NKBN » A Network for Birding in North Karnataka

Mission Statement

To provide a forum to promote and encourage the conservation of avi-fauna and its habitat in North Karnataka.


To encourage and promote the hobby of bird-watching among the people of North Karnataka.Scientifically document and disseminate information regarding diversity of avi-fauna over North Karnataka. To support and co-ordinate regarding wildlife conservation issues in the region of operation.

Birding HotSpots of North Karnataka

Dandeli and Anshi Tiger Reserve

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Dandeli is the Mecca for birders in North Karnataka, located along the banks of the Kali River with the Western Ghats as a backdrop. The location is surrounded by dense deciduous and evergreen forests, which is one of the richest wildlife habitats in India. The wildlife sanctuary here covers an area of 834.16 square kilometres. Rare birds like Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabat Trogan and the endangered Great Pied Hornbills can be spotted in Dandeli. In spite of having several rivers and many reservoirs, it is somewhat poor in wetland birds
November to June. Rainy Season can be best enjoyed with the help of leech protection
  • Nearest Airport : Hubli
  • Nearest Rail : Londa (45 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. 85 Kms from Hubli.
    2. 95 kms from Belgaum.
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    Ranebennur Black Buck Sanctuary

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    A good example of scrub forest, this sanctuary is an ideal place to spot Sand Grouse, Indian Courser and was once home to the Great Indian Bustard. Other birds sighted here are Sirkeer Malkoha, large grey babbler, Baybacked Shrike, Black Drongo, Peafowl etc.
    October to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Hubli (120 Mks)
  • Nearest Rail : Ranebennur Town(08 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. 120 Kms from Hubli.
    2. 301 km from Bangalore.
    A forest rest house on the sanctuary boundary at Gangajala and lodges in Ranebennur town.
    Malasa Marthanda Bhairava Temple at Devargudda is around 8 km from Ranebennur Town. Galageshwara Shiva Temple at Galaganath which is around 40km from Ranebennur Town.
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    Daroji Sanctuary

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    The Daroji Bear Sanctuary near Hampi plays host to more than 90 species of birds and 27 species of butterflies. This scrub forest is located in Bellary district in Karnataka. It is spread over 55.87 square km. The sanctuary was exclusively created for the preservation of Indian Sloth bears. The area between Daroji in Sandur taluk and Ramasagar ofHospet Taluk host to the Sloth Bears. The visiting hours is 6.00 am to 6.00 pm on all seven days, there is a watch tower.
    August to April.
  • Nearest Airport : Hubli (150 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Hospet (20 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Kamlapur (10 Kms) and Hampi (15 Kms).
    Government: Forest Guest House, Kamalapur and Gunda Forest Guest House, Vyasanakere near Hospet. HPC guest house, HPC, Kamalapura. PWD guest house Kamalapura. KSTDC's Mayur Bhuvaneshwari, Kamalapura. "Vaikuntha" TB board guesthouse Hospet. Private: Mallige Tourist Home, Bellary road, Hospet-583 201. Ph: +91-8394-228101 to 16. E-mail: malligihome@hotmail.com. Priyadarshini Lodge, station road, Hospet. Ph: +91-8394-228838, 228096, 227313, Fax : +91-0894-224709 E-mail: priyainhampi@india.com .
    The architectural marvel of Hampi. TB Dam. Sandur and the nearby Ramanadurga Hill Station.
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    Magadi Wetland

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    It is one of the Biodiversity hotspots in North Karnataka. The Magadi tank where the sanctuary is created is located in Magadi village of Shirhatti Taluk, Gadag District. The main attraction here is the Bar Headed Geese, a migratory visitor. It is a treat to see these birds follow their scheduled arrival and departure at the tank.
    November to February.
  • Nearest Airport : Hubli (75 Mks)
  • Nearest Rail : Gadag(26 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Hubli (75 Mks).
    2. Gadag(26 Kms).
    Comfortable accomodation are available at:- Lakshmeshwar (13 Kms) Gadag(26 Kms)
    Lakshmeswar, the Someshwara temple and Jain Basadis of Shanka and Ananthanatha are tourist attractions. Lakkundi (37 Kms)is known for its temple archietecture. Currently Lakkundi has about 50 temples of various stature and antiquity. Owing to their uniqueness, sometimes these temples are simply referred to as Kalyani Chalukyas Temples.
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    Hidkal Reservoir

