Kanha National Park Birds Information| Singinawa Jungle Lodge

BIRDS OF KANHA

RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus)

Common Resident

Even if you miss a Red-wattled Lapwing on the ground, its calls are difficult to miss. The loud ‘did you do it’ calls can be heard from far, and can be heard frequently. The ground-dwelling bird can be easily spotted in forests, as well as in rural and urban landscapes, wherever there is a clear open space and a waterbody nearby. The red wattle (patch of skin on a bird’s body not covered with feathers) at the base of the beak is the only brightly-coloured patch on an otherwise dull-coloured bird. In some parts of India it is believed that the bird is gifted with weather-forecasting powers, and builds it nest at a safe distance from the water’s edge depending on how good or bad the rains are going to be!

ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

Common Resident

The Asian Koel is a bird most would be familiar with. Its melodious calls are popularly used to compliment sweet voice. The male is all black, while the female is spotted and barred in brown and white all over. The Asian Koel is a brood parasite (i.e. lays eggs in other bird’s nest) on crow’s nest. During the summers, when the Asian Koel is ready to mate, its calls can be heard far and wide and repeatedly throughout the day. Although the koel prefers wooded areas, it can adapt to live within human habitations too.

GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis)

Common Resident

The large bird is known by several vernacular and alternate names; in English it also called and crow pheasant, although it is related to neither. The Greater Coucal actually is closely related to cuckoos, but builds it own nest. A reluctant flier, the Greater Cocual spends a lot of time closer to the ground. When disturbed, it runs on the ground and cumbersomely hops up branches to gain height. Its loud and resonating (somewhat primate-like) calls can be heard frequently in the morning. The Greater Coucal feeds on various smaller animals, including insects, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, and even picks up young birds from nests.

JUNGLE OWLET (Glaucidium radiatum)

Common Resident

The pocket-sized Jungle Owlet is the most ubiquitous species of owl in Kanha. Heavily barred with brown, the only striking feature of the owl are its piercing yellow eyes. Although chiefly active at dawn and dusk, the owlet can sometimes be seen even during the daytime. Their calls, once again a frequent feature at dawn and dusk, can be regularly heard at the lodge. The Jungle Owlet preys up on smaller birds, reptiles and mammals, but are sometimes known to take down birds bigger than themselves, such as doves, too!

COMMON HOOPOE (Upupa epops)

Uncommon Resident

The Common Hoopoe is a unique bird, with no close relative in the avian kingdom. Its taxonomy has hence always been confusing, with the bird being associated with kingfishers and hornbills, before being allocated its own unique group. The hoopoe uses its long beak to probe for insects and other invertebrates, as well as small amphibians and reptiles, in soft earth and among grasses. A popular character in European and Islamic culture, the Common Hoopoe has been associated with both good and bad omens. Sightings of the hoopoe increase in the winters in Kanha. In the Singinawa premises, one can find the hoopoe mostly flying over the tree line, but can be sometimes spotted foraging on the ground in the grassland patch.

INDIAN ROLLER (Coracias benghalensis)

Common Resident

The Indian Roller is easily one of the most beautiful birds of India. The brilliant, electric hues of blue are difficult to miss, especially if you see this bird in flight. In Singinawa, one can easily see this bird in the open grasslands, perched atop some tree, keeping an eye out for a stray insect or a lizard on the ground. During mating season, male Indian Rollers are known to engage in an aerial display which demonstrates their mastery in the art of flying, and gives the birds their English name. The bird is known as neelkanth in Hindi, and is thus associated with Lord Shiva. During the festival of Mahashivratri, in some parts of South India, Indian Rollers are caught and released, an act which is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. Unfortunately, several individuals die because of the stress caused in captivity.

GREEN BEE-EATER (Merops orientalis)

Common Resident

The Green Bee-eater is one of the most acrobatic fliers among the birds of Kanha. The tiny, green bird catches insects in flight, and hence has to be agile enough in flight. Everything from butterflies and moths, to dragonflies, bees and wasps are on the menu for the bee-eater. Once a target is acquired, the bee-eater makes sorties from its perch and usually returns to the same perch with its catch. Hard exoskeletons and harmful stings are dealt with by repeatedly thrashing the prey on the perch, before consuming it. Green Bee-eaters can be usually seen in small groups perched high up on bare branches, looking out for prey.

