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Pilibhit's Avian Wonders: A Birdwatcher's Paradise

by Nimisha Tewari 06 Jan 2024

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, nestled in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, isn't just a sanctuary for big cats but also a haven for avian enthusiasts. Here's an exploration of why Pilibhit is considered a birdwatcher's paradise.

1. Geographic Location: Pilibhit's strategic location in the Terai region, part of the Indo-Gangetic plains, provides a diverse habitat for a plethora of bird species. Its proximity to the Shivalik range and the presence of water bodies make it an ideal environment for both resident and migratory birds.

2. Varied Habitats: The reserve encompasses a range of habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, riverine belts and dense forests. Each of these habitats attracts a unique set of bird species, contributing to the park's rich avian diversity.

3. Key Bird Species: Pilibhit is home to an impressive array of bird species. Commonly spotted birds include Oriental Pied Hornbill, Painted Stork, Sarus Crane, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Great Slaty Woodpecker and the endangered Swamp Francolin.


4. Water Bodies: Numerous water bodies within the reserve, such as the Sharda Sagar Dam and various lakes, provide essential watering holes for birds. These areas are especially vibrant during the migratory season when a multitude of waterfowl make Pilibhit their temporary home.


5. Migratory Birds: Pilibhit serves as a crucial stopover for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway. Winter sees the arrival of species like the Siberian Crane, various species of ducks and waders, making it an exciting time for birdwatchers.


6. Grassland Species: The extensive grasslands in Pilibhit are inhabited by species adapted to this unique ecosystem. Birds like the Indian Skimmer and the Bengal Florican, a critically endangered species, find refuge in these grassy expanses.


7. Forest Avifauna: The wooded areas of Pilibhit are home to a variety of forest-dwelling birds. From colorful barbets to elusive owls, the forest canopy hides numerous gems for those with a keen eye.


8. Birdwatching Hotspots: Designated birdwatching zones and watchtowers within the reserve provide enthusiasts with vantage points to observe and appreciate the avian diversity. Knowledgeable guides accompany visitors, enhancing the birdwatching experience.

9. Conservation Initiatives: Conservation efforts in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve aren't limited to big cats; they extend to the avian population. Preservation of natural habitats and sustainable management practices contribute to the well-being of both large and small species.

10. Responsible Tourism: Tourism activities in Pilibhit are regulated to minimize disturbance to the wildlife, including birds. This approach ensures that birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of Pilibhit's avian wonders without causing harm to the delicate ecosystem.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of diverse species, including a remarkable avian population. Birdwatchers flock to this sanctuary not only for glimpses of the majestic big cats but also to immerse themselves in the symphony of birdlife that thrives in this unique Terai landscape.

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