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    Constructed across Ghataprabha River, Hidkal Dam is situated at Hukkeri in Belgaum district in the state of Karnataka. About 20 migratory bird species visit the Ghataprabha-Hidkal belt every year. The reservoir plays host to several thousand Democile Cranes and other water bird in thousands during winter. The vast viewing distance is a major constraint at this location. The reservoir is at a distance of 60 Kms from Belgaum.
    November to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Belgaum (60 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Belgaum (60 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Belgaum (60 Kms).
    Belgaum is the closest city and accomodation is easily available.
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    Attiveri Bird Sanctuary

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    Attiveri bird sanctuary is situated in Kalghatgi taluk, Dharwad district of North Karnataka. It is spread over an area of 2.23 Sq. Km. The reservoir here covers around 1.01 Sq. Km., and the rest of the area is dry deciduous forest with fruit and flowering trees. In august 2000, Attiveri was declared as a bird sanctuary. 79 species of birds visit this place every year from around 22 countries. The winter migration is an awesome sight to behold with thousands of birds flocking the sanctuary jostling to build a place of their own. The Attiveri Bird Sanctuary is home to several species of birds including the likes of the Indian Cormorant, Grey Francolin, Green Bee-eater, Little Cormorant, Darter, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and others collect here from June to October. Other birds in the sanctuary include Brown Shrike, Bay-backed Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike, Barn Swallow, Rose-ringed Parakeet and many others. With luck, you can also spot several wild animals like Jackal, Wild Boar, Indian Porcupine, Indian Pangolin, Small Indian Civet, Common Palm Civet, Grey Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Black-naped Hare and others within the vicinity of the sanctuary.
    November to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Hubli (40 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Hubli (40 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Mundgod (10 Kms) and Hubli (40 Kms).
    Guest House within the sanctuary has two rooms and 10 bed dormitory. Some private rest houses are available around the sanctuary. Mundgod also can be a good base station due to its proximity.
    Siddarood Matt at Hubli. Tibetian Settlement and Temple at Mundgod.
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    Bonal Lake

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    This lake in Bonal village of Yadgir district near Gulbarga is one of the largest lakes in North Karnataka. It is the second largest bird sanctuary in the state. A few miles drive from the Wagangera Fort in Surpur taluk will take you to this unique bird sanctuary. The tank was built by Pam Naik in the 17th century and expanded to counter drought during the British rule. This lake is placed on the list of identified wetlands under national wetland conservation. Several thousand water birds are seen during the winter migration period (November to April). The perennial nature of the tank and the availability of food throughout the year, has made it a favourite nestling place for migratory birds. Some of the birds that can be sighted here are Large Egret, Purple Heron, Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, White Necked Stork, White Ibis, Black Ibis, Brahminy Duck, Bar Headed Goose Pintail, Common Teal, Tede, Pochard, Indian Shag, Snake Bird, Common Pochard, Indian Moorhen, Purple Moorhen, Coot, Large Cormorant, and Little Cormorant. However, Little has been studied about the birds in this lake.
    November to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Hyderabad (180 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Yadgir (64 Kms) .
  • By Road : Shahapur (40 Kms) .
    1. Peth Ammapur is the nearest town 5 Kms
    Both Yadgir and Shahapur have decent accomodation.
    The sleeping buddha at Sahapur is a major attraction.

    Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary

    Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in the Western Ghats, in KhanapurTaluk of Belgaum District near Jamboti Village, Karnataka state, India. This Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests forest area was long awaiting to be a wild life sanctuary and finally declared in December 2011. The Bhimgad forests are notable for the Barapede caves, the only known breeding area of the Wroughton’s free-tailed bat, a threatened species on the verge of extinction. Barapadi is a small village 40 Kms from Belgaum in Khanapur Taluk of Belgaum District. The cave is adjacent to the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary. Their habitat is threatened by limestone miners and timber contractors, and the cave could be submerged if a nearby Mahadeyi river were dammed for a hydroelectric plant as proposed by the Karnataka Government. It is one of the 15 most critically endangered bat species in the world The sanctuary, with beautiful mosaic of woodlands and grass lands, is home to tigers, leopards,gaur, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, chitals, foxes, wild dogs, king cobras elephants, and other threatened species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The forests are a part of vital tiger corridors – one linking the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary inMaharashtra and the other linking Dandeli and the Molem Wildlife Sanctuary. The terrian is very difficult to negotiate and is a challenge to the most hardened veterans.
    November to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Belgaum (35 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Belgaum (35 Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Belgaum (35 Kms).
    Belgaum city would be the ideal place of stay. The city has plenty of accomodation at all price levels.
    Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
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    Ghataprabha Bird Sanctuary

