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About Birding in Bandhavgarh

Updated on July 16, 2021
pateluday profile image

Uday works as a naturalist and birding guide in India. His love for wildlife and nature encourages him to blog and write articles.


Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Umaria District of Madhya Pradesh in India. Also called a tiger reserve it is an undisturbed patch of tropical forest and is home to tigers and many other mammals. It is home to hundreds of birds - resident and winter migrants.

Due to diverse topography this wildlife refuge on the fringes of Vindhya Range is rich in biodiversity. The region comprises of moist dry deciduous forests of Sal, mixed and bamboo. The altitude reaches up to 800 MSL at a peak called Bandhavgarh.

The habitat comprises of many swampy grasslands which are slowly drying to become hard grounds. Presently this formation is due to small rivers that intersect the park terrain. This is a unique feature and another aspect that is striking about the topography is presence of a number of hillocks that create altitude variation.

Bird watching in the reserve is one of the most liked recreation among the visitors. There are several guides in the park with good knowledge of resident and migratory species. These guides are of immense help in locating and identifying avian species for the tourists.

Avian Statistics

Bird Species: Approx Two Hundred Fifty

Families: Fifty Three

Targeted avian species in the tiger reserve are Malabar Pied Horn Bill, Indian Pitta, Brown Wood Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Mottled Wood Owl,Painted Francolin, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Orange Headed Ground Thrush, Tickell's Thrush, Sarus Crane, Painted Stork, Crested Hawk Eagle and Crested Serpent Eagle to name a few.

Long Tailed Shrike
Long Tailed Shrike | Source

Hoopoe & Woodpecker

Hoopoe and Golden Back Woodpecker
Hoopoe and Golden Back Woodpecker | Source

Avian Images

Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird | Source
Lesser White Throat
Lesser White Throat | Source
Red Throated Flycatcher
Red Throated Flycatcher | Source

Bird types

The tourism zone at Bandhavgarh is a typical tiger country. It is a habitat which supports the avian species in great numbers. Bandhavgarh Hill is most preferred by Malabar Pied Horn Bill and Common Grey Horn Bill for nesting. Similarly Long Billed Vultures prefer steep cliffs of the hillocks to breed.

The park is good for sighting forest birds - Passerine, raptors, owls, aquatic, ground birds, grass birds, barbets, hornbills, hoopoe, rollers, king fishers, bee eaters, cuckoos, coucal, parakeets, night jars, pigeons, doves, thick knee, storks, falcons, plovers, herons, cormorants, shrikes, corvids, monarchs, thrushes, flycatchers, chats, starlings, mynas, nuthatches, bulbuls, prinias, warblers, larks, pipits and sylvia warblers.

Some of the large water bodies like Bhadrashila, Gadpuri Dam, Bamera Tank, Gopal Tank, Banbei Reservoir, Umrar Bank besides the numerous small water bodies are places to seek shore and water birds.

Marshy grasslands are home to many birds like quails, partridges, prinias, munias, pipits and larks. Most coveted species are red avadavat, tricolor munia, blue breasted quail and rock bush quail.

Lesser Whistling Teals

Lesser Whistling Teals
Lesser Whistling Teals | Source

Flycatcher Photo

Black Naped Monarch
Black Naped Monarch | Source

Bird Migration

Seasonal movement of species is noted in Bandhavgarh National Park. Attitudinal migrants are few and arrive from far up north. Most of the migration takes place during the winter while in summers breeding migrants mostly forest dwellers congregate here.

Attitudinal migrants are Pallas Fish Eagle, Brahminy Duck, Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Gray Bush chat and Ultramarine Flycatcher besides many warblers and pipits. The fort at the steep walled hill, surrounding grasslands and forests provide excellent breeding grounds for horn bills and raptors.

Indian Darter

Indian Darter a Water Bird
Indian Darter a Water Bird | Source

Bird Photos of BTR

Bonelli's Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle | Source
Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher
Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher | Source
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit | Source
Long Tailed Minivet
Long Tailed Minivet | Source

Birds of Bandhavgarh

Yellow Wattled Lapwing
Yellow Wattled Lapwing | Source
Great Stone Plover
Great Stone Plover | Source
Gray Headed Barbet
Gray Headed Barbet | Source

Birding at Bandhavgrh

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Bandhavgarh Important Bird Checklist

