Bandhavgarh forest is well represented in terms of rich avi-fauna of Vindhya ranges. The riparian vegetation along streams and marshes is particularly rich as natural habitation of bird life. Apart from this, Bandhavgarh has a variety of habitats, woodlands, grasslands, high hills, cliffs and ponds, catering to the needs of different bird species both resident and migratory. Around 240 avi-faunal species are found here. This includes birds of prey, vultures, grebes, cormorants, ducks, kingfishers, herons, egrets, storks, hornbills, barbets, woodpeckers, flycatchers and many others. Sarus cranes visit the Reserve for breeding during monsoon and may be seen up to November. Their is a special bird-watching point at hill-top where Bandhavgarh fort is located. From this point one can have scenic overview of Bandhavgarh forest and can do photography of birds flying at their eye-level. Similarly close to water sources, inside Tiger Reserve, one can have chance to do birdwatching, especially in early morning hours of morning park safari. Bird watching point at
offers overview of vulture nests also but unfortunately it is closed for visitors. Photo used in above banner of given page is of same bird-watching point of Bandhavgarh. One can do brid-watching and photography in adjoining areas, without going for game drive. While going to Tala entrance gate, we come across Charanganga river, which never dried up and is major river of Bandhavgarh forest. One can do birding close to this river also. Their are number of trees and bushes around the river-water, offers shelter to birds and butterflies. So one can do some photography and birding in that region also. Birds commonly encountered in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve are:
Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii; Indian name: Lal Bagla): It is very commonly seen in rural locations of India. It is a small sized bird and popularly known by the name of Bagla in Indian society. As they are mostly seen in muddy and marshy area they get the name Pond Heron. Their common food is insects, fish, tadpoles etc. In Bandhavgarh, we can commonly find him in marshy area, close to Tala entrance gate in Charanganga river etc. Their breeding season is prior to Monsoon and lays 3-5 eggs at a time.
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo; Indian name:Pan kowwa) and Darter (Indian name:Banwai): These beautiful black birds are easily seen in the park near ponds and streams. They hunt fish by diving. Another species, the Darter, not as common, is also known as Snake Bird because while swimming the body remains submerged, the small head and sinuous neck looks like a snake.
Lesser Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilos javanicus Vulnerable; Indian name:Chandiyari): Globally threatened though easily seen in the Park, this big bird (standing height 110-120 cm) cannot be missed near Siddha Baba and Rajbehra meadows. It walks along the edge of the wetland or water hunting for snails and fish.
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis; Indian name:Neelkanth): The brilliant turquoise and blue pattern on the wings seen while in flight appropriates its name. It feeds on beetles and other insects caught on the ground. It occurs throughout the area, and along the roadside it can be seen sitting on stumps from where it swoops down grasshoppers and mantis. It is a very photogenic bird always ready to be clicked.
Red Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus; Indian name:Titeheri): A common and familiar bird of cultivation, open country and marshes, it is found throughout the area. Often noisy, it has a loud, penetrating; ‘did he do it’ call. Common Kingfisher (Chhota Kilkili): Blue and green in colour, this bird is commonly seen throughout the area. It nests in a tunnel by the waterside and feeds on small fish, tadpoles and aquatic insects.
Racket-tailed Drango (Dicrurus paradiseus; Indian name: Bhimraj) : It size is equivalent to Myna. In appearance: it is glossy black drango with prominently tufted forehead and two long wirelike spatula-tipped features. They can be commonly seen in semi-urban areas, electricity wires, parks etc. Their nesting season is from March to June and lays eggs from 3 to 4 at a time.
White Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis; Indian name:Kilkila): This large kingfisher is seen near water where it catches fish and insects. It has a distinctive loud call.
Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi; Indian name:Dudhraj): It is the state bird of Madhya Pradesh. Adult male is silvery white with metallic black crested head and two long, narrow ribbon-like feathers in tail. Females and young males are chestnut. It frequents well-watered and shady forest, and gardens and usually feeds on flies. The river Charanganga, just before Siddha Baba, is a preferred place of this majestic bird in summer.
Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica; Indian name:Chhoti Silhi): It is found in water bodies near human habitations even if the water is partially polluted. It nests in tree holes and also reed beds. It is a great diver and grazer.
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela; Indian name: Dogra cheel): This, a very beautiful bird of prey, feeds on snakes, frogs and smaller birds in the forest. It is easily identifiable by the crest on its head. It requires large forest trees for nesting.
Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus; Indian name: Shah baaz): A graceful slender eagle, which has a prominent white band. It is a noisy bird with a shrill cry. It has earned a reputation for stealing poultry although usually feeds on jungle fowl, quails, reptiles and small mammals.