Saturday, May 4, 2013

Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Okhla Bird Sanctuary
A group of Flamingos huddle together 
Buoyed by my visit to the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary during the last week of February (as detailed in my previous blog), my legs were itching to visit the other main winter birding site near Delhi i.e. Okhla Bird Sanctuary.  As I was still tied up with my office work, I got the opportunity to visit this pristine destination in the second week of March and I was quite apprehensive about seeing any of the migratory birds, as the weather had turned a wee bit warmer.  However, armed with my camera I decided to visit the destination with my driver and a friend. 
Grooming session in progress
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is situated in Gautam Budh Nagar in the middle of the Okhla Vihar and Barrage upon the river Yamuna in New Delhi. In order to conserve the numerous resident and migratory birds that are found here and also keeping in view the tourist inflow, this area was declared as Okhla Bird Sanctuary in 1990. Towards the south of this sanctuary we find Kalandi Kunj which is another picnic spot.  We made our way from Dwarka towards NOIDA by the DND flyover and before entering NOIDA, we took the turn heading towards Mayur Vihar Phase-III.  As soon as you get down from the flyover, where the road meets the main road coming from NOIDA towards Mayur Vihar/Akshardham temple, one has to take a left turn heading upwards and again turn further left till you reach the main gate of the Sanctuary, which is about 1.5 Kms. from the main road.  We took the wrong turn towards the right and ended up at a road end, where I found a pair of monkeys grooming each other and then asked the guard about the directions and headed towards the Sanctuary.
A Black Kite 

A Purple sunbird 

Red Vented Bulbul

Black Kite in flight

The sanctuary came about into existence with the construction of the Okhla Barrage way back in the late 1950s and 1960s and is right on the Yamuna River between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh at the south-eastern end of Delhi on one side and the western boundary of NOIDA. With Yamuna River being on the route of Migratory Birds and providing large space with suitable habitat on its both banks and suitable food in plenty, the birds had been using this area as a staging post for their migration both ways during the winter.  Over Three hundred species of birds (out of about 450 species recorded for Delhi and around Delhi) can be spotted here. The spot is good for birding throughout the year, though best season is during September-March for Winter Migratory Birds.  Amongst these, around more than 50% are migratory birds coming from Tibet, Europe and Siberia that come here for their winter migration. With the onset of the winter season in November, the arrival of migratory birds starts and with the onset of the summers around March, those visitors start flying back to their own land.   The migratory birds visiting the sanctuary during the winters are - the Northern Shoveller (Anas Clypeata) and Gadwall (Anas strepera). The Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Ruddy Shelduck (Tadors ferruginea), the rare migratory birds like the Garganey (Anas querquedula), Common Shelduck (Tadora tadorna), Comb Duck (Sarkiodiornis melantos) are also seen occasionally. Other common species include the Common Teal (Anas crecca), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Greylag Goose (Anser anser) and the Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus). The resident Spot billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha) is abundant. There are several other bird species like Mynas, Drongos, Babblers, Francolins, Peafowl, Bee eaters etc. are also seen commonly along the bund.
Spot billed duck

Common Moorhen


Cormorant sunbathing

A Lapwing nest

Northern Pintails

Northern Pintails

Brown headed Gull

The entry to this place opens at 7 am and one can drive their own car right till the last point on the mud trail near the watch towers. Apart from some morning walkers, only serious bird-watchers frequent this place.

Entry & camera charges:
For Car/Jeep - Rs.100/-
For still camera - Rs.30/-
I am enclosing a sample of the scanned copy of the booklet issued at the entry gate, listing the details of the birds and fee etc.
The outer cover

Inside cover

The second page

Inside back cover
 © S Roy Biswas (all rights reserved)


  1. Hi Thanks for sharing lots of information on tourist destinations. I like your photos I am also planning to start a blog on travel for helping other travelers by providing information they are seeking. It will we different than indiamike from where i got your website link.
    If you can help me that will great.

  2. Thanks Mr. Roy Biswas for your detail information and it will help visitors to plan the trip.

  3. Nice post. I really liked your pictures. Thanks for sharing. The land of Taj Mahal and aromatic spices, an exciting blend of colours and cultures, a melange of arts and a sanctuary of technology, and richly flavoured to the very last drop, India holds out millions of mysteries for the curious traveller. Come, find your own adventure! Check out all bird sanctuaries in India also.