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Bird Watching in Kanha

Bird watching in India is a completely satisfying and exhilarating experience. One can see the birds in their natural habitat, mingling easily amongst themselves. Kanha National Park at Central India is spread over Satpura Hills known for belt of dense evergreen green forest. Kanha was the setting for Rudyard Kipling classic novel, "The Jungle Book". Kanha Forest is extremely rich in wildlife. It has vast meadows - known as 'maidans' or 'dadars' in local language and bounded by spurs of the crescentic Satpura-Maikal Ridge on the southern rim. Forest supports large herds of deer that have earned Kanha the nick-name "the N'Gorongoro of India". Kanha National Park was established in 1955 to protect the endangered 'hardground' Swamp Deer (Barasingha), but in fact boasts a superb variety of other deer and large mammals including Sambar, Chital (Spotted Deer), Indian Wild Dog (Dholes), Indian Muntjac, the immense Asiatic Gaur (Bison), Golden Jackal, Bengal Fox, Black-faced Langur, Wild Boar - and of course all time favorite, Tiger! Tiger sighting in wilderness is always a matter luck. With very good luck, we may encounter some of the park's rarer and less frequently seen mammals, too; possibilities include Leopard, Jungle Cat, Dhole (Indian Wild Dog), Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Indian Indian Pangolin and the Chousingha or Four-horned Antelope, Crested Porcupine.

Kanha Park is a terrific spot for birds and we should encounter more than a 120 bird species during our stay in the park. Dandy Red Junglefowl and Indian Peafowl strut their immaculate stuff and the many other species to watch for include Alexandrine and Plum-headed Parakeets, Woolly-necked and Black Storks, Lesser Whistling-duck, Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Red-wattled Lapwings, Oriental Turtle, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Common Hawk-cuckoo, Greater Coucal, Jungle and Spotted Owlets, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, Common Hoopoe, Indian Grey Hornbill and Brown-headed and Coppersmith Barbets.

During winter season at Kanha forest, numerous passerines are present here. Small Minivet, Common Iora, Brown and Long-tailed Shrikes, Red-breasted and Taiga Flycatchers, White-rumped Shama, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Common Tailorbird, various prinias, Greenish and Hume's Leaf Warblers, White-browed Wagtail, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Purple Sunbird, Common Rosefinch, Asian Pied and Brahminy Starlings, Black-hooded Oriole, Black and White-bellied Drongos, Paddyfield Pipit, the outrageous Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Rufous Treepie and Large-billed Crow feature among a long list of species we could see. As the day begins to warm we should also be treated to a good variety of birds of prey, from Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-winged Kite, White-eyed Buzzard and Shikra to the impressive Crested Serpent Eagle and Crested Hawk-eagle. Formerly abundant, numbers of vultures have, however plummeted in India over the past decade. Among other scarce or more elusive birds to watch for at Kanha are the likes of Lesser Red Spurfowl, Black-rumped Flameback, Greater Painted-snipe, Brown Fish Owl, Adjutant, Crested Treeswift, Streak-throated and White-naped Woodpeckers, Large and Black-headed Cuckooshrikes, Black Ibis, Gold-fronted and Jerdon's Leafbirds (the latter now treated as distinct from Blue-winged), Indian Scimitar Babbler, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia and Chestnut-tailed Starling.

When we arrive at Kanha Museum during break at Morning Game Drive, we may notice number of Wild Crows gathered around safari jeeps. Close to Kanha Museum, we may find some rare species of vultures also in open lands. White necked Vultures, Red headed vultures are some of the endangered species of vultures seen in the tiger reserve but not often now. So if we will be able to do their sighting, feel lucky and fortunate. They are dis-appearing slowly.

Bird watching at Kanha National Park is always a stress relieving and enthusiastic tour that demands patience and sharp eye with high-range good quality camera filled with enough memory to store the birding treasure of park.


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