Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka – A Bird Lover’s Paradise!

Openbill_OutlineRangantathittu is 15kms north of Mysore and is accessible to scores of bird lovers from Bangalore to make an easy day trip. It was advocated by India’s famous Ornithologist Salim Ali and was established in 1940. Bird lovers can forever be thankful for this lovely sanctuary – hordes of visitors throng this sanctuary to get their fill of birdlife.

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary is fascinating. Birds supposedly come from as far away as Siberia and Australia during migratory season. Vast colonies of birds make this an ideal destination for one to observe various bird behaviors. Time flies by as one observes these amazing creations in their natural habitat.

Six islets have been created to provide the best possible environment for migratory birds for breeding & feeding. Visitors can rent boats to get close to the islets which houses several colonies of these birds. During our visit last week (mid-Jan), the most common birds sighted were Openbilled Storks, Black Cormorants, River Terns, Painted Storks, Little Egrets, Night Herons, Spot billed Pelicans, Darters. I missed sighting the Stone Plover however. Apparently a lot of other varieties such as Kingfishers, Hornbills, Wagtails and many other species can also be found. Marsh Crocodiles were lazing on the rocks. While I spotted a Golden-Oriole, I could not get a clear shot of the bird. However two River Terns who have gotten quite accustomed to humans getting so close, allowed for some really wonderful shots (one closeup shot below in article).


Birds in Flight

BirdsInFlightBeing new to Birding, I was in awe seeing the big birds in flight. It was reminiscent of swooping Dino Birds as seen in Jurassic Park 3. Resources on the web speculate the origins of birds and their relationship to dinosaurs.

The top image is the Darter or Snakebird – the snake like appearance giving it’s alternate name.

The Painted Stork is a colorful bird and a delight to watch when they fly. The orangish yellow beak seems to encompass the entire head giving it a hard head! This bird from the Stork family, is especially a sight when it lands with it’s enormous wing span sprouting skinny pink legs to perch on a tree or land in ground.

The Asian Openbilled Stork is majestic when it flies and it gets it’s name due to the open gap even when it’s bills are closed. It’s flight reminded me most of flying dinos.

The Little Egret flies with it’s neck curled close to it’s body and is beautiful in full white plumage. It develops gauzy plumes around it’s breast and back during breeding which makes it look spectacular.

Little Black Cormorants were flying real close to the water. Photographing these birds in flight was the most difficult. These were found in real large numbers in the Sanctuary.

The Spot Billed Pelican gets it’s name from the spots found on it’s pouch. It uses this large pouch to catch fish while swimming at the surface. It is mostly white with brownish yellow patches and a brown tail. It’s legs are much smaller compared to storks and the wings alone are shown predominantly when it flies.


Memorable Images


A River Tern laying eggs on a rock.


An Openbilled Stork and a Painted Stork.


The Picturesque Ranaganathittu Bird Sanctuary.


As can be seen in the pictures, Ranganthittu is a fabulous get away for the whole family. A great way to educate children about nature and wildlife preservation. Ranganathittu scores very high not only for the large variety of birds in it’s Sanctuary but also the easy accessibility from Mysore and Bangalore.

Rthittu_Summary1[This article was contributed by Vijay Ramanathan – a Technology/Gadget enthusiast and Blogger. You can follow his tweets at http://twitter.com/tekdude & his blog at http://tekdude.wordpress.com/ ]



  1. I joined Madras Naturalists Society recently on 14th jan,2010 introduced by my collaegue to develop the hobby of bird watching. but after seeing the spectacular photos I realise what I have missed all these days.

    • I too am fairly new to bird watching Nandakumar. Can make for a great hobby if it grabs your interest. Am glad you enjoyed the post.
      – Vijay

  2. Excellent article and awesome pictures ! I am sure it will inspire a lot of people. Thanks for sharing the article.

  3. Been in Bangalore for 12 years and never went to this place. I would like to go to this place either this or next weekend. Is this the right time, considering the super hot summer? Should I wait until monsoon kicks-in?

  4. Had visited the bird sanctuary 3 years back and photographed the birds there.Hope to visit it again in May.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photographs.It was a treat.


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