Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries of Kerala. This well renowned bird sanctuary is situated in Ernakulum District. Established in the year 1983, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is considered as one of the most attractive bird sanctuaries in India. The sanctuary was set up by the ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali and hence, is also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Dr. Ali described Thattekkad as the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with the eastern Himalayas, during the 1930s. The one and only sanctuary of its kind in Kerala, this bird sanctuary provides with a feast to the eyes and music to the ears. Several kinds of birds usually found in South India are seen here. The architect of this sanctuary, Dr. Salim Ali is reported to have identified 167 birds. Spread over an extent of 25.16 sq kms, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary attracts nature lovers from far and wide.
As is common on the Western Ghats, the terrain is undulating and its elevation ranges between 35 metres and 523 metres. The tallest point is the Njayapilli peak (523 metres high). Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is located at 76 degree 40 minutes and 76 degree 45 minutes north latitude and 10 degree 7 minutes and 11 degree east longitude. It has an annual rainfall of about 2500 mm. The globally acclaimed Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary has a total area of 25 square kilometres and is located between the tributaries of the Periyar River. Flora of Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary includes tropical evergreen forests, tropical semi-evergreen forests and tropical deciduous forests. Further, patches of grasslands can also be found. Tropical evergreen forests harbour Vellapine, Karanjili, Palley, Kunthirikam, Bhadraksham, Kanala, Kurangatti, etc. Tropical semi evergreen forests harbour Angili, Kambacom etc. Trees of commercial value like Teak, Rose wood, Venteak, Venga, Maruthi are also found here.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is home to a large number of almost 500 species of exotic birds and hence, is counted amongst the most famous landmarks in Kerala. The sanctuary also houses thick tropical deciduous and evergreen cover trees for providing a safe haven to all the winged creatures. Among all the bird species found in the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, some of the most notable ones include the Bee eaters, Falcon Grey, Jungle Fowl, Black Winged Kite, Shrike, Crimson-Throated Barbet, Ceylon Frogmoth, Sunbird, Night Heron, Blue Winged Parakeet, White-Breasted Water Hen, Rose-Billed Roller, Great Hornbill, etc. For this great collection, the sanctuary has earned reputation as a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Apart from the several species of birds, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is also home to a number of animals and reptiles. There are at least 28 species of animals can be found in this sanctuary and the number of reptiles is also large. The most commonly found animals in this sanctuary include the Leopard, Sloth Bear and Porcupine and the animals like Elephants can also be found occasionally. The Indian Cobra and Pythons are the most common ones among all the reptiles found in this bird sanctuary. The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary also offers the visitors a chance to know about a variety of plants. The vegetation in this sanctuary includes the common plants like Indian Teak tree, Mahogany and Rosewood and the trees make a wonderful lush green cover to blanket the sanctuary.