  • Brown Shrike
  • Chestnut tailed starling,
  • Yellow Legged Green Pigeon
  • Indian Silverbill
  • Bay Backed Shrike
  • Wryneck
  • Gray headed fish Eagle,
  • Pallas's Fish Eagle
  • Short Toed Eagle
  • Common Iora
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Lesser Adjutant Stork
  • Sirkeer Malkoha
  • Tawny Babbler
  • Puff Throated Babbler
  • Tree Pipit
  • Olive Backed Pipit
  • Black Headed Oriole
  • Golden Oriole
  • Lesser White Throat
  • Bronze Winged Jacana
  • Lesser Whistling Teal
  • Grey Nightjar
  • Eurasian Coot
  • Paddy Field Pipit
  • Richard's Pipit
  • Tawny Pipit
  • Long Billed Pipit
  • Barn Swallow
  • Streak Throated Swallow
  • Dusky Crag Martin
  • Red Rumped Swallow
  • Asian Palm Swift
  • Wire Tailed Swallow
  • Crested Tree Swift
  • Osprey
  • Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
  • Rufous Tailed Lark
  • Singing Bushlark
  • Indian Bushlark
  • Black Winged Kite
  • Magpie Robin
  • Verditor Flycatcher
  • Black Naped Monarch
  • Black Lored Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Black Redstart
  • Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher
  • Red Throated Flycatcher
  • Blue Throated
  • White Rumped Shama
  • Blyth's Leaf Warbler
  • Blyth's Reed Warbler
  • Comb Duck
  • Black Rumped Flameback
  • Rufous Woodpecker
  • Indian Nightjar
  • Brown Crowned Pygmy Woodpecker
  • White Naped Woodpecker
  • Yellow Crowned Woodpecker
  • Scaly Breasted Munia
  • Red Avadavat
  • White Backed Munia
  • Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
  • Bronze Winged Dove
  • Chestnut Shouldered Petronia
  • Plum Headed Parakeet
  • Alexandrine Parakeet
  • Wooly Necked Stork
  • Purple Moorhern
  • Common Woodshrike
  • Blue Winged Leaf Bird
  • King Vulture
  • Long Billed Vulture
  • White Backed Vulture
  • Hen Harrier
  • Pied Harrier
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Crested Hawk Eagle
  • Common Kestral
  • White Eyed Buzzard
  • White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
  • Blue Bearded Bee Eater
  • Chestnut Headed Bee eater
  • Jungle Myna
  • Common Teal
  • Redcrested Pochard
  • Common Pochard
  • Comb Duck
  • Cotton Teal
  • Rosy Pastor
  • Pied Starling
  • Barhminy Starling
  • Ashy Prinia
  • Plain Prinia
  • Common Tailor Bird
  • Common Stone Chat
  • Pied Bushchat
  • Hoopoe
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Yellow Wattled Lapwing
  • Gold Fronted Chloropsis
  • Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
  • Oriental Turtledove
  • Jungle Babbler
  • Indian Scimitar Babbler
  • Jungle Bush Quail
  • Barred Button Quail
  • Gray Francolin
  • Painted Francolin
  • Peacock
  • Red Jungle Fowl
  • Painted Spurfowl
  • Red Spurfowl
  • Pale Billed Flower Pecker
  • Thick Billed Flower Pecker
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Purple Sunbird
  • Common Hawk Cuckoo
  • Grey Bellied Cuckoo
  • Indian Hawk Cuckoo
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
  • Emerald Dove
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Indian Scops Owl
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Racket Tailed Drongo
  • Spangled Drongo
  • White Bellied Drongo
  • Great Egret
  • Coppersmith Barbet
  • Cotton Pygmy Goose
  • Grey Lag Geese (Rare)
  • Sarus Crane
  • Grey Hornbill
  • Hume's Warbler
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Painted Snipe
  • Common Snipe
  • Common Chiff Chaff
  • Brown Fish Owl
  • Spotted Owlet
  • Brown Hawk Owl
  • Barred Jungle Owlet
  • Mottled Wood Owl
  • Brahminy Duck
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Greenshank
  • Common Redshank
  • Spotted Redshank
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Temminck's Stint
  • White Throated Kingfisher
  • Stork Billed Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Black Naped Monarch
  • Verditor Flycatcher
  • White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
  • Short Eared Owl
  • Eurasian Thicknee
  • Savanna Nightjar
  • Grey Headed Barbett Barn Owl
  • Blue Capped Rock Thrush
  • Orange Headed Rock Thrush
  • Blue Rock Thrush

The bird list Bandhavgarh contains species found all over the park and outside. This includes birds of Muchamucha nearby.

Bandhavgarh Birding

Racket Tailed Drongo

Magpie Robin

Magpie Robin
Magpie Robin | Source

Muchmucha Near Bandhavgarh

Muchmucha is a village on the periphery of Bandhavgarh National Park. The old hunting lodge acts as a landmark of this place. It is situated about forty km from Tala Gate. The destination is rich in forests besides scrub, open fields and small wetlands.

This is an ideal place for birding due to mixed habitat types near to each other. Accommodation in Bandhavgarh at Muchmucha is provided by the old hunting lodge.

Many interesting birds are seen here besides wild animals like Nilgai, Spotted Deer, Chinkara, Fox and even big cats.

Watching Raptors at BTR


Baya Weaver Male Bird
Baya Weaver Male Bird | Source

Bandhavgarh Expeditions

The best season to watch birds in this little preserve is during the winters as numbers are augmented by visitor species. For resident birding early summers offers lot of sights. This is due to the canopy being thin.

Normally the trips are of three nights but sometimes longer. The photographers and professional birders prefer a long stay. Your trips should include the core as well as the outer areas like Muchmucha. Look for a good naturalists and guide for better sightings and identification. The guides know about the ideal location of the species.

Many good hotels in Bandhavgarh offer services of experienced guides. These accommodations charge you for this service if they call one from outside. But most resorts have resident naturalists who are of immense help.

Crested Hawk Eagle

Crested Hawk Eagle at Bandhavgarh
Crested Hawk Eagle at Bandhavgarh | Source

Gray Bellied Cuckoo

Gray Bellied Cuckoo
Gray Bellied Cuckoo | Source

Bandhavgarh Location

The park is located in Umaria District of Madhya Pradesh a state of India. The nearest rail head is at Umaria township which is connected with Delhi by an overnight train. The nearest airport is Jabalpur which is connected to Mumbai as well as New Delhi.

From Umaria, BTR (Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve) is about 32 km while it is 175 km from Jabalpur. Another rail head which is nearby is the Katni Town which is about 112 km from the National Park.

Painted Stork

Painted Stork
Painted Stork | Source

Sarus Crane

Sarus Crane
Sarus Crane | Source

Map of Bandhavgarh

Bandhavgarh National Park:
Bandhavgarh National Park, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh 484661, India

get directions

© 2012 Uday Patel


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