Wildlife in India
India has a unique fauna and excels in the range and diversity of its wildlife. There are over 500 species of mammals, 2,060 species of birds, 748 species of reptiles and 30,000 species of insects. To preserve its unique wildlife, India has created 11 National Parks and 135 Sanctuaries in the country, covering a total area of 26,000 sq. km. So wherever your travels take you, consider sparing a day or two, and, as a minimum, spend one night in one of the wild-life sanctuaries. Best to plan to arrive during the day, go on a safari at dusk, get up early the next day for a dawn safari, and carry on with your travels.

The more well known wild life sanctuaries and National Parks in India include:

Bandhavgarh National Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Chambal Sanctuary, Corbett National Park, Dudhwa National Park, Gir National Park, Kanha National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Namdapha National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Panna National Park, Periyar National Park, Pobitura Wildlife Sanctuary, Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary and, Sunderbans National Park.

Some of the minor bird sanctuaries in India include:

Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary, near Delhi
This 1100 acre sanctuary is a lake with countless islands, some just a few metres across. Expect to see Spot Bill Ducks, Pintails, Common Teals, Purple Moorhens, Coots, Lapwings, Crow-Pheasants, Common Kingfishers, Jungle Babblers, Rosy Pelicans, Cormorants, Darters, Purple Herons, Egrets, White-necked and other Storks, Flamingos, Ibis, Shovellers, Pintails, Demoiselle Cranes, Dabchicks and a host of other birds.

Flamingo Colony, Khavda, Gujarat
It is reputed among the admirers of feathered species as the largest flamingo colony in the world. It receives countless variety of birds from the other corners of the globe. Birds come here to breed and feed before their journey back to a distant land. It is one of the great bird sanctuaries in India and is very attractive and adventurous for all foreign tourists.

Kaundinya Bird Sanctuary, near Chittor, Andhra Pradesh
Covered with rugged high hills and deep valleys, the 385 sq. km Kaundinya Sanctuary offers the best of wildlife and bird watching in India. Two streams, the Kaigal and the Kaundinya flow through the sanctuary, adding to its attraction and beauty. The southern tropical type of forests dots this entire bird sanctuary of India, home to the Cheetal, Four horned Antelope, Sambhar, Mouse Deer, Hare, Porcupine, Wild boar, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Sloth Bear, Panther, Jungle Fowl, Pea Fowls and Elephants.

Kawal Sanctuary, near Mancherial, Andhra Pradesh
Established in 1965, the magnificent 893 sq. km Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary was originally managed as a 'Game Reserve'. The sanctuary is covered by a variety of flora including dry deciduous teak forest and bamboo trees. Due to its rich bio-diversity, it earned the status of a sanctuary. It is a great Indian wildlife sanctuary to visit home to the Sloth Bear, Panther, Tiger and variety of birds like Peacocks, Patridges, Quails, Vultures, Eagles, Kites, Owls, Mynas, Pigeons, Tree - pies, Kingfishers.

Kinnerasani Sanctuary, near Paloncha, Andhra Pradesh
The 635 sq. km sanctuary traces its name from the River Kinnerasani, which bisects the sanctuary and ultimately drains into the Godavari River. It is covered with dry deciduous mixed type forests with teak, bamboo and terminals and offers a great Indian bird watching tour, home to the Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Qualis, Partridges, Doves, Ducks, Teals, Spoonbills, Nuktas, Open bill stork.

Kolleru Bird Sanctuary, near Vijayawada
This picturesque 673 sq. km bird sanctuary of India is described as "Peerless Fisherman's Paradise and birds' heaven" in the Imperial Gazetteer. The Kolleru Bird Sanctuary receives water from four rivers that include Budameru, Ramileru, Tammileru and Errakalva and 18 drains. It is home to the Painted storks, open bill storks, Grey Herons, cormorants, white Ibises, glossy Ibises, egrets, Reef Herons, Ducks, Coots, Shovellers, Terns, Jacanas, Moorhens.

Manjira Bird Sanctuary, near Hyderabad
The 20 sq. km Manjira Bird Sanctuary is a haven to a variety of migratory as well as domestic feathered species. It has an Environmental Education Center with a museum, a library, and an auditorium. All these facilities enable the tourist to learn about nature conservation and maintenance of ecological balance. They also make it a perfect place for bird watching tours in India. Home to the Painted Storks, Herons, Coots, Teals, Cormorants, Pochards, Black and White Ibises, Spoon Bills, Open Billed Storks.