BROWN-HEADED BARBET (Psilopogon zeylanicus)

Common Resident

The Brown-headed Barbet is a plump-looking, large barbet. It is an arboreal species, and despite its bright green colours, camouflages well in tree canopies. Just like any other barbet, the Brown-headed Barbet uses its thick bill to chisel out a cavity on tree trunks to nest in. Largely frugivorrous, Brown-headed Barbets feed on many commercially important fruits, such as mangoes, papayas, bananas and figs. As a result, these birds have grown tolerant of human movement and are a common sight in many populated cities as well. The best place to find this barbet in Singinawa in atop any one of the large mango or Ficus tree when it is fruiting.

INDIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus kundoo)

Common Resident

The Indian Golden Oriole, with its bright yellow plumage, is one of the most striking bird of Kanha. It comes as no wonder hence that most of the local names of the bird in India translate to the word ‘turmeric’. It was previously considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Golden Oriole, but now considered to be a distinct species by itself. The easiest way to distinguish the the Indian Golden Oriole from its Eurasian counterpart is by the presence of the black stripe extending beyond the eye, as opposed to ending at the eye in the Eurasian counterpart. Females and juvenile birds are slightly duller in colour than adult males. If you are lucky, you might spot the brightly-coloured oriole atop one of the tall trees in Singinawa.

RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda)

Common Resident

One look at the Rufous Treepie is not enough to comprehend that bird is a relative of the crow. But a closer look at its bill will reveal an uncanny resemblance to the urban scavenger’s beak. Otherwise, the Rufous Treepie is a brilliantly-coloured bird, mostly with reddish-brown (rufous colour), and a long black and white tail. Even the eating habits of the treepie closely resemble those of crows, as they make do with whatever is available in the forest. They are known to feed on fruits, seeds, insects, small reptiles and amphibians, nestlings and even scavenge! The treepie is a bird of the woodlands, and can be easily seen moving through the canopy in the Singinawa premises.

INDIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus kundoo)

Common Resident

The Indian Golden Oriole, with its bright yellow plumage, is one of the most striking bird of Kanha. It comes as no wonder hence that most of the local names of the bird in India translate to the word ‘turmeric’. It was previously considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Golden Oriole, but now considered to be a distinct species by itself. The easiest way to distinguish the the Indian Golden Oriole from its Eurasian counterpart is by the presence of the black stripe extending beyond the eye, as opposed to ending at the eye in the Eurasian counterpart. Females and juvenile birds are slightly duller in colour than adult males. If you are lucky, you might spot the brightly-coloured oriole atop one of the tall trees in Singinawa.

Birding Itinerary 5 Nights Program

Singinawa Jungle Lodge

“Singinawa” is a Sherpa word, which stands for – ‘Protectors of the Sacred Forest’. Spread over 110 acres of reclaimed and resurrected jungle in the Tiger Heartland of the World, Singinawa Jungle Lodge offers a unique experience of the forests of Central India. With 12 alluring stone cottages and 4 commodious avifauna themed rooms in a snug house called The Perch, Singinawa offers beyond compare accommodation. Set in an embrace of trees, is a stately stone Main building with whimsical and eclectic elements of great ingenuity. It holds the reception, a lounge, a gorgeous sit-out, a souvenir shop and a choice of dining venues. We at Singinawa offer you a chance not only to learn about the jungle and its environs, but also give you the chance to experience ecologically responsible tourism and see conservation at work; benefiting both local communities and the Tiger Reserve.

Set in the buffer forest of Kanha, Singinawa is in itself a regularly visited refuge for much of Kanha’s wildlife as it merges with the jungles to the east while the Tannaur River protects and beautifies its western limits with a perennial flow of water. We share a unique, yet wholistic ecosystem with animals like the highly endangered Tiger, the extremely elusive Leopard, the nocturnal Flying squirrels and Civets, the mighty Gaur, a stunning array of birds and the less discussed insects, spiders, frogs and snakes. The flora too is just as enthralling with a sweeping range of trees, plants and shrubs. Sprawling grasslands, rocky nullahs and dense Bamboo and Sal patches here are home to several herds of spotted deer, troops of langur and sounder of wild bore that are seen quite often. With a sizeable record of over 170 species of birds on our grounds, the private patio of every cottage is a heaven for all the bird watchers.

