Kachchh is a well-known destination for birding. It gets its name from Kachua or Kachbo, which means a tortoise. Kachchh, is composed of two major areas, Great Rann of Kachchh (GRK) and Little Rann of Kachchh (LRK).
It also includes part of the finest grassland of Asia called “Banni”. The Kachchh area supports around 370 species of birds, both resident and migratory.
Kachchh district is part of Gujarat state.
How to reach Kachchh?
Bhuj is the administrative center of Kachchh and is well connected via rail, road and air. There are daily flights to Bhuj from Mumbai.
Rail travel is affordable and comfortable. Bhuj is connected to all major cities of India by rail. One can take Kachchh express (Train no. 19131/19132) from Mumbai.
It is well connected by road with the rest of Gujarat. State transport vehicles, private buses and taxis are easily available.
Fauna at Kachchh
Kachchh area is rich in raptors, waterfowls, waders and larks.
Specialties include Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Sykes’s Nightjar, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Merlin, MacQueen’s and Indian Bustards etc. One can also spot large number of Common Cranes, hundreds of Steppe Eagle; Marsh,Pallid and Montague’s Harriers, Long-legged Buzzards, Sandgrouse, Pelicans and big flocks of Greater Short-toed Larks.
White-naped Tit, White bellied Minivet, Black Francolin, Painted Sandgrous, House Bunting, Indian Bustard are easily seen throughout the year.
Passage migratory birds
Passage migratory birds are seen from August to October. During this season Spotted flycatcher, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, European roller, European nightjar, Rufous-tailed scrub Robin, Red-backed Shrike, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian cuckoo are seen.
November to February is the best time to observe the winter visitor birds. Grey Hypocolius, Sociable Lapwing, Long-legged buzzard, Imperial eagle, Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert Warbler, Crab plover, Great Knot are seen.
Places to visit in Kachchh
One can visit various ecologically rich wildlife conservation areas of Kachchh district from Bhuj city. They include…
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary was declared so from 1972. It covers an area of over 4954 sq km and is one of the largest sanctuaries in India .The fauna includes Bluebulls (Nilgai), rabbit, wolf, Indian fox, jackal, hyena, wild hog, desert feline etc. It is also home to birds like pallid harrier, kite, pelican, herons, spoonbill, flamingoes, cranes etc. The best time to visit is from November to February.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
Kutch desert wildlife sanctuary is situated in the Great Rann of Kutch, Kutch district, Gujarat, India. It was declared a sanctuary in February 1986. It is famous for being home to the colorful flamingos in large numbers.
The Great Indian Bustard, Stoliczka’s Bushchat , painted sandgrouse, larks, tits, raptors, steppe eagle, tawny eagles and various water-fowls can be seen here.
Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary is a unique eco-system near Narayan Sarovar in the Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district in the state of Gujarat, India. The desert forest in this sanctuary is said to be the only one of its kind in India. It has 15 threatened wildlife species. It has some rare animals and birds, and rare flowering plants.
It harbours three types of Great Indian bustards and lesser florican. It is also habitat for the black partridge. Other abundantly found species are Grey francolin, Eurasian collared dove, Laughing dove, Indian robin, Red-vented bulbul, Common babbler, House sparrow and plain munia. Greater short-toed lark (Calandrella brachydactyla) is the common migratory bird seen here in large numbers.
The birds sighted less frequently are Ortolan bunting, desert warbler, pied tit, Sirkeer malkoha, Eurasian wryneck and Yellow-crowned woodpecker.
Banni Grasslands Reserve
The grasslands are home to nilgai, chinkara blackbuck , wild boar, golden jackal, Indian hare, Indian wolf, caracal, Asiatic wildcat and desert fox etc.
Banni grasslands also have a rich diversity of avifauna, herpatofauna and invertebrates. The seasonal water bodies of Banni form important staging grounds for thousands of flamingos during good rainfall. Migratory cranes and a large number of other migratory and resident birds of over 150 species are seen here.
Chari-Dhand Wetland Conservation Reserve
Thousands of flamingos in their mating plumage, Common cranes and other wetland birds including hundreds of Painted storks and Spoonbills can be spotted here.
Rakhal means a reserve. There were several reserves with the erstwhile State of Kutch. Chavda Rakhal is about 25 kms west of Bhuj, covering an area of 13000 acres and the core area, which has a lake in 150 acres, continues to be with the Maharao of Kachchh. One can expect about 200 crocodiles in the lake even today!
Other areas of interest for visitors to Kachchh would be
- Samatra Lake
- Makanpar Dhosa Lake
- Ratnal Lake
- Ningad Lake
- Kukma Lake
Dear friends, if you need further details of these areas feel free to write to us in the comments section. We would definitely get back to you with necessary information.
We thank Mr. Mahesh Parmar and Mr. Vikramsinh Sodha for valuable inputs to compile the above information.
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