Travel Destinations

Koyna bird sanctuary: Little known bird sanctuary in Sahyadri Hills

Koyna bird sanctuary
Written by Rangan Badri

Visit this Koyna bird sanctuary, a little gem of a bird sanctuary located in Koyna, in the Sahyadri Hills, part of the exquisite Western Ghats Mountain Range in India.

I think this short video clip captured the mist-filled Sahyadri range of hills in Koyna, Maharashtra, India, enticingly. Thanks to my friend Sowmya Ramkumar, who shot the video and allowed me to use it in this article.

I came to know of the Koyna wildlife sanctuary only after seeing this video on Facebook.

India has numerous sanctuaries exclusively for birds. I believe the majority of the bird sanctuaries located in the lush forests and sholas of the mighty Western Ghats.

During my visits to the hill stations of Western Ghats, I have spotted and identified several beautiful birds with mellifluous songs.

Let us now visit the Koyna bird sanctuary.

Location of Koyna hills:

It located in the Satara district of Maharashtra.  Yes, I must admit that would give you no clue; you would want to know the nearest well-known cities so that you can mentally estimate the approximate distance.

I will save you that trouble too by mentioning the distance between Koyna wildlife sanctuary and some of the major cities of India.

The nearest and top-rated hill station is Mahabaleshwar that located only about 30 km from Koyna reservoir.

Pune is the nearest big city to Koyna hills. The distance between the two is 180 km.

Other cities, and the distance between them and the Koyna bird sanctuary.

  • Bombay-275 km
  • Bangalore-850 km
  • Ahmadabad-800 km

How to reach Koyna birds sanctuary?

Now that you know the nearest big cities, you can plan your weekend vacation to Koyna easily.

By flights:

The nearest airport is at Kohlapur. It is 70 km away. From Kohlapur, you can book a taxi to reach Koyna Nagar.

By train

Again, Kohlapur railway station is the closest to Koyna dam built on River Krishna.

Another well-known hill station nearby is Ratnagiri. Buses are available from there to Koyna Hills. The distance between the two places is just 60 km.

Geography of Koyna National Park

As it located at an altitude of 3600 feet (peak) on the lush Western Ghats, you can expect dense foliage on the slopes of the mountains. The Koyna wildlife sanctuary occupies an area over 400 sq.km.

Which wild animals and rare birds you can spot in Koyna bird sanctuary?

The presence of rivers Koyna, Kandati, and Solashi inside the Koyna forests is ideal for a range of forest animals and reptiles to live thirst free.

Here are some of the mammals and birds one can spot in Koyna wildlife sanctuary:

  • Jaguar

Jaguar

  • Leopards
  • Bengal tigers
  • Sloth Bear
  • Several species of deer such as Sambhar, barking deer, and the tiny mouse-deer
  • Among monkeys, the commonly spotted species is Gray Langur.
  • Indian giant squirrels

Indian giant squirrels

  • Smooth-coated Otter

Smooth-coated Otter

Birds that live in Koyna bird sanctuary:

  • Asian Fairy-blue bird

Fairy-blue bird

  • Heart-spotted woodpecker,

Heart-spotted woodpecker

My God! Look at the bird! It is really heart-shaped!

  • Rufous woodpecker

Rufous woodpecker

  • Pygmy Woodpecker

Pygmy Woodpecker

  • Yellow-footed green pigeon

Yellow-footed green pigeon

It’s a beauty!

  • Indian Great Hornbill
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill
  • Purple Sunbird

Purple Sunbird

Flora of Koyna forest:

I know some of you must be interested to know a little about the trees and flowers of Koyna Wildlife Reserve.

Generally, the flora includes several herbal plants and bushes apart from the ubiquitous Eucalyptus and Oak.

Nearby places to see:

I suppose one can do away with watching birds nd animals in about 4 hours. You will have patience only for about 4 hours.

You can visit the following tourist attractions near Koyna Nagar:

  • Chandoli National Park

Chandoli National Park

  • Sahyadri Tiger Reserve
  • Vasota Fort

Vasota Fort

As you can see, the fort in a ruined condition. It was used by Shivaji in 1655. Oh, no wonder it is dilapidated due to age.

  • Shivsagar Lake

The Vasota Fort is located on the shores of Shivsagar Lake.

  • Koyna Dam

Koyna Dam

  • Ozarde Waterfall

You need not devote any special time to see the Ozarde waterfall as it is located within the Koyna bird sanctuary.

If you visit during the monsoon season (July to September), you will the water falling in full force, throwing mist everywhere.

  • Koyna Dam

The Koyna Dam is built on the Koyna river and let out into the River Krishna.

In order to see the maximum of birds and animals including the big cats, you should get on to a Koyna animal safari jeep. Since the Koyna animals sanctuary opens quite early at 7 am, it is advised to book your seat in the first safari tour of the day so that you will have enough time to visit the added attractions in and around Koyna and Mahabaleshwar.

Hotels and camps to stay in Koyna bird sanctuary:

A few forest lodges are available on the peripherals of Koyna bird sanctuary. Even homestays are also offered, but I heard the comforts are few.

Camping grounds are allotted to those who book their space in advance.

Search the Google for Koyna backwater cabins and camping sites on the banks of Koyna River. You are likely to stay in a dream forest location. It will be a memorable stay than getting lodged up within the four walls of a hotel room.

There are about 15 camping sites in the Koyna Hills.

People who want a bit more luxury than a forest camp, can opt to stay in several forest escape huts and jungle lodges run by private entrepreneurs.

Koyna Lake Resort is a highly recommended accommodation for the tourists and trekkers of Koyna wildlife park and Koyna Hills.

Plan your weekend trip to Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary as an escape from the city grinds.

About the author

Rangan Badri

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