Kanha National Park

Taking the fast lane in tiger land, there is no better way to bring the experience alive than with great guiding by Singinawa’s Lodge naturalists. These experienced, smart and quickwitted members of our team are some of the best you will encounter in the field, with expertise in insects, plants and birds as well as mammals and reptiles. While Kanha Tiger Reserve is the only places in the world to see the Hard Ground Swamp Deer, it is just as exceptional to spot the majestic Tiger. The tricksy Langurs, nimble deer and antelopes, skittish Leopards, evasive Wild dogs and mighty Gaur fearlessly wander around their 940sq km home. Interestingly it is also one of the best places in Central India to see the nocturnal Indian Giant Flying Squirrel. The range of lesser mammals also includes the Golden Jackal, Small Indian civet, Palm civet, Black-naped hare, Jungle Cat and the rare India porcupine, Indian Fox, Mouse Deer, Rusty-spotted Cat, Leopard Cat, Honey Badger and Indian Pangolin.

Kanha Museum Of Life And Art

Nestled congruously within the estate, the 1000 square foot museum is an ode to the indigenous Gond and Baiga artisans and their labours of love. Mirroring the undulating curves of the forest, the museum is designed to host pieces of art that are placed in a fashion that allows the viewer to glide through a visual escapade without being bound by the realms of soporific and predictable patterns. An allegorical homage to the free spirit of nature, the museum will also host art installations in the open with a focus on the ethos of Kanha.

Itinerary

The main agenda of this program is to give Wild life enthusiasts a wholistic perspective about the wild – fauna and flora, the environment – the benefits of conserving and preserving, the local tribes and clans of Kanha – their ways of life. There is no better way to do that than take one through a program at the neck of the woods. The program not only includes theory sessions on fauna and flora, interesting wildlife facts, habitats and conservation and local art forms, but also involves jeep safaris in the core area, walks and cycling in the buffer forest, an interactive session with local Gond artists and a village visit.

5 Nights/6 Days at Kanha

Please Note – Timings

Lunch – 1:00pm-2:00pm – Will be between morning and afternoon/evening activity
Dinner – 7:30pm-8:30pm – Will be the last event for the day, after afternoon/evening activity

Day 1:

Arrive at Singinawa Jungle Lodge by 11:00am. It is a 4hr drive from both Jabalpur and Raipur. After a welcome drink and general orientation, settle into the room. Following lunch, the guests will be given a tour of the property and a briefing by their respective naturalists, about their plan over the duration of their stay followed by a walk which takes place in the buffer forest that adjoins Singinawa along the river Tannaur. The walk is aimed at experiencing the forest through all five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch and awakening the sixth sense – intuition or instinct.

Being on foot allows the senses to be permeated by the Jungle and opens a secret world that is normally missed when in a vehicle on safari. The focus of the walk will be on wildlife viewing but with a focus on interpretation of tracks and jungle signs. The length of walks can be tailored but typically last a couple of hours, stopping en-route for refreshments/ picnics.

Please Note: Binoculars and field guides will be provided by the lodge. They will also be given mammal, bird and butterfly checklists for Kanha.

Day 2:

This morning will see the first jeep drive into Kanha National Park. We will meet at 5:15am for their morning drink and set out by 5:35am. Packed breakfast will be carried into the park. The guests will use their binoculars and field guides to identify various fauna and flora. We will stop for birds and mammals and help them identify and tick them on their checklists. We are most likely to see spotted deer, sambar, langur, wild bore, swarmp deer, jackals and the Tiger if we get extremely lucky. Birds that we will most likely see – Indian Roller, Rufous Treepie, Honey Buzzard, Serpent Eagle, Drongos, Owlet, Kingfishers, Woodpeckers and Wagtails.

After a short period of rest, the guests will visit the Kanha Museum of Life and Art. Following this, they will be taken on a village walk. Here, they can observe the ways of life of the Baiga and Gond tribes, visit a farmer’s field, the local school and a lot more. They will also witness a talk by a local Gond artist, followed by a fun art activity. On our way back from the village, we will stop at a Baiga’s brickyard. This particular brickyard is rather special, as the bricks here are not made of clay, but are made of “Lantana” plant matter.

The evening will comprise of a presentation on “India Wildlife” by one of the naturalists, emphasizing on some of the unique eco-systems, dynamics of species radiation and evolution.

Day 3:

This day will be a day of Safaris, One in the morning and one in the evening. The hours in between the safaris are to relax or maybe a trip to the spa or the Pool. The guests will join our naturalists to set up the camera traps with-in the premises after dinner. It is interesting to see how there are some unexpected species that show up in these cameras when one views them the next day.

