babbler
  • Jungle Babbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Orpean Warbler
  • Singing Bush Lark
  • Indian Lark
  • Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
  • Desert Lark
  • Greater Short Toed Lark
  • Crested Lark
  • Syke's Crested Lark
  • Oriental Skylark
  • Thick Billed Flowerpecker
  • Pale Billed Flowerpecker
  • Purple Sunbird
  • House Sparrow
  • Russet's Sparrow
  • Spanish Sparrow
  • Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
  • White Wagtail
  • White-browed Wagtail
  • Citrine Wagtail
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Paddyfield Pipit
  • Tawny Pipit
  • Blyth's Pipit
  • Tree Pipit
  • Olive Backed Pipit
  • Rosy Pipit
  • Black Breasted Weaver
  • Streaked Weaver
  • Baya Weaver
  • Red Avadavat
  • Indian Silverbill
  • White Rumped Munia
  • Scaly Breasted Munia
  • Black Headed Munia
  • Common Rosefinch
  • Crested Bunting
  • White Capped Bunting
  • Chestnut Eared Bunting
  • Red Headed Bunting
  • Black-headed Bunting.

Many of the birds mentioned here are local migrants and seasonal visitors. Some arrive at the birding destination occasionally while others may be stragglers. The summer offers a good chance to watch and photograph the resident species.

Keoldeo Ghana Birding Video

Bharatpur Sanctuary Area

Bharatpur Road for Birding
Bharatpur Road for Birding | Source


Shikra Photo
Shikra Photo | Source


Birding at Bharatpur is an intense affair. Hence you should be well equipped with a good guide, a pair of finest binoculars and a spotting scope. Keep a good hand book on birds for reference. If you have done some home work before arriving in this sanctuary you will not regret it.

Wear a pair of good sporting shoes since you have to walk a lot. There are rickshaws available for easy birding but a walk offers better sightings. A rented cycle is a better bet, but again nothing beats trekking using your able feet.

Ask your tour operator as to what to expect during the birding at Bharatpur National Park. Start your tour early in the morning whence the park opens. Visit all the diverse habitats and keep an eye open for all the avian species you can spot.

The best season for Bharatpur birding is winters since a majority of migrants arrive then. But the changing seasons have their own offerings hence you will not be disappointed any time you come as long as the park is open.

Wetland at Bharatpur

Bharatpur Wetland
Bharatpur Wetland | Source


Turtle | Source


Striped Hyena
Striped Hyena | Source
Fox | Source


The Keoladeo Ghana Bird sanctuary harbors many wild animals. These are:

  • Nilgai
  • Spotted Deer
  • Sambar Deer
  • Hyena
  • Black Buck
  • Fox
  • Jackal
  • Fishing Cat
  • Mongoose
  • Civet
  • Monitor Lizard
  • Python
  • Smooth India Otter.

The leopards have been mercilessly exterminated from this bird paradise but a tiger occasionally sneaks in from the nearby tiger reserves. Most interesting are the Gangetic turtles which prey upon mammals on the bank. They are said to feed on human carcass as well.

One can come across rhesus macaque, langurs and wild boars while birding. The snakes are in plentiful especially the water snakes. Poisonous snakes are mostly nocturnal and comprise of Russel's Viper, Cobra and Krait. Indian python can be sighted in day time in certain areas of Keoladeo.

Bee Eater

Blue Tailed Bee Eater
Blue Tailed Bee Eater | Source

Hotel in Bharatpur

Hotel Sunbird in Bharatpur
Hotel Sunbird in Bharatpur | Source


Most of the hotel resorts are situated at a walking distance from the sanctuary gate. The tariff ranges from budget to three star. During the winter season the accommodations could be fully booked hence you need to book in advance.

A Government guest house belonging to Rajasthan Tourism is also available. It is located right inside the sanctuary. The guest house offers basic amenities and facilities and is reasonably priced.

Some of the popular hotels in Bharatpur are:

  • Hotel Sunbird
  • The Bagh
  • Maha Khas Palace
  • Birders Inn
  • Hotel Laxmi Vilas
  • Eagle's Nest
  • Udai Vilas Palace
  • Kiran Vilas Palace
  • Swaraj Resorts
  • Kadamb Kunj

The five star properties are actually heritage palaces converted into hotels for hospitality business. They exhibit classic architecture, arts and period furniture besides the royal opulence. These are expensive but it is worth experiencing the life of the Maharajahs in India.

These hotels also arrange the visit to the park along with a bird guide. The guide is an expert in birding and is familiar with routes and knows where the avian species could be found. If you are an amateur and new to Indian species than hire the best guide available.

Kite Photo

Black Shouldered Kite
Black Shouldered Kite | Source

Sightseeing in Bharatpur

The most interesting place in Bharatpur is the Loh Garh Fort built during the eighteen century by the Jat Kings. There are many temples in the city and near by, some of well the known ones are BankeBihari Temple, Ganga Temple and Laxman Mandir

Another good venue is the Government Museum inside the Loh Garh or Iron Fort in the city. A ride around the town can be a pleasing experience with the sights of quaint hamlets, forests and green fields.

Stork Photo

Black Stork Image
Black Stork Image | Source

Vulture on Nest

Long Billed Vulture on Nest
Long Billed Vulture on Nest | Source

Places of Interest Nearby

Bund Baretha is about fifty km from Keoladeo National Park. It supports many avian species not seen at the bird sanctuary including Indian Skimmers and whiskered terns. Another good place is Bayana for Vultures, Blue Rock Thrush and Bay Backed Shrike. On the route one can come across red and black headed buntings. This is the best place to see the smooth coated otters.

Chambal River Sanctuary is about fifty plus km at Dholepur from here. Another good boating venue is near the Bah Village in Uttar Pradesh about 70 km from Agra. There is a lodge for accommodation near the village which also provides good dining facility and naturalist guide services.

Chambal is an excellent birding destination and the river lies in Rajasthan, UP & MP three states. It is ideal for wildlife tours in India and offers sightings of Jackal, Leopard, Wolf, Fox, Hyena, Nilgai and many other animals. For reptiles one can see the Gangetic River Dolphin, Turtles, Gharial and Marsh Crocodile beside many other open country mammals. Mode of safaris are the motor boats operated by MPTDC.

Sand Grouse

Painted Sand Grouse
Painted Sand Grouse | Source

How to Reach

The best road route is from Agra to Mathura and then to Bharatpur which is about 39 km. Many trains stop at Bharatpur rail head.

Road transportation from New Delhi, Agra and Chambal River Sanctuary is preferred mode of travel. Taxi is the best option to reach the sanctuary from Agra and New Delhi. For those on budget travel, there are many state transport buses available.

Swampy Grasslands

Marshland | Source

Bharatpur Map

Useful Resource

© 2012 Uday Patel

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