Chennai or Madras is haven for birds species, resident as well as wintering bird. The urban area of Chennai house more than 200 species of birds in habitat such as Theosophical Society Gardens, Indian Institute of Technology Campus,Chembarambakkam and Perumbakkam Lake.
Birding in Chennai includes very rare raptors such as black baza, osprey, Eurasian eagle owl, White bellied sea eagle and booted eagle. Here is the list of top 15 best known birding hotspots in and around Chennai.
The park has beautiful forests, lake, streams and host 150 species of birds including paradise flycatcher,grey partridge, minivets and blue faced malkoha.
Theosophical Society Gardens is home to more than 60 species of bird species found in Chennai. The habitat is known as best birdwatching spots in Chennai and also the best place to see black capped kingfisher in India along with yellow billed babbler,Asian brown flycatcher and hoopoe bird.
Indian Institute of Technology Campus in Madras is another best place for birdwatching in and around Chennai. The IIT Madras campus is home to resident and migrant bird species like Indian pitta,forest wagtail, Shikra and Spotted owlet.
Pallikaranai wetland is situated adjacent to the Bay of Bengal in the city of Chennai. The Pallikaranai marshland is a freshwater marsh and one of the last remaining natural wetlands of South India.
Nanmangalam Reserve Forest is located 24 km from the city centre of Chennai and very popular among bird watchers from Chennai. The protected area is home to about 85 species of birds such as crested honey buzzard, Indian eagle owl and Red wattled lapwing.
Siruthavur Lake is best place to see famous Red necked falcon,Eurasian wigeon and cotton pygmy goose. Other migratory bird species coming to Chennai during winter months are Eurasian spoonbill, Oriental pratincole and booted eagle.
Chembarambakkam Lake is a freshwater lake near Chennai, famous for ducks and migratory water birds such as Eurasian wigeon, fulvous whistling duck, Cotton teal and blue tailed bee eater.
Another famous place for birding around Chennai is Perumbakkam Lake.
Kelambakkam Backwaters is a brackish water lagoon and the habitat consists of coastal water, sand banks and scrubs. The brackish lagoon is home to thousands of rivers terns, gulls and very rare Black ibis.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Kancheepuram district is located 75 kilometres from Chennai and oldest water bird sanctuary in India. The Sanctuary is visited by migratory birds such as Common sandpiper, grey wagtail and pintail.
The best time to visit this Vedanthangal Bir Sanctuary is from November to March.
Mudaliarkuppam Backwaters is another haven for birds in Chennai, The migratory ducks and wading birds seen in brackish water lagoon of Mudaliarkuppam backwaters are whiskered tern, common kingfisher and spot billed pelican.
Vedanthangal Crub and Reed Bed are lesser known bird watching location around Chennai and offers best mixed habitats for bird species such as Indian silverbill, red munia, pond heron and common kestrel.
Adyar Poonga eco park is a estuary and home to 100 resident bird species as well as over 70 species of butterflies. The park is also the wintering ground for migratory bird species like black winged stilt,black tailed godwit and wood sandpiper.
Pulicat Lake and Annamalaichery Backwaters are home to 50 plus species of migratory bird coming to India, located adjacent to the Bay of Bengal.
The habitat of Pulicat Lake is second largest salt water lake in India and best place to see Greater flamingos in South India along with lesser flamingo,osprey, spot-billed pelican and peregrine falcon.
Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh is located 97 km away from Chennai and an important breeding site for spot billed pelicans in India.
The sanctuary is best breeding grounds for spot billed pelican in Andhra Pradesh along with ibis, openbill stork and garganey gadwall.