Day 4:

This morning we again meet early, at 6:15am, for their morning drink. We set out by 6:45am into the buffer zone, on cycles or by walk, depending on what the guests prefer. They will be educated about the lesser-discussed aspects of wilderness like plants, butterflies, dragonflies and tracks and signs of various fauna. They can also learn to use a “Sound Recording Device” and try their hands on recording birdcalls and other voices of the jungle. During the morning activity, each guests will also be given a sapling that they will be taught to plant; as each plant requires it’s own unique way of nurturing. After lunch, the guests will go back into the Kanha National Park on a jeep drive. Dinner tonight will be outdoors at an area called “Leopard Rock”. It is a stunning candlelight set up below a banyan tree.

Day 5:

This day will again be a full day safaris day with a morning and evening safari. The time between the safaris could be used to visit the local village market. Mohgaon, Baihar and Sarekha are three village marts, on different days of the week, which offer a chance to experience the charming chaos of traditional markets. On offer you will find fresh farm produce, seeds and saplings, spices, bamboo wares, earthen pots and ethnic jewellery, the local tailor making instant blouses, the repair shop for transistor radios, the cobbler, knife sharpener, ear cleaner, local barber holding forth in his shop under a tree and congregations having a shot of ‘chai’ at the tea stalls all to the accompaniment of local music blaring from a small chai stall.

Day 6:

Day of departure. One could opt for another visit into the park or a walk depending upon the departure time.

Please Note: Departure time is flexible depending upon their flight/train timings

Birding Itinerary 4 Nights Program

At the start, we would like to mention here that the lists and species and maybe the spots chosen too may vary depending on the time of the year.

Day 1:

Drive to Singinawa Jungle Lodge set in the Mukki area of Kanha Tiger Reserve from Raipur/Nagpur/Jabalpur.

Singinawa Jungle Lodge is set in 110 acres of pristine mixed deciduous forests in the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve, one of the last strongholds of virgin wilderness and wildlife in the Central Indian Region. The grounds of the lodge are a mix of old Sal trees interspersed with deciduous forests, scrub, water holes and seasonal streams with cottages, a spa, a pool and many a luxurious dining options hidden perfectly amongst this wilderness. The lodge as such is situated at the banks of the Tannaur, a sleepy river that dries up partially in the summers exposing sandy spits, fertile banks and large boulders. The Tannaur flows further to join with the larger Banjar River that borders Kanha Tiger Reserve which in turn eventually meets with the Narmada, the largest river of the region. This beautiful hidden wilderness is the first sight that will welcome you on entering the Kanha Wilderness.
  • On arrival, you will receive freshly squeezed lemon drink and cold towels to beat the heat before you are walked on hidden trails towards the designated cottages.
  • We meet again at the Waterhole, our lovely bar that overlooks the Singinawa canopy, where you can meet with the team of naturalists over a glass of cold beer or your favourite cocktail or just a pot of earl grey. Your naturalists will be your companions in all activities related to the wilderness for the next three days.
  • Briefing by Manager and Naturalists followed by explanation of the habitat, bird species and how and where we will be looking for them. ( This is also the time to throw in your targets so that special plans can be made if necessary)
  • PS: The briefing may take longer if special bird species decide to listen to our naturalists in the branches overlooking the bar.
  • Drinks and Dinner
  • Day 2:

    Wake up at five and meet with your naturalist at the terrace of the main building for a cup of morning tea/coffee and some lazy birding. The means may be lazy but the setting of the terrace can be perfect for viewing from specials like the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Barbets, White-naped Woodpeckers, Black-naped Monarch Flycatcher and the vociferous Jungle Babblers who you would’ve heard right from the time of waking up.
    Once all charged up, we pick up our packed breakfasts and head out for a long walk that crosses the lodge grounds heading towards the Tannaur. This patch is all woodland where we will be looking for specials like the Spangled Drongos, the Shikra (a small hawk), the Common Hawk Cuckoo or the brain fever bird, a few lapwings in the grassland patches, Large Grey Babblers, Pygmy Woodpeckers, Tree Pipits, Grey Hornbills and many such hidden treasures that dot the woodland and low bushes interspersed in between. On meeting the Tannaur, we reach a patch of scrub, which is interestingly one of the best places to see the White-browed Bulbul, small populations of which were recently recorded in Central India. After this we walk along the banks crossing small riverine islands that are home to egrets, sandpipers, herons, wagtails, ibis and plovers, a forest department nursery with special flycatchers like the grey-headed canary, spotted fantail and if we are lucky, the majestic Indian Paradise Flycatcher too and finally, we reach a bund built by the local village authorities to hold the river flow and ensure water availability through the year. The reeds here provide ideal cover for our target birds, the two Bittern species, Cinnamon and Black, the sightings of which are very sporadic owing to the scale of the habitat and the small population of these birds here. We will stop here for breakfast on the banks of the deep water bund and take in the flocks of cormorants, kingfishers and if we are lucky, maybe even a Grey-headed Fish Eagle could come and perch on the dead trees that line the river bed. After breakfast, we start walking back through the fallow fields, a habitat of dry scrub and open spaces, looking for partridges, soaring eagles and well camouflaged pipits, chats and larks.

