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Avian Wonders Of Panna: A Birdwatcher's Paradise

by Nimisha Tewari 08 Apr 2024

Panna National Park, situated in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, India, is renowned for its rich biodiversity, encompassing diverse habitats ranging from dense forests to open grasslands. While the park is famous for its tiger population and other wildlife, it is also a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts. Let's delve into the avian wonders of Panna National Park in detail:

Rich Avian Diversity:

Panna National Park is home to a remarkable diversity of bird species, with over 200 recorded bird species inhabiting its varied ecosystems. These include resident species, migratory birds and rare and endangered avian species.

Iconic Bird Species:

  1. Indian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi): Known for its stunning plumage and graceful flight, the Indian Paradise Flycatcher is a highlight among birdwatchers in Panna. It can be spotted flitting among the forest canopy, displaying its long, flowing tail feathers. 

  2. Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela): A majestic raptor often seen soaring high above the treetops, the Crested Serpent Eagle is a common sight in Panna National Park. It preys on snakes and other small mammals and is known for its piercing gaze. 

  3. Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala): The wetlands and water bodies of Panna provide habitat for a variety of water birds, including the striking Painted Stork. These large wading birds with their colorful plumage and distinctive bills are a treat to observe during the breeding season. 

  4. Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus): Panna National Park is also important for the conservation of critically endangered species such as the Indian Vulture. Efforts to conserve vulture populations in the park have been successful, making sightings of these majestic birds a rare but rewarding experience. 

Birding Hotspots:

  1. Ken River: The Ken River, which flows through Panna National Park, is a lifeline for both wildlife and bird species. Birdwatchers can explore the riverbanks and surrounding forests for sightings of water birds, raptors and forest-dwelling species. 

  2. Grasslands and Open Areas: The grasslands and open areas of Panna National Park are home to a variety of ground-dwelling birds, including larks, pipits and wheatears. These areas offer excellent opportunities for observing grassland species and bird behavior. 

  3. Wooded Areas and Forest Trails: The wooded areas and forest trails of Panna are ideal for spotting canopy-dwelling species such as woodpeckers, barbets and flycatchers. Birdwatchers can explore these trails on foot or by jeep safari for a chance to encounter a diverse range of forest birds. 

Best Time for Birdwatching:

The best time for birdwatching in Panna National Park is during the winter months (November to February) when migratory bird species visit the park in large numbers. The pleasant weather and reduced foliage make it easier to spot birds, and the park comes alive with bird calls and activity.

Guided Birdwatching Tours:

For an enriching birdwatching experience, visitors can opt for guided birdwatching tours offered by experienced naturalists and local guides. These tours provide valuable insights into bird behavior, identification techniques and the natural history of Panna National Park.

Conservation Efforts:

Panna National Park is actively involved in conservation efforts aimed at protecting its avian biodiversity. These efforts include habitat restoration, anti-poaching measures, community engagement initiatives and research and monitoring programs to ensure the long-term survival of bird species in the park.


Panna National Park offers a treasure trove of avian wonders waiting to be discovered. Whether you're a seasoned birder or a nature enthusiast, exploring the park's diverse habitats is sure to leave you spellbound by the beauty and diversity of its feathered inhabitants.

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