Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, also known as Keoladeo National Park, is located in Bharatpur, Rajasthan (India). Spanning across a shallow depression that lies between two perennial rivers – Gambhir and Banganga, it covers around 29 square kilometers of unique terrain. The diverse topography includes marshes, swamps, woodlands, scrublands and grasslands. This mosaic of wetland ecosystems makes it an ecologically rich and diverse habitat for avian species. Its geographic location also places it on the Central Asian Flyway used by migratory birds.

History of Keoladeo Bharatpur National Park

Bharatpur has a long history centered around its wetlands which served as the royal duck shooting preserve of the Maharajas in the late 1800s. Its potential was first recognized by an ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali in the 1930s. After independence, it gained eminence as one of the best waterfowl habitats. Rising concerns over dwindling bird numbers led to its notification as a national park in 1982. Its international importance was underlined in 1985 when it was declared a Reserve Forest. Continuous conservation efforts led UNESCO to recognize it as a World Heritage Site in 2002, highlighting its significance as an avian refuge.

Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur Rajasthan

Resident Birds

Bharatpur bird sanctuary harbors over 150 species of resident birds that breed within the park. Common residents include the House Sparrow, Baya Weaver, Red Avadavat, Common Myna and Indian Robin. Water birds like the Spot-billed Duck, Cotton Teal, Pintail Duck and Whistling Duck are also commonly seen at the swamps and marshes. Birds like the Painted Stork, Black-necked Stork and Large Cormorant nest in colonies within the sanctuary.

Migratory Birds

Nearly 230 species of birds migrate to Bharatpur every year, either in winters or summers. In winters, it hosts over 90 species like Greylag Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Pintails, and Siberian Cranes. Wading birds like the Black-winged Stilt and Common Sandpiper also arrive here. Raptors like the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle fly south to escape harsh Himalayan winters. During summers, insectivorous birds come here like the Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptilians like Garden Lizard, Indian Python, Rat Snake and Checkered Keelback are found here. Amphibians include Indian Bullfrog, Indian Tree Frog, Fungoid Frog and Skittering Frog. Aquatic species also inhabit the wetlands like the Indian Flap-shell Turtle.


The key mammals found are Golden Jackal, Palm Civet, Indian Grey Mongoose, Desert Fox and Fishing Cat. The famous Pythons of Kukrail are one of the longest snakes found within the park premises.

Threatened Species

The sanctuary is home to several threatened and endangered species. These include the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing, Egyptian Vulture and White-rumped Vulture. Other endangered residents are the Siberian Crane and Indian Skimmer. Conservation initiatives ensure protection of these vanishing species.

Activities to do in Keoladeo Ghana National Park Bharatpur


Bharatpur bird sanctuary offers excellent birdwatching opportunities. Over 380 avian species inhabit the reserve providing plenty of sightings round the year. Strategic watchtowers are constructed across different zones allowing birders to observe the feathered creatures. Guided birdwatching tours are also arranged. Beginner birders can spot common residents like Weaver Birds, Ducks and Sparrows while seasoned birders may glimpse rare migratory species like Pelicans, Larks and Pipits based on the season.

Nature Walks

Picturesque nature trails allow visitors to explore the landscape on foot. These guided nature walks wind through swampy terrain and wooded cover giving a chance to observe the wetland ecosystem up-close while learning about flora and fauna from experienced naturalists. Occasional wildlife spotting like Golden Jackals, Palm Civets, Turtles and Pythons can add excitement to these walks.

Boat Rides

Visitors can enjoy boating inside the national park by hiring row boats or paddle boats. These rides float along shallow water channels allowing visitors to discover inaccessible lagoons placed deep inside core zones teeming with numerous native and migratory waterfowl. Wading birds like Ibis, Painted Storks, Cormorants and Egrets can be spotted at close distance from these rides.


Abundant natural landscape and wildlife make Bharatpur a haven for photography enthusiasts. One can capture a prolific variety of birds nested, roosted or in flight. Picturesque frames of breathtaking wetland vistas, majestic birds in breeding plumage and rare species activities can be photographed. Guided photography tours and special permits for restricted areas are provided based on demand.

