Updated: Mar 23
Discover stunning birding spots of India with #Literoma senior birder Tarun.
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Oh you love birds and want to have a close look of the feathered beauties? Then I must invite you to the chirping wetland of Mangalajodi, a place not too far from maddening crowds. The birding spot is located at a distance of about 70 kms from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha or 50 kms from Khurda Road station in South Eastern Railway.
Mangalajodi is a vast wetland, located in the Tangi block of Khordha district and is an extension of the northern end of the famous Chilika lake. In the winter months, this marshy land becomes abode of more than one lakh birds, mostly migratory in nature. It is a best Spot for Tourist to Capture the Beauty of Birds of Different Kinds and Their Beautiful Cheering Sounds All Around The Lake.Watching the different types of birds of Mangalajodi is really a very interesting thing to do.Read my article further to know more about the beautiful birds of Mangalajodi.
Birding at Mangalajodi in deshi boats
There are a number of trains which will reach you Khurdha junction and just from the outside of the station, a cab on hire will take about an hour to reach you Mangalajodi. Two most popular stay points of Mangalajodi are Godwit Resort and an arrangement of basic accommodation by Mangalajodi Eco Tourism in the village itself.
So many deshi boats where there and boatmen themselves will guide you through the narrow channels with their boats to observe and identify each and every birds present there. Even their knowledge of every nook and corner of the wetland and movements of the birds will definitely make you spell bound.
The story behind this entire project is very interesting. In the earlier years it was a popular spot for the bird hunters. Sometimes in the winters local boys used to kill migratory ducks as a casual play. One gentleman Mr Nandakishore Bhujabal, who first created an organisation named Wild Orissa and became successful to change minds of those particular boys who used to kill birds regularly. Presently the same boys are the protectors and birding guides of the land. Sri Mahavir Pakshi Suraksha Samiti has since been created there for this purpose.
As soon as you enter the area tall green grasses and chirping of birds of Mangalajodi will welcome you with so many Purple Swamphen or Grey-headed Swamphen sitting on the both sides of the road. An about 45 cm size of red billed bird with purple colored underparts and blackish wings with long and strong legs. Normally keeps on sitting on floating vegetation and fly steadily if gets threatened.
The next beauty of Mangalajodi wetland attracts your eyes are Black-winged Stilts. A beautiful looking, around 35 cm, slim and slender black and white bird with exceptionally long red legs, red eyes and black bill. Stays in groups and most interesting thing among them is dips the head entirely inside water for searching food.
A famous wader and winter visitor of Mangalajodi , found there abundantly is Black-tailed Godwit. Around 35 cm in size and as the name suggests having prominent black tail band with white bar on the wings. Its also a quarrelsome bird and remain busy in fighting among themselves frequently.
Two most common cracks of the land are Ruddy-breasted and Baillon’s crakes. As the name suggests, Ruddy breasted crake have Chestnut colored underparts and dark olive brown wings. Very shy bird, normally stays inside reeds and dense vegetation. About 22 cm in size. The other one Baillon’s crake is a smaller size (18-19 cm) buff color bird with pale green bill, is a winter migrant from the Himalayas. Being secretive in habits stays inside reeds normally, comes out in search of food and walks over the floating vegetation.
Purple herons and Grey herons are two most common resident birds of Mangalajodi. Found there abundantly and feeds on small fishes and water snakes.
Out of the famous migratory birds of Mangalajodi in winter, Bar-headed goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Greylag goose, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Eurasian Wigeons, Garganey etc are regular visitors.These birds travel a long way from China, Mongolia, Tibet, Myanmar, Siberia etc each year in search of food, to save from harsh colds and breeding. Where as Common coots, Cotton Pigamy Goose, Indian Spot billed duck are the resident birds. All The Above Birds are Just Like Ducks in the Lake.
Bar-headed goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Greylag goose
Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Eurasian Wigeons, Garganey
During the relaxed floating on boats in the narrow channels of Mangalajodi marsh land, some small white colored busy in feeding birds will also catch your eyes. They are mostly Sandpipers, Ruff, Sanderlings, Plovers etc. All these birds are winter migrants from very distant parts of the Globe.
Sandpipers, Ruff, Sanderlings, Plovers
Frequently one interesting view will definitely draw your attention, small agile birds running and fast moving over the floating leaves and wagging their tail all the time. Those are White, Yellow and Citrine Wagtails. Winter guests of the area. These are the Most Beautiful and Colorful Birds To See.
White and Yellow Wagtails, Blue Throat
A small bird with blue half circles over the throat is another very beautiful bird of winter. The Blue Throat and is a winter visitor too.
When so many small birds are congregated in one area Raptors can not be far. They just remain in search of such association. Birds like Brahminy Kite, Osprey and the fastest Peregrine Falcon reach the place timely and feed on small birds and fishes.
Brahminy Kite, Peregrine Falcon, Painted snipe
After enjoying a full day on boat I was just on my way back and a pair of Painted snipes completed my day with their gracious presence. As per my Boatman still so many unseen birds of Mangalajodi I left there and promised for a comeback to see the next chapter. A monetary payment on hourly basis was only an insufficient return for such a memorable trip.
If you are a bird lover, you can always carry bird food with you to spend some time feeding them. Telescopes help you get a better view of the birds.