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    It is located in the Gokak taluk of Belgaum district in Karnataka. Situated along the Ghataprabha river the boundaries of the sanctuary enclose a stretch of about 28 km of the river Ghataprabha, including the reservoir resulting from the dam built near Dhupdhal, and over 20 islands along the stretch. This sanctuary is known for migratory birds like demoiselle crane and European white stork.
    November to March.
  • Nearest Airport : Belgaum (58 Kms)
  • Nearest Rail : Ghataprabha (__ Kms) .
  • By Road
    1. Belgaum (58 Kms).
    Guest House within the sanctuary has two rooms and 10 bed dormitory. Some private rest houses are available around the sanctuary. Mundgod also can be a good base station due to its proximity.
    Siddarood Matt at Hubli. Tibetian Settlement and Temple at Mundgod.
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    Bird Watching

    Bird watching or birding is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars. Bird watching, also called birding, is an activity which involves observing wild birds in their natural habitat. People at all levels of fitness and knowledge can be birders. There are a number of reasons to participate in bird watching, but most birders say that they simply enjoy the opportunity to go outside, learn about nature, and spend time with people who have like interests. The scientific study of birds is called ornithology.

    Birding Tips For Beginners

    1. Go out , Sure you can find birds in the local park, even your own garden but visiting different habitats means finding more species.
    2. Timing is everything. Birds are most active during the first two hours after sunrise and before sunset, be there during this period of activity.
    3. Hear it, spot the bird.Be alert to Calls and Movement. This will help to locate birds. While looking for birds dont let your eyes linger on one spot for too long. Try it, it really works.
    4. A Good pair of Binoculars will enable identification and enhance the enjoyment of Bird watching. For more information, refer to binoculars section.
    5. Get an illustrated Field Guide .You will sooner than latter want more information, that only a field guide can provide.
    6. Carry a pen and notebook. Make notes, one cannot remember all that one see in an outing. Keeping notes will also help in identifying new species post the fact. Morever, meticulous notes are vital inputs for conservational efforts.
    7. Avoid bright colored clothes. For once let the birds get all the attention, Whites are a NO NO . Grey, Browns and Greens are the way to go.
    8. Tag along with Experience. In the early stages go birding with an experienced birder and listen carefully to what they say and observe their movements while getting into a good position to watch birds without disturbing them.
    9. Make bird sighting records. Records of sightings, activity and odd behavior can be rewarding.Apps like ebird, mybirdapp helps. Refer to Ebird.com


    The basic tool to enjoy birding is a good pair of Binoculars. Every Binocular is classified on the basis of two numbers with an X (8 X 40 mm) in-between them.

  • The first number indicates the power of magnification.
  • The second number indicates the diameter of the objective lens in mm.
  • The greater the first number, the higher the magnification and the greater the second number, the greater the amount of light gathered and therefore the brighter/sharper the image.

    Binoculars Buying Guide

  • Premium Range Binoculars: starts upwards of Rs 40, 000
    • Swarovski

  • Medium Range Binoculars: around Rs. 25, 000
    • Nikon

  • Economy Binoculars
    • Nikon

    Our Recommendation

  • Nikon 10 X 42 waterproof approximate cost Rs.20, 000.

  • Note

    A 8 X 40 or 10 X 42 magnification would be an ideal binocular for Birding. More experienced birders can use 10 X 50 magnification binoculars. These require steadier hands, although this would restrict the field of vision and make the binocular heavy.