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, 65 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat
The delightful Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, nestling around the Nal Lake, offers a sheer variety of color, pattern and a cacophony of sounds that the birds use for recognition and courtship. Exploring this Indian birs sanctuary with a pair of binoculars and a person well versed in local bird life is definitely the best outing you can have. It covers an area of 115 sq. kms, and home to Cranes, flamingoes, pelicans, ducks, storks and other birds

Neelapattu Bird Sanctuary, near Chennai
The 404 sq. km Neelapattu Bird Sanctuary is reputed as one of the largest pelican habitats in Southeast Asia. It is a small fresh water irrigation tank in the village of Neelapattu with Barringtonia trees spread in the water. Home to the Grey Pelicans on Barringtonia trees in the Tankbed. Other nesting birds include Cormorants, While Ibis, Night Heron, Open Bill Storks, Teals, Ducks.

Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Porbander, Gujarat
The serene and tranquil 1 sq km environ of Porbandar Bird Sanctuary in the heart of the city of Porbandar, Gujarat attracts a variety of migratory and domestic birds. The sanctuary echoes with the chirping of birds that populate the park. It's a great Indian adventure tour package, home to the wildfowl, Teals, Ibis, Curlews and variety of migratory birds.

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, near Mysore
You will find crocodiles basking under the sun, others running free, flocks of birds gathered on tiny islands that come all the way from Siberia, Australia and even North America. Birds include the open-bill stork, the white ibis, egret, heron, patridge and the cormorant trying. Ranganthittu is indeed a visual delight. This lovely sanctuary is located a very short drive off the main Bangalore-Mysore highway from Srirangapatna. The park is not very large in area (0.67 sq. km) but houses a huge population of birds, a delightful sight to behold during the main nesting season from June to November. Ranganthittu came into existence due to the creation of a small dam on the river Cauvery in the 17th centuary, then declared a protected area in 1940. The sanctuary is host to a myriad of bird species such as cormorants, darters, white ibis, storks (spoonbilled, openbilled, painted, white necked), egrets, herons, terns, swallows, streaked weavers, ducks, teals, sandpipers, kingfishers, etc. The mammal population consists of fruit bats, bonnet macaques, palm civets, common mongoose and common otters. The reptile population at the sanctuary is mainly represented by the marsh crocodiles.

Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary, near Kurnool
The magnificent 614 sq. km Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary is reputed for its variety of flora and bird species. The vegetation is varied with dry thorny type of forests, interspersed with dry carrel crops, cotton, groundnut and castor. Home to the Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Bustard, Indian Roller, Sparrows, Mynas, Russell's Viper, Indian Cobra, Jackal, Wolf and Indian Fox.

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is reputed for its pristine natural beauty and abundance of feathered species. It offers chance for a great birdwatching tour in India.

Sonai Rupai Sanctuary
The Sonai Rupai sanctuary is a picturesque Indian wildlife sanctuary, offering breathtaking views of natural beauty and wildlife. The admirers of feathered species frequently visit the sanctuary in search of rare domestic and migratory birds. Located in the Sonitpur District, it covers 175 sq. kms, and is home to Elephant, Indian Bison, Deer and a variety of hill birds.

Sultanpur National Park, Sultanpur, Haryana, near Delhi
The 350 sq km Sultanpur National Park, (previously Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary) three quarters of which is marshy, has been remodeled making visitors more welcome. Within the lake about 30 artificial islands have turned into green glades and the marsh has been converted into a water body. It is one of the best bird sanctuaries in India, home to darters, egrets, shovellers, gadwell, geese, teals, kingfishers, lapwings, sandpipers, cormorants, ibises, herons, demoiselle cranes and a variety of other water birds. Main attractions are the migratory birds who come in large numbers during late October and November.

Velvadar Bird Sanctuary, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
This is the home of the Indian black buck. Velavadar is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the black buck and is important part of Gujarat tourism. Once found in open plains throughout the country, its largest population at present occurs in Velvadar National Park, home to the Black Buck and a variety of birds.