Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Travel Guide

Introduction to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, which is in the state of Rajasthan, is well known for its enormous concentration of non-migratory resident breeding birds and serves as an important wintering habitat for Palaearctic migratory birds especially ducks. Amid this patchwork of grasslands, forests, woodland swamps, and wetlands totaling just 2,873 hectares (29 sq km), a green nature oasis located in a populous human-dominated terrain, approximately 370 bird species and a rich variety of other life forms have been recorded. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also known by Keolado national Park or Ghana National Park.

At the end of the 19th century, a natural depression marsh that was controlled as a duck shooting reserve was transformed into this “Bird Paradise.” While hunting has ended and the region was designated as a national park in 1982, it nevertheless depends on a controlled water supply from a reservoir beyond the park’s boundaries to remain in existence. Diverse avifaunal species use the areas of different water depths that the park’s well-designed system of bunds (dykes) and sluices (a type of gate to control the water supply) affords.

Large flocks of ducks, geese, coots, pelicans, and waders migrate to the area in the winter because of its strategic location in the middle of the Central Asian migratory flyway and the existence of water. The park is home to several highly endangered species like the Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle. The most impressive heronry in the area is formed during the breeding season from July to September by 15 species of birds like Herons, Ibis, Cormorants, Spoonbills, and Storks, where in a year with adequate flooding, more than 20,000 birds lay their eggs.

Facts about Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur National Park as World Heritage Site

Sites must be of exceptional global importance and satisfy at least one of the ten selection criteria in order to be listed on the World Heritage List. The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, in addition to the text of the convention, serves as the primary working document on world heritage and explains these criteria. The committee routinely updates the requirements to reflect changes to the World Heritage designation itself.

India’s Rajasthan literally gets its name from being the former residence of the nation’s kings. The establishment of Rajasthan’s World Heritage Sites was influenced by the regal legacy that the nation experienced during the Rajput and Mughal eras. There are still numerous Royal Rajput and Mughal historical sites in the city. Because of their unparalleled beauty and grandeur, UNESCO has designated some of these places as World Heritage Sites in Rajasthan. Rajasthan attracts huge numbers of tourists in addition to its vibrant and rich culture because of its magnificent forts and wildlife reserves.

Following the description that the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a Habitat of rare and endangered species, the UNESCO convention for listing goes on to outline the criteria used to choose Keoladeo Ghana National Park as a World Heritage Site under Natural Criteria iv of Operational Guidelines 2002. The park is a wetland that is crucial for migratory ducks on a global scale. It serves as the wintering habitat for the endangered Siberian crane which used to visit Bharatpur, lastly seen on 2002 and as a haven for other resident nesting bird species. The park is covered by Criteria (x), which states that in order for a site to be designated as a World Heritage site, it must “to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-site conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.”

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Flora of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

A stunning oasis of peace between the normally congested gateways of Agra and Jaipur is the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary’s flowering wonders. Here, there is a semi-arid biotype of forest with substantial vegetation. Given that this area’s forest is a dry deciduous one, there are many medium-sized trees and bushes across the area.

A significant amount of the park’s northeastern area is covered in Kadam, Jamun, and Babul trees. The park’s forests are mostly Babul, with a tiny amount of Kandi and Ber. In the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary’s forest, only Pilu (Salvadora persica) grows as a hardwood species. The park’s abundant aquatic vegetation meets the needs of the ducks in terms of food.

Avifauna of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the richest bird region in the world. Numerous thousands of birds reside in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. More than 370 species of birds have been recorded in this National park. Migratory birds travel from as far as Central Asia, Siberia, and Central Asia to the refuge to spend the winter before heading back to their various breeding grounds. Pelicans, cranes, ducks, geese, hawks, eagles, stints, shanks, warblers, wagtails, flycatchers, wheatears, larks, buntings, and many more bird species can be seen at the sanctuary. Some of the birds are the local migrant comes in the certain time of the year from different parts of India. Some of them are passage migrant which stays on for some time as the stoppage to travel the other parts.

