Hornbills are spotted in tropical rain forests. I saw a few Great Hornbills in Sentosa Island, Singapore. In India, the Malabar hornbills are seen in the forests in coastal areas. However, you can only spot a single species of Hornbill at any given hornbill habitat.
There is an exception though. You can spot as many as four species of Hornbill in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India.
The four species of Hornbill are:
- Indian Grey Hornbill
- Malabar grey hornbill
- Malabar pied hornbill
- Great hornbill
Oh, aren’t the hornbills, majestic?
Hornbill Habitat: Bhadra wildlife sanctuary
Location of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary.
It is located in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. The distance from Chickmagalur bus stand is only 38 km.
As there is a considerable population of tigers, it is a tiger reserve and a protected area.
The exact address of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary:
Tarikere, Lakkavalli, (Chickmagaluru, Karnataka 577115
Landmark: Behind Ranganathaswamy Temple
Phone: 080 3047 4186
Reaching the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary
The best way is to take a car from Bangalore and drive the 270 + km through the scenic Western Ghats.
Other options to go to Chikmagalur are:
By train: Travel to Kadur from Bangalore. The tiger reserve from Kadur is only 40 km.
Other big cities and towns near Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary are:
Hassan – 85 km
Mangalore – 180 km
Why the name of Bhadra?
The River Bhadra flows through this region and hence the name.
What type of forest is the Bhadra Tiger Reserve?
The area is mostly covered with lush and evergreen vegetation. However, there are some are areas that are dry and hence called deciduous forest.
What are the wild animals and birds you can see in Bhadra sanctuary?
Apart from a large number (30+) of tigers, Bhadra is home to several wild animals, avian species, butterflies, and snakes. Any wildlife photographer and avid lovers of forest animals and birds would simply frequent the Bhadra forests in Chikmagalur.
The range of forest animals that are living in Bhadra wildlife sanctuary includes:
- Spotted deer
- Wild boar
- Black leopard
- Bonnet macaque
- Barking deer
- Indian civet
- Malabar giant squirrel
Bhadra tiger reserve is a bird lovers’ paradise. They would scream with delight when they spot:
- Malabar grey hornbill
- Great hornbill
- India grey hornbill
- Pied hornbill
- Red Spurfowl
- Ruby-throated bulbul
- Racquet-tailed drongo
To spot this bird alone, I would make several trips to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary.
- Great black woodpecker
What a beauty! I have never heard about or seen this rare bird.
- Emerald Dove
OMG! What a green shade!
- Green imperial pigeon
Can you believe that some of the birds are endemic meaning they can’t be found elsewhere in the world?
As there are great varieties of birds and snake-eating mongooses, naturally, the Bhadra forest is also home to several poisonous snakes including:
- Russel’s viper
- King cobra
- Bamboo pit viper
Wherever dense and evergreen jungles are found, the butterflies would make them as their home. Well, the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary has gladly allowed a wonderful range of butterflies to live inside. Some of the striking butterflies that are spotted in Bhadra tiger reserve are:
- Blue Pansy
- Chocolate Pansy
- Tailed Jay
- Crimson rose butterfly
- Great Orange tip
Other attractions near Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Chikmagalur.
The distances are from Chikmagalur town.
- Kemmanagundi waterfalls-60 km
- Mullayanagiri peak-22 km
- Baba Bundangiri -30 km
- Jhari waterfalls-21
- Hanumangundi waterfalls-110 km
- Kallahathigiri peak-6150 feet
- Manikyadhara Falls
- Hebbe waterfalls
Chikmagalur is the coffee capital of India and hence there is a Coffee Museum located in the Chikmagalur town itself
Bhadra Animal Safari Hornbill Sighting
If you wish to go on a wildlife safari in Bhadra sanctuary, the Government of Karnataka is the best bet. Visit the link below to book your animal safari that will also provide you an opportunity to see the four species of Hornbill. It is better you plan your Chikmagalur trip between October to March.
Hotels to stay in Chikmagalur.
There are several types of accommodations available in Chikmagalur and near the Bhadra tiger reserve which is located at about 38 km from the Chikmagalur town.
The best places to stay in Chikmagalur are:
* The River Tern Lodge – Lakkavalli
Address: Behind Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tarikere, Chikmagalur, Lakkavalli, Karnataka 577115
Phone: 082612 15425
* Valley Of Birds Home Stay
Address: G M Farm, Tanigebailu Post, Tarikere Taluk, Chickmagalur, Karnataka 577129
Phone: 094811 93152
I read there are more Homestay options in Chikmagalur than high-end resorts and hotels.
Some of the names of home-stays in and around Chikmagalur and the Bhadra Forest are:
- Redberry Home Stay
- Mugila Mane Home Stay
- Yelagudgi Home Stay
- Mountain Valley Home Stay
Restaurants in Chikmagalur
- Navayuha Family Restaurant near Chikmagalur bus stand
- The Club House at Planters located opposite to KSRTC bus terminal
- Maharaja restaurant
- Town Canteen
The Karnataka cuisine is the only type of food available in this part of Karnataka. Though you will get some north Indian dishes, I guess it may not contain true north Indian flavor.
Do not forget to make a trip to the Coffee Barn Café for a cup of rich coffee with a strong aroma.
Try to eat some of the local food such as Akki roti and Kakadu.
Things to do in Chikmagalur: Hornbill Sightings
You will have a lot of free time after your Hornbill sightings and animal safari. You can go on an aimless walk in the forest. There are several trekking trails in the Baba Budan Range, Kudremukh mountain, and the Sivagiri mountains to various peaks. The trekking on the forest paths provides more opportunities to encounter the 4 species of beautiful hornbills that cannot be sighted in the city you live.
Shopping in Chikmagalur
You can buy the freshest Karnataka coffee in Chikmagalur. Try different percentages of mixing the pure coffee powder with chicory as suggested by the coffee vendor.
Overall, a well-planned trip to Chikmagalur will be a memorable and refreshing holiday.