Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary is located in south-west India, in Kerala's Ernakulam District. It is the only bird sanctuary in Kerala
and was set up in 1983. Situated between two branches of the Periyar
River, Thattekad is a hotspot of endemism and is famed for its bird
diversity. The total area under the sanctuary is roughly 25 square
kilometers comprising of undulating terrain with a peak altitude of
488meters. Several marshy areas (called vayals) occur in areas
bordering the Periyar and Idamalayar Rivers. A part of the sanctuary
is submerged by the Bhoothathankettu Irrigation Dam.
in a transition area between the South
Western Ghats moist deciduous forests (IM0150) and
the South Western Ghats montane rain forests (IM0151) bio-geographic zones.
The ecoregion represents the band of moist deciduous forests that
surround the montane evergreen rain forests in the southern part of
the Western Ghats Mountains. In parts, here, the
southwest monsoon rains promote a wet evergreen forest.
Most of the natural vegetation in the ecoregion has been
cleared or converted, and the remaining forests are severely
Champion and Seth (1968) classify
these forests as a Southern Indian Moist Deciduous Forest.
Forest Type includes Tropical Evergreen forests,
Tropical Semi-evergreen forests, Moist Deciduous forests, Riparian
forests, Plantations of Teak, Rosewood,
Mahogany & fruit
These lowland forests are characterized by the following species:
Adina cordifolia, Albizzia odoratissima, Alstonia scholaris,
Bombax ceiba, Canarium strictum, Dalbergia latifolia, Dipterocarpus
indicus, Dysoxylum malabaricum, Eleocarpus tuberculatus, Emblica
officinalis, Grewia tiliaefolia, Holoptelea integrifolia,
Hymenodictyon excelsum, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Lagerstroemia
speciosa, Lannea coromandelica, Machilus macrantha, Miliusa velutina,
Nephelium longata, Palanquium ellipticum, Pterocarpus marsupium,
Schleichera oleosa, Spondias pinnata, Radermachera xylocarpa, Tectona
grandis, Terminalia bellerica, Terminalia paniculata, Terminalia
tomentosa, Toona ciliata, Vitex altissima, Xylia xylocarpa, etc.
The surrounding grasslands consist of Chrysopogon zeylanicus,
Arundinella ciliata, Arundinella tuberculata, Themeda tremula, and Sehima
Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Thattekad's birdlife is rich and varied. Around 250 bird species have
been recorded in the small area and the list keeps growing. 14 of the
regions 20 endemics can be found here. They include: Malabar Grey
Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White-bellied
Nilgiri Flycatcher, Grey-headed Bulbul, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Rufous Babbler, Malabar
Lark and Crimson-backed Sunbird.
Other good birds include Red Spurfowl, White-bellied Woodpecker,
Malabar Trogon, Brown-backed Needletail, Oriental Bay Owl, Sri Lanka
Frogmouth, Black Baza, Malabar Whistling Thrush and Black-throated
presence of extremely capable bird guides makes bird-watching in
Thattekad a rewarding experience. The best-known guide is
K V Eldhose,
a birding legend of Thattekad. That plus the bird-richness of the area
means that a visit here is a great bird-watching experience.
Where to stay
There are several places to stay in and around
Thattekad. There is a Forest Department Inspection Bungalow
beds plus dormitory accommodation for 50. There is also a
three-storied watch tower inside the Sanctuary with two beds. Simple
homestays are available, as are many
luxurious tented facilities. The camps are
outside the sanctuary on the southern side of the river.
Entry and travel
Road: 13kms. from
Kothamangalam via Chelad.
Railway station: Aluva -
Airport: Cochin International Airport - 44kms.
Kochi (Cochin) Airport - 71kms.
Important Facts and figures
Area: 25.16 sq. km
The Asst Wildlife Warden,
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Njayappilli P.O, Kothamangalam
Temperatures: High 32C; Low 20C.
Winter November - February.
Location: Between 10º
7' to 11º N and 76º 40' to 76º
The hill station of Munnar
October to March
Thattekad bird list
Wildventures Thattekad Trip with images March 2006
Wildventures Thattekad Trip with images April 2011
Thattekad Trip Report 2008 by Tabish & Radhika
Szilvia Molnár, Tamás Zalai's Thattekad trip report, Jan 2009 (pdf)
Eldhose Bird Tours
Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregion
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregion
Guide to India by Krys Kazmierczak and Raj Singh
Sumit K Sen