Resident Birds of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur National Park has water and food availability for the aviafauna throughout the year. Due to which it is good for birding all around the year, there are over 230 species of birds which are resident. Please find below some of the resident bird species of Bharatpur National Park:

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Common NameScientific NameCommon NameScientific Name
Marbled TealMarmaronetta angustirostrisBar-headed GooseAnser indicus
Greater white fronted GooseAnser albifronsGadwallAnas strepera
Falcated TealAnas falcataEurasian WigeonAnas penelope
Northern PintailAnas acutaNorthern ShovelerAnas clypeata
Baikal TealAnas formosaCommon TealAnas crecca
Red-crested PochardNetta rufinaPintail SnipeGallinago stenura
Common SnipeGallinago gallinagoBlack-tailed GodwitLimosa limosa
Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquataSpotted RedshankTringa erythropus
Temmink’s StintCalidris temminckiiCurlew SandpiperCalidris ferruginea
RuffPhilomachus pugnaxSteppe EagleAquila nipalensis
Pintail Snipe
Pintailed Snipe

Local Migrant Birds in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

There are several birds which flies to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary from the neighboring areas in the favorable conditions. During summer when the water is scarce everywhere in Rajasthan, Bharatpur offers a perfect habitat for all the birds. There are several species of birds which comes to Bharatpur National Park fron neighboring areas. Some of the local migrant birds are as bellows.

Common NameScientific NameCommon NameScientific Name
Black-capped KingfisherHalcyon pileataBrown Fish-OwlKetupa zeylonensis
Grey-bellied CuckooCacomantis passerinusBrown Hawk-OwlNinox scutulata
Eurasian Eagle-OwlBubo buboSpotted DoveStreptopelia chinensis
Water RailRallus aquaticusBrown CrakeAmaurornis akool
River TernSterna aurantiaGull-billed TernSterna nilotica
Black-eared KiteMilvus lineatusTawny EagleAquila rapax
Spot-billed PelicanPelecanus philippensisGlossy IbisPlegadis falcinellus
Black BitternDupetor flavicollisPied AvocetRecurvirostra avosetta
Oriental Turtle-DoveStreptopelia orientalisYellow-legged ButtonquailTurnix tanki
Plum-headed ParakeetPsittacula cyanocephalaSmall PratincoleGlareola lactea
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Passage Migrant Birds in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Along with the birds which comes here to spend time in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. There are also few birds which are here for just short period of time. It is a stoppage for some of the birds, those birds are called as passage migrants. Some of the passage migrant birds of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are as bellows:

Common NameScientific NameCommon NameScientific Name
GarganeyAnas querquedulaBlue-cheeked Bee-eaterMerops persicus
Blue-tailed Bee-eaterMerops philippinusEuropean RollerCoracias garrulus
Blue-tailed bee eater

Mammals in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Ghana National Park is home to about 27 species of recognized mammals, with Sambar, Blue Bull, and Spotted deer being the most prevalent. While Indian porcupines and wild boar are regularly found in the park’s grain fields, the two kinds of mongoose—the little Indian mongoose and the common Indian grey mongoose—are far less common.

Even though there are cat and civet species that can be found here, like fishing cats and jungle cats, little Indian civets and Asian palm civets are rarely encountered. The predators in this area that eat rodents and birds are hyenas and jackals. Keoladeo also has a variety of rat species, bat species, gerbil species, and mice.

There have been the movement of Tigers and the Leopards as well. Leopards movement is quite frequent however it is not resident in the area. In early 2000 a Tigress came and made this place as home for several years and died in 2005 of natural causes. In 2010 a male Tiger from Ranthambhore came to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. T-7, a male tiger, left Ranthambore and sought safety in Keoladeo in Bharatpur. On August 20, 2010, a forest ranger named Daulat Singh Shaktawat was attacked by the same tiger outside of Ranthambore National Park. They said that T-7 had travelled via Bharatpur and up to the village of Beri near the Mathura refinery following the attack. After remaining for a while, it returned to Keoladeo. It was tranquillized and moved to Sariska in February 2011.

