9 Beautiful Birds of Kerala – Wings of Paradise in The Land of Spices

Kerala is a tropical paradise, blessed with emerald rainforests, serene backwaters, and breathtaking beaches. This diverse landscape provides a haven for over 450 species of birds, including the unique and diverse birds of Kerala, from dazzling endemics to graceful migrants. Birds are woven into the cultural fabric of Kerala, featuring in folklore, art, and mythology. For any birdwatcher, Kerala, with its “Birds of Kerala,” is a dream destination.

Jewels of the Rainforest

Malabar Trogon

The Malabar Trogon is a stunning resident of Kerala’s rainforests. With its fiery red belly and iridescent emerald back, it adds a flash of color to the dense foliage. Its soft, melodious calls ring through the forests as it hunts for insects and small vertebrates. Birds of Kerala like the Malabar Trogon are a special part of the region’s rich biodiversity.

birds of Kerala

Great Indian Hornbill

With its huge yellow casque atop its bill, the Great Indian Hornbill is a majestic sight. This large black-and-white bird is associated with divinity and considered an omen of good luck in Kerala. Its loud, reverberating calls echo through the canopy as it flits between the trees. The hornbill plays a key role in dispersing seeds across the rainforest.

birds of kerala

Indian Pitta

Hopping along the dark forest floor like a brightly colored jewel, the Indian Pitta enlivens the understory with its beauty. Its neon blue back paired with a red belly makes it shine amidst the greenery.Birds of Kerala like the Pitta are a special part of the region’s rich biodiversity.This elusive bird spends most of its time rummaging through the leaf litter searching for insects and worms.

birds of Kerala

Symphony of the Backwaters

White-breasted Kingfisher

Perched on reed poles along the serene backwaters, the White-breasted Kingfisher makes for a charming sight with its tri-colored plumage of azure, white and chestnut. As it spies a fish, it plunges into the water with a splash of electric blue and white. Its rattling calls ring over the gentle lapping of waves.

birds of Kerala

Bar-headed Goose

Arriving from Central Asia, the handsome Bar-headed Goose graces Kerala’s wetlands and fields during winter. These migratory geese gather in large flocks and can be seen swimming gracefully across glassy backwaters or soaring across the sky with loud honking calls. Their beautiful formations and elegant flight makes them special visitors.

birds of kerala

Grey Wagtail

This acrobatic bird frequents Kerala’s water bodies, restlessly flitting along the edge with long cocked tails. Their bright yellow underparts and graceful shape makes them a delight to watch. The Grey Wagtail’s habit of constantly wagging its long tail up and down gives it a distinctive appearance.

birds of kerala

Purple-rumped Sunbird

The beautiful Purple-rumped Sunbird is a complete jewel, small but dazzling with its iridescent purple and emerald body. It darts from flower to flower amongst Kerala’s lush gardens, plunging its curved beak into blooms to drink nectar. This tiny feathered gem adds magic to the landscape with its colors and motion.

birds of kerala

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Amongst the most diminutive birds in Kerala, the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker lives up to its name with its striking crimson back. It hops between the colorful blossoms of spice gardens and forests, skillfully feeding on nectar with its long, curved beak perfectly adapted for the task.

birds of kerala

Jungle Myna

The cheerful whistles of the Jungle Myna are a familiar sound in Kerala’s countryside. This docile black bird with a bright yellow beak and feet is a good mimic, echoing calls of other birds. As it hops across the floor foraging for food, its melodious voice rings through plantations and woodlands.

birds of kerala

Birdwatching in Kerala

Kerala offers outstanding birding opportunities across its diverse habitats. Top birding hotspots include Periyar National Park with over 265 species, the mangroves of Kumarakom, and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, home to over 500 species. The best time for birding is November to April during the migratory season. Birdwatchers should carry binoculars, field guides, and a checklist to make the most of Kerala’s avifauna. Local guides enrich the experience by sharing their expertise on habitats and species. Responsible birdwatching practices such as maintaining distance and avoiding nesting areas ensure birds are not disturbed.

Conservation and Challenges

Birds play a vital ecological role, helping forests regenerate, controlling pests, and more. Many like the Great Hornbill also hold cultural significance. However, habitat destruction poses a major threat. As forests make way for development, birds lose their homes. Climate change, pesticides, and illegal trade also endanger birds.

But Kerala has inspiring conservation success stories. The Painted Stork was once near extinct in the state but numbers have revived due to protected breeding grounds. Constant monitoring, education, and stringent protection of habitats can ensure birds of Kerala continue to thrive for generations.

Conclusion of Birds of Kerala

Kerala is a birdwatcher’s paradise with incredible diversity from rainforest endemics to backwater waders. The breathtaking beauty and ecological significance of these avian wonders make them natural treasures of the region. By supporting conservation efforts and responsible birding practices, we can ensure these wings of paradise continue embellishing Kerala’s fertile landscape.

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