Wayanad is stunningly beautiful with natural surroundings and waterfalls A thick virgin forest covered in mist, Wayanad has among the most spectacular landscapes that you can imagine. But, that is just one side of it; this little patch of paradise is home to exotic wildlife. It promises to give tourists an experience to remember. Many of the nature resorts in Wayanad offer birding tours that provide birdwatchers unique chances to spot birds in their natural habitat.
Bird watchers, in particular, can expect a trip to Wayanad to be memorable. The dense forests of Wayanad give shelter to over 300 species of birds, both indigenous and migratory. There is never a dull moment here for birding enthusiasts. There is always a flutter of brightly coloured wings and high-pitched calls and melodious whistles to push the adrenalin a notch higher, among birdwatching enthusiasts. Even those who have never indulged in birding are sure to love the whole new experience.
Birding Tour in Wayanad
Your holidays in Wayanad can be a pleasant break from the drudgery of work. What can you expect to see? Well, the native birds that will put on a spectacular show for you include the orange and black flycatcher and the Nilgiri flycatcher. You will also find the Nilgiri wood pigeon and the Nilgiri pipit perched in the canopy of the dense forest. Black-chinned laughing thrush and the rare Wayanad laughing thrush, as well as the white-bellied shortwing, are some of the other birds that reside here. There is no dearth of exotic birds in Wayanad because, on a lucky day, you can spot the steppe buzzard, chestnut-tailed Starling, blue-bearded bee-eater, blue- eared kingfisher and the oriental dwarf kingfisher, the white-bellied woodpecker, Malabar grey hornbill, the brown wood owl, black baza and the Malabar lark. Tytler’s leaf warbler and Bonelli’s eagle and the bush quail are also easy to spot.
This is not an exhaustive list of birds that you will spot here. There are a lot more birds to see in Wayanad. So, get your binoculars ready, as we walk you through some of the better known bird-watching sites in Wayanad, where you can spot the most beautiful winged creatures.
Kuruva Island is a 950-acre stretch of uninhabited dense forest. The island is a delta on the Kabani River. It is an ideal destination in Kerala for birding, and as you traverse deep into the forest for your birdwatching escapade, take time to admire the wild orchids blooms and exotic butterflies flapping around.
It is a protected area and entry is restricted – to enter you will need the permission of the Vana Samrakshana Samiti, under the aegis of the Forest Dept. Visitors are allowed only between October and May, and entry is restricted during the other months. A nominal fee is charged per person. Birds that you will find here are the pond heron, ducks, egrets, cormorants and parakeets etc. Other activities to enjoy on the island include bamboo river rafting and trekking through the forest.
Pakshipathalam is another restricted area under the jurisdiction of the Forest Dept. You can enter the protected area, after permission from the department, and on paying an entrance fee. Check if visitors are being allowed before you arrive. There can be restrictions in place, due to inclement weather or forest fires etc.
Pakshipathalam nestles deep in the Western Ghats, in the forests of the Brahmagiri Hills. You will need to trek approximately eight kilometres, to reach the remarkable bird sanctuary. Dress in, appropriate attire for the long trek, and carry water and something to munch.
On the way, you will cross many natural rock caves that have existed since centuries. A lot of folklore surrounds these natural phenomenons. The diverse species of rare and exotic migratory birds in the sanctuary satisfies every dream of every bird watcher. You may also spot wild elephants and other animals, on your way up.
Meppadi serves two purposes, while birdwatching remains the primary objective, the breathtaking scenic vistas come as a bonus. Sprawling views of coffee and tea plantations, covered in mist, are a sight to behold. Meppadi is roughly at a 10-kilometre distance from Kalpetta in Wayanad district. Bird watchers can combine a trip here with other attractions in the region, mainly Chembra peak and the Soochipara and Meenmutty waterfalls.
Guided Bird watching in Abad Brookside Lakkidi
Book your stay in Wayanad at the Abad Brookside Lakkidi, and you can avail of a guided bird watching tour around the area. The resort is one of the prime properties of Abad Hotels & Resorts. This property has a 2 km off-road track from the main highway with dense forest on either side. It offers a comfortable stay with modern amenities. The resort stands in the lap of nature, right in the midst of a dense forest. The place is home to a variety of exotic birds. You will wake up to the melodious calls of birds – what a fantastic way to start your day, right!
The Abad Brookside Lakkidi is in the Western Ghats and an ideal location for bird watching. Guests at the Abad Brookside can heighten their experience by going on a guided bird watching tour. The advantage with a guided bird watching tour is that the accompanying guide is a local and well-versed with the surroundings. The tour guides at Brookside are experts and familiar with the various aspects of not just bird-watching, but also the forest. They know the best places for birdwatching, they are knowledgeable about different bird species and can recognise the birds by their calls, which helps visitors identify the birds. The guides also know about the wild plants and herbs that grow in the region. They are a walking-talking version of a mini-encyclopedia. They will educate you on special herbs and plant species, show you exotic orchids and ferns and point out elusive animals perched atop trees. Nothing misses these keen-eyed guides. They can identify animals by the rustling sounds of the branches – look up to find a flying fox or a lion-tailed macaque sitting on a branch.
A lot of rare birds nest in the trees surrounding the Brookside property. However, as you venture a little further with the guide, you will spot some more birds.
Birders’ spot- Parisons Plantation Resort
Exquisitely built in 4000 acres of lush tea plantations, Parisons Plantation Resorts in Wayanad by Abad is another ideal option for those who are planning a few days stay in Wayanad to enjoy its scenic beauty and natural wonders. With a 200-years-old history, this tea plantation bungalow stands at 3,000 ft elevation and includes two heritage bungalows- Boutique bungalow and Heritage Bungalow. The two elegant bungalows hold a perfect balance between old-world charm and the latest amenities. Also, the impeccably roomy cottages with wrap-around verandahs, luxurious bedrooms, impressive ambience, and enchanting outdoor make every visitor captivating and exciting. A visit to Parisons tea plantation resort will definitely help you enjoy a morning walk through tea plantations, tea factory visit, tea tasting tour, bird watching, planters’ club activities such as billiards, tennis etc.
Since Wayanad is home to more than 300+ species of resident and migratory birds, you can watch here a lot of endangered species of birds as well. The wide range of bird species you may find includes Nilgiri pipit, white-bellied shortwing, black-chinned laughing thrush, black and orange flycatcher, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and more.
Serious birders can spot an extensive range of birds at the major tourist destinations such as Pakshipathalam, Kuruva Island, Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary, etc. The best time for bird watching in Wayanad forest is during the spring or fall migrations when various species of birds can be seen.