Types of Safaris in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

In Bharatpur there are many routes which have been made inside the National Par. There is on main track which will straight lead to the center point wher you can take a break for snacks. Along the track from the beginning till the end there are several route which is takes you deep inside the forest and brings back to main track again, it is a circular loop. There are 05 different ways of exploring the Baratpur Bird Sanctuary for birding.

  1. Walking Safari: The path stretches for around 11 km, the first straight path to canteen is around 05 km. Walking safari is the best way to explore the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary looking for diverse species of birds. At least of 04 excursion is needed to explore the same on foot.
  2. Rickshaw Ride: If you are not a good walker then you can also hire a rickshaw to explore the Park. You can ask the rickshaw to stop whenever you want. It is good way to explore the park without getting much tired.
  3. Cycle ride: You can rent a cycle and enjoy the park at your own pace.
  4. Electric Van: You can also explore the park on an electric van, however the number of vans are limited so it will be first come firs service.
  5. Boat Ride:  There is boat ride which is offered to the visitors for 01 hour. The boat ride is not good for the birding aspects it is more of like a joy ride in the lake.

Best Time to Visit Bharatpur National Park

Bharatpur is open all throughout the year, winter is the month where the number of birds will be in thousands. Starting from November till End February is the best time to see huge congregation of migratory birds. Let me brief you about the Bharatpur National Park in different seasons of the year.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Winter (October – March)

Bharatpur’s attractiveness rests in its ability to withstand the harsh winters. Winter typically lasts from October to March, with January being the coldest month. The temperature drops to 10 degrees at night from an average daily high of about 19 degrees Celcius. The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also the greatest place to go at this time to see the lovely migratory birds; it’s a peaceful activity away from the busy city life. You have the option of riding a bicycle or taking a stroll in the sanctuary. If that sounds exhausting, consider taking a rickshaw for longer trips. Remember to pack enough warm clothing to get you through the chilly days and nights.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Summer ( April – June )

During these months the temperature will be very high at some point it reaches to 45 degree Celcius. The water level will be at the lower level. There is around 270 species of resident birds which will be concentrated on these water bodies. Early morning and late evening excursion is recommended in these season.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Monsoon (July – September)

In the months of July, August, and September, you may view the monsoon breeding birds in the park. Painted storks, Black-necked storks, White-necked storks, Spoonbills, Darters, Egrets, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, and Sarus Crane are among the species that can be seen in this area during these months. The temperature varies from 25 degree celcius to 33 degree celcius is a relief from the scorching heat.

Reason to Visit Bharatpur National Park

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for years has been blessed with a wide array of animals and every fauna. The park of 29 square kilometrer boost staggering bird count of around 370 species of indigenous as well as migratory whethers life forms full stop wherever enters the park is welcome with a madly of bird cause and sites of massive conclusion of ducks stocks elegance and many other words gracefully part taking in the feeding frenzy. The top 5 reasons to visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are as below.

European roller birding in india

1. It is a Birds Paradise

First and the foremost reason for visiting Bharatpur National Park is birds. The wetland is home to thousands of birds. Wherever you will look you will find birds in the park. In a single trip you may get the chance to see around 100 or more different species of birds especially if you are travelling in winter.

2. Landscape

A grassland, wetland, woodlands, and scrubland cover around 29 square kilometres in Bharatpur. The Park has the small boulders with greenery filled with the wetlands area around. The word ‘Ghana’ means dense has been received because of the dense vegetation of the park.

3. Cycle, Rickshaw and Boat Ride

Here you will have the opportunity to do the birding on cycle or rickshaws. Inside the park there is several trail which can be explored by these medium. There is also a boat ride inside the park which will allow you to see the birds in eye level.

