The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, covering an area of barely 25 km2, and located about 12 km from Kothamangalam (Kerala state, India), was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. Salim Ali, one of the best known ornithologist described this sanctuary as the richest bird habitat on peninsular India. Thattekkad literally means flat forest, and the region is an evergreen low-land forest located between the branches of Periyar River, the longest river in Kerala.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is located to the north of the Periyar River, at the foot of the mighty Western Ghats. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between October and March. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, and the nearest railway station is at Aluva.
It was Dr. Salim Ali who first recognised the avifaunal richness of Thattekkad Forest during his Travancore Cochin Ornithological survey during 1983. As recommended by Dr. Salim Ali, in 1983 an area of 25.16 Sq. Km. at Thattekkad was notified as Kerala’s first Tropical bird sanctuary. The area is a part of western Ghats, on its western slope and almost at the base of the highest peak Anamudi 2695 m above msl.
Habitat diversity and topographical position of the area is the main reason to make it bird rich. 322 species of birds including long distance migratory ones comprise the avifaunal world of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.
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