Birdwatching in Bharatpur

Bharatpur is home to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park). Established in 1956, this 29 sq. km. of marshland is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world with over 360 species of birds. It was once the private shooting reserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur, but is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Park is particularly spectacular at sunrise and sunset, and this is undoubtedly the best time for game-viewing. The monsoons in July bring spectacular changes in the park. All of a sudden, the area is full of thousands of birds, humming with nesting activity. The abundance of fish attracts many resident species of birds which breed during the monsoon. The heronry in the park consists of several species of birds: Painted Stork, Openbill Stork, White Ibis, Large Cormorant, Indian Shag, Little Cormorant, Darter, Large Egret, Median Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron and Night Heron.

By the end of October, the Park's scenario changes from resident herons and storks to migratory Ducks, Geese and Crane. Now, every part of the lake is inhabited by winter water fowl. Migration starts as early as August. The first ones to arrive are small flocks of Garganeys, Coots, Snipes and Sandpipers followed closely by common Teals. By September, Pintails, Green Shanks, Water Rails, Warblers and Wagtails arrive in thousands. Spanish Sparrows come by the middle of September and October records the arrival of Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Rosy Pastors, Ruddy Shelduck, Greylag Geese, Bar-headed Geese, Gadwalls, and Mallards and with them the birds of prey. This is also the time for rosy Pelicans and Flamingoes.

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