4. Diversity

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is not only for birds there is a divers variety of mammals and reptiles as well. Jackal, Hyenas, Spotted deer, Sambar, Blue Bull, Jackal, Wild boar are some of the major species of mammal you find here. There is also one of the largest species of snake we fine here, the India Rock Python some time you do see them crossing the tracks.

5. Close to Major Cities

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is just an hour drive from Agra and other close by cities are Jaipur and New Delhi. One can easily do one or two days of birding if you are doing the Golden Triangle tour (New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur).

How to Reach Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

By Air: Agra is the closest airport 55 km from Bharatpur however the flights are not frequent and not well connected. Indira Gandhi International Airport (216 km) and Jaipur airport (187 km) are two other closest airports for travelling to Bharatpur.

By Train:  Bharatpur Junction Railway Station is the closest railway station to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, it is just 05 km away from the park. It is a significant station in the West Central Railway (WCR) zone and has excellent connections to important Indian cities including Delhi, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, and others.

By Road: Bharatpur is connected with all the major cities around the region, below I have mentioned the distance from the close by city to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Do’s and Don’ts at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the important birding area (IBA). It is not only a place for tourist it is also a conservation area for birds and other wildlife. This means that you will have to follow some park rules and the protocol to ensure.

  • You will have to stick to the walking
  • Avoid wearing the colourful cloths, wear the earthy colour cloths
  • Do not get into the water
  • Do not make noise inside the Park
  • Be responsible, Do not litter the Park

Things to Carry during the Birding in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

  • A pair of binocular is must to carry during the trip
  • A bird guide book
  • A note pad
  • A camera to take picture for later identification if the bird is on move
  • Sunscreen if you are travelling in Summer
  • A water bottle

Hotels in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur as being a best destination for birding there are several hotels near to the National Park for the visitors here. Three of the top properties of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are

    1. The Bagh, Bharatpur: The Bagh is a heritage hotels spread over 40 acres of land. The property itself holds the numerous species of birds. There is a hide inside the property wher you can do bird photography during the day.
    2. Birder’s Inn: Birder’s inn is an old-fashion Haveli-type hotel. The charming little lodge, with its well-deserved reputation for friendliness and comfort, is the perfect place for the serious birdwatcher or wildlife enthusiast to stay. The Birder’s Inn provides the best services of its knowledgeable and experienced naturalists and guides to ensure that trips to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park are genuinely rewarding. It is tucked away in calm, tranquil, and pure natural settings.
    3. Laximi Villa Palace: Laxmi Villa Palace is an amazing blend of Heritage hotel with aodern amenities. This property is located in Agra – Jaipur Highway. The heritage hospitality extends beyond the sparsely furnished rooms, vintage furnishings, and period décor. Enjoy a superb lunch that is praised by both domestic and foreign travellers. The best creative styles are also characterised by warmth and a focus on the many intangibles that make up the rich and diverse heritage culture.

Places to Visit Near Bharatpur National Park

Bharatpur is one of the best place to see the Birds in India. As you travel to this place you can add several destinations around the region to see other wildlife or the cultural destination of diverse India. The places close to Bharatpur you can visit are  

  1. Taj Mahal – Agra is 55 km away from the Bharatpur bird Sanctuary which is around 1.5 hrs drive where you can see one of the 07 woders of the world “the Taj Mahal”.
  2. Ranthambhore National Park: India is also known for the highest number of Royal Bengal Tigers in all around the world. Ranthambhore is 240 km, 05 hrs drive from the Park. There with the beautiful landscape of Aravali hills you have a chance to see Tigers.
  3. Jaipur: Jaipur the Pink City is rich in culture and the fort is just 183 km, 3 hrs 30 mins drive from Bharatpur
  4. New Delhi: New Delhi the Capital city, is around 199 km, takes around 04 hrs drive. The impressive Red Fort, built during the Mughal era and a representation of India, and the enormous Jama Masjid mosque, whose courtyard can hold 25,000 people, are both located in Old Delhi, an area that goes back to the 1600s. Chandni Chowk, a bustling bazaar nearby with food carts, candy stores, and spice booths, can be explored.
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