Bangalore, The Garden City, is one of the few cosmopolitans that still enjoys the luxury of harbouring some sheltered birdwatching havens, in and around the city. So, gather your binoculars and pay a visit to the birdwatching arenas our city has to offer!
Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
The most centrally located spot for a birdwatcher to make a quick getaway, Lalbagh offers a mix of opulent gardens with exotic flora and wet habitats that attract several birds to its vicinity. Psst – make sure you pick a day during the week and avoid public holidays to dodge the crowds. Settle at a secluded spot and enjoy the peace and quiet while you keep a keen eye out for a variety of striking birds and even some colourful butterflies.
What to look out for: Black Pelicans, Purple Herons, Brahminy Kites, and White-Breasted Kingfishers.
Another pick that is not too far from the city centre, is Hebbal Lake, located right beside the flyover. The well-maintained walkway constructed around the lake makes for a serene walkway and good line of sight to spot birds. The best months to visit the lake for the purpose is between September and January.
What to look out for: Kingfishers, Spot Billed Ducks, Spot Billed Pelicans, Grey Herons, Median Egrets, Painted Storks, and Yellow-Tailed Wagtails
Located just a short drive away from Bangalore (approx. 30km/60 mins through the Bangalore – Magadi main road) and located just before the Tippagondanahalli reservoir, Machinabele also has a scenic dam that serves as a visual treat. With ample greenery around the water body, it is no wonder the area has turned into a birdwatcher’s treasure. However, entry into the area is restricted so ensure that you plan in advance and take the necessary permissions from the local authorities.
What to look out for: Rosy Starling, Oriental White Eye, Pied Crested Cuckoo, Indian Silverbills (White throated Munia), Blue-face Malkoha, Scaly Breasted Munia, Tawny, Bellied Babbler, Rufous Treepie, Long Tailed Shrike, White-browned Bulbul, Brahminy Starling, Pied Bushchat, Coppersmith Barbet and Indian Roller.
Bannerghatta National Park
We’re all familiar with this landmark, a close getaway from the city to spot some wildlife. However, the park has also gained a lesser known reputation for the hobby of birdwatching with as many as 150 species of winged wonders! The scrub and forest habitat is perfect for many migrating birds to take refuge and the jungle lodges in the area offer a comfortable stay for birdwatchers to make a fruitful weekend outing. The ‘Alley of Flycatchers’, as it is known, is a must-visit and you will be sure to come back with many additions to your record book.
What to look out for: Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Jungle Owls, Coppersmith Barbets, Oriental White Eyes, and Indian Pond Herons. Keep your fingers crossed and you may even come across the rare and shy, Yellow Throated Bulbul.
Well-done roads and a scenic drive up the hill sets the tone for a wonderful birdwatching experience atop Nandi Hills (approx. 50km/70 mins through the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway). Though, quite a crowded place on the weekends that is not exactly bird friendly, a weekday visit makes it worthwhile. Carry your binoculars and find a cosy spot amongst the many benches and gazebos placed at the numerous viewpoints and you are good to go.
What to look out for: Indian Blue Robins, Booted Warblers, Malabar Whistling Thrushes, and Blue Capped Rock Thrushes, Falcons
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
A fair drive from Bangalore, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuaryis a hotspot for any bird watching enthusiast, as it’s literally a bird watcher’s paradise! Open seven days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm, you can spend an entire day there, gazing at an array of exotic and migratory birds under the cool shade of the trees for Rs.50/adult. You can even enjoy a relaxed boat ride amongst the meandering paths of the lake comprising of six small islands, and spot some massive crocodiles right by your side (not for the weak-hearted).
What to look out for: Pelicans, Painted stork, Asian Openbill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Egret, Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Heron Breed, Great Stone Plover, River Tern, Streak – throated Swallows.