Conservation Efforts at Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary

Habitat Protection

Habitat protection is vital for conservation of biodiversity at Bharatpur. Over 25% of the area is designated as Ecodevelopment Sites safeguarding core nesting zones from degradation. Strict zoning regulations are enforced to prevent commercial infrastructure in key habitats of threatened species. Growing of native food crops, creation of artificial wetlands and shorebird feeding grounds further augment the conservation area to support wildlife.

Anti-Poaching Measures

Rigorous anti-poaching measures are undertaken including regular patrolling of forest guards and mobile squads aided by surveillance technology. During breeding season, nests of near-threatened Storks and Pelicans are specially monitored. Checkposts across park borders restrict illegal movement while awareness drives in fringe villages discourage hunting. Any poaching activity is promptly prosecuted under highest environment laws.

Wetland Restoration

In harmony with nature wetland management techniques are practiced. Variable water regimes are artificially maintained by a system of dykes and spillways nurturing essential hydrological cycles. Lake dredging helps improve water retention while deweeding ensures adequate food resources for resident waterbirds. Such cyclic management enriches aquatic life and vegetation keeping the wetlands productive.

Environmental Education

Visitor orientation programs emphasize eco-friendly tourism to minimize ecological damage from tourism. Nature camps and awareness workshops inform people on conservation issues. Training programs for local youth create nature guides who not only earn livelihoods but become stewards protecting the sanctuary and its wildlife. Such education drives promote conservation ethos building a sustainable ecological balance.

Threats and Challenges for Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary


Water pollution due to agricultural run-offs from nearby farmlands carrying chemical residues is a grave threat. These reduce dissolved oxygen levels affecting aquatic species. Oil spills from increased boat traffic also degrade wetland quality deteriorating the ecosystem. Plastic waste littering across the landscape is another rising concern as birds and animals often ingest it accidentally risking mortality.

Habitat Loss

Habitat loss from expanding villages around park vicinity is a persistent challenge. Deforestation and land conversion shrink viable wildlife habitats outside restrictions of the protected reserve area. Efforts to revive lost wetlands, relocate fringe villages and increase total park size by acquiring adjacent land continue to counter balance the damage.

Uncontrolled Tourism

Although tourism helps promote conservation causes, unsystematic tourist influx creates inadvertent threats. Noise and litter disturb sensitive nesting birds while overcrowding stresses habitats. Regulating tourism by designating low-impact zones, enforcing activity time limits and increasing visitor capacities only according to ecological carrying ability ensure undesirable impacts are minimized for sustainable tourism.

Significance of the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary


Bharatpur is a shining example of nature tourism done right. Revenue from a robust ecosystem of eco-lodges, guided tours and entry fees sustains the sanctuary while visitors experience wildlife in their natural state. Strict eco-friendly regulations ensure low-impact activities generating livelihoods for locals transitioning them into conservation allies rather than poachers or encroachers. The sanctuary pioneered a conservation model where ecological health and biodiversity are preserved alongside creating nature tourism assets.

Research and Education

The sanctuary serves as an open-air ecological classroom for wetland research. Teams frequently visit to conduct ornithological, botanical and zoological studies that continues to build scientific understanding of local flora-fauna aiding better management protocols. Workshops on biodiversity monitoring and wetland restoration are routine. Databases of bird ringing projects and species census offer valuable reference on migratory patterns, feeding, breeding and diseases among avian populations.

Protection of Birds

A network of floating and grounded nests along with artificial water holes facilitate ground-rooting of endangered water birds like Siberian Cranes. Elimination of invasive species secures nesting habitats while staff and volunteers provide round-the-clock watch during breeding season ensuring mortality rates reduce and more hatchlings survive annually. Without such tailored safeguards several threatened species may have gone extinct preserving the sanctuary’s global distinction as an invincible refuge where birds once threatened can thrive safely again.