    Birding Ethics

    Birds are wild creatures under constant threat for survival because of shrinking of habitat and pollution. The least one can do is not to make things any worse for them by their actions. So, whether your interest in birds is photography, sound-recording or birding, remember that the interests of the subject must always come first. The following are some do's and don'ts for birdwatching.
    1. Support the protection of important bird habitats.
    2. Avoid chasing, repeatedly flushing, excessive use of squeakers and "pishing"
    3. Avoid the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.
    4. Repeatedly playing a recording of bird song or calls to encourage a bird to respond can divert a territorial bird from other important duties, such as feeding its young. Never use playback to attract a species during its breeding season.
    5. Do not ever use recordings to attract birds in Protected Areas.
    6. Keep well away from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites to avoid disturbance and exposure to predators
    7. Do not photograph nesting birds as this encourages poor ethics and draws attention of predators to nests.
    8. Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.
    9. Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.

    Bird Habitat

    India contains several different types of forests. Apart from the coastal mangroves, inland we have wet evergreen dry deciduous and desert thorn forests. Hill and mountain forests contain mixed broadleaf, moist oak, rhododendron and dry coniferous forests of pine, cedar and fir. Most forests are now declining. Forest birds are difficult to see, especially when they are concealed in dense canopy. They are best seen in clearings, flying from tree to tree or on the edge of forests. Frequently, assorted species form hunting groups or parties and move together through the forest searching for food. Finding and watching such groups is one of the best ways of seeing forest birds

    Deciduous Forest

    Deciduous Forest are made of trees that shed leaves during summer and get fresh leaves during spring. A very ideal place to watch forest birds because of open canopy, birds give confiding views. Fruit eating birds like Hornbills, Green Pigeons, Chloropsis, Bulbuls are easily seen in these forests(To be developed by VMR). A significant portion of Uttara Kannada district like Haliyal, Dandeli, Sirsi, Yellapur, Khanapur, Belgaum, Kalghatgi in Dharwad district are the places where these type of forests are encountered.

    Evergreen Forest

    A very fine habitat although very difficult to sight birds, this habitat is a treasure house of the Western Ghat endemics like the White bellied Treepie, Ruby throated Bulbul, Grey headed bulbul are some of the endemics encountered here. This habitat mainly occurs on the ridgeline of the Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada and Belgaum districts.

    Scrub Forest

    This environment occurs where the soil is not conducive for growth of rich and luxuriant vegetation. Degraded forest often turns into scrub forest. Other places where scrub forest occur are boulder strewn hills with poor rain fall and the fringes of wetland where the soil condition is saline or waterlogged. Birds like Great Indian Bustard and Jerdon’s courser inhabit this kind of Forest. The Black Buck Sanctuary in Ranebenur and Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary near Hospet are prime examples of this habitat.
    The most important grasslands in our region are those occurring along the foothills of the Himalayas, the floodplains of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, the arid grasslands of the Thar Desert and those in peninsular India. These grasslands are under grave threat. The need for more farmland has meant that huge areas are being converted, drained and over-grazed. Birds like the Indian Bustard and the Swamp Francolin are highly threatened. The Bengal Florican, the Bristled Grassbird, the Rufous-vented Prinia and the Finn's Baya are grassland birds that may soon become extinct.
    Though less than 50% of the region is cultivated, the biggest threat to natural habitats is from the ever increasing need to bring more and more land under cultivation to meet the food needs of the people. Every day large tracts of forests and grassland are cleared and marshes drained. While some birds like pigeons, doves and francolins can thrive on cultivated lands, every day natural habitat declines - putting more pressure on an already fragile ecosystem.


    This sounds obvious, but many birders spend the majority of their bird watching time and energy on poor locations. Some people have the advantage of looking out of their windows into the back yard to observe Nature's best. The rest of us need to get moving..
    Mangroves, lakes, minor irrigation tanks, large and small reservoirs, rivers, bogs and other water bodies are loosely called wetlands, where water birds are to be found. Eg. Ducks and waders especially Wigeons, Bar-headed geese etc.,.
    The coasts and Islands along the coast and at times the bigger Islands form the marine habitats. Birds like the White bellied sea Eagle, Gulls, frigates and many waders are found in this habitat. The shores of Karwar, Ankola, Kumta are the best example of this habitat in NKBN territory.

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