More popularly known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad is home to over 320 species of birds and is undeniably the most famous bird sanctuary of India. The Sanctuary is situated in the Indian state of Kerala, near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district at the foothills of the Western Ghats. It covers an area of 25 sq kilometers north of the Peryiar River. Its founder Dr Salim Ali, India's most well known ornithologist described the sanctuary as “the richest bird habitat on peninsular India”. It was notified as a sanctuary in the year 1983 and remains as the one and only bird sanctuary in Kerala. Though much of the forest have been reduced for cultivation once can still feel the phenomenal bird diversity that once thrived here.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is covered with tropical evergreen forests, tropical semi-evergreen forests and tropical deciduous forests. The Sanctuary is a good place to reconnect with nature for its tranquil atmosphere and the gentle song of the birds.
Avifuana: Thettekkad is a haven for bird lovers. The Sanctruray is best explored on an elephant safari though there are jeeps safaris also available on hire.
Today there are around 320 species of birds such as Indian Roller, Cuckoo, Common snipe, Crow pheasant, Jungle Nightjar, Kite, Grey Drongo, Malabar Trogon, Woodpecker, Large pied wagtail, Baya sparrow, Grey jungle fowl, Indian hill myna, Robin, Jungle babbler and darter. Some of the rarer birds found are crimson-throated Barbet, Bee-eater, Sun bird, Shrike, Fairy blue bird, Grey-headed fishing eagle, Blackwinged kite, Night heron, Grey heron, Common Grey Hornbill and Malabar Hornbill.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is also inhabited by 28 varieties of animals and nine varieties of reptiles including elephant, leopard, sloth bear and porcupine, python and cobra.
When To Go: Avoid going to Thattekad during the monsoon. The best time to visit is between September and March.
How To Get There: Thattekad is located 53 kms northeast of Kochi. The nearest town is Kothamangalam (13 kms). The National Highway 49 passes through Kothamanagalam, from where you have to take a turn off on the Pooyamkutti road. The nearest railway station is Aluva at a distance of 48 kms. Kochi International Airport is approximately 60 kms away.
Where To Stay: There are plenty of stay options at Thattekad. There is a one three storied watch tower inside the sanctuary and a Forest Department inspection bungalow called Hornbill near the entrance. For large groups, there is a dormitory just inside the sanctuary. Otherwise, there is a PWD rest house near the Bhoothathankett Dam and numerous lodges in Kothamangalam.