    Lunch at the lodge

    After noon – Jeep Safari into the mukki gate of Kanha Tiger Reserve where we will be looking for Sal and Bamboo forest specials like the Malabar Pied Hornbills, Rufous-bellied Eagles, Brown-cheelked Fulvettas, Scimitar and Puff-throated Babblers amongst others. The water holes built for animals to cool off and quench their thirst also attract good populations of storks including the European Black, Woolly necked and Open Bills amongst other waders and ducks. The Cotton Pygmy Goose, the smallest goose in the world, is another special that we can look for in the water bodies. All this, while tracking the majestic Bengal Tiger, hidden amongst the undergrowth of the Sal Forest and the state animal of Madhya Pradesh, Barasingha or Hard-ground Swamp Deer that feed among the Swamps and Grasslands.

    Return back to the lodge after safari by driving through the buffer of the Reserve. A nightjar or Owl at this point would be a lucky bonus.
    Drinks, dinner and lights out

    Day 3:

    Morning Safari into Kanha Zone ( zone optional) driving once again through the various magical microscapes of Kanha Tiger Reserve, hopefully more tigers, but more importantly and surely, more birds. Lookout for the Crested Hawk Eagles and Serpent Eagles that are waiting amongst the canopy to swoop down on unsuspecting prey like Red-Jungle Fowl or small rodents. One special raptor that is occasionally seen perching for the sun are the Jerdon’s Bazas. We can be sure that our stars are lining up if one of these handsome raptors show up.

    Another element of birding in the park is the wealth of grasslands, short and tall. The munias like white-rumped, scaly breasted and maybe even the gaudy Red Avadavat may grace us on these morning outings. The shy and well-hidden yellow-wattled lapwings are another bird to look out for in the grasslands.

    Evening Safari into the park. Followed by an evening property walk for Nocturnal Flying Squirrels, Owls especially the Scops Owls and the Brown Hawk Eagles and Nightjars.

    Day 4:

    All day outing to the plateaus of Phen WLS:

    Leave the lodge early again ( the curse for birders) , and drive past the lowland buffer forests of Kanha and head straight towards the ascent to the higher plateaus popularly known locally as the Garhi Road. The ascent runs from 300m asl to 750m asl at the highest point and then flattens out at a plateau that averages 600m asl.
    Stretch 1 : the ascent : the thick bamboo and Sal forests that cover the hill slopes are home to some of the biggest bird populations in the region. Mixed flocks here comprise scimitar babblers, white-rumped shamas, tickell’s flycatchers, small and scarlet minivets (maybe the rare long-tailed minivet too), yellow-crowned woodpeckers, flowerpeckers, sunbirds and many more beautiful denizens that cover the forests from bottom to the canopy. The hill slopes also provide ideal roosts for raptors like black eagles and other ambush predators who like to take prominent perches from where they survey the buffet line below. The special target birds in this area would be the Brown Wood Owl, a lone individual that prefers to stay hidden amongst a small grove of mango trees half way up and the beautiful but again, sadly elusive, Rufous Woodpeckers.
    Stretch 2: Once we reach the summit of the plateau we drive through small villages, fields and scattered woodlands to the entrance of Phen WLS. We can do breakfast on the way.
    Stretch 3: Phen Sanctuary
    A day drive through Phen with lunch in between is definitely the best way to wind up our Kanha birding holiday. The dry deciduous forests, Sal patches and most importantly, the true grasslands or dadar plateaus of Phenn are the last set of habitats to explore in Kanha. The lack of tiger movement can shift our attention from stripes to rossettes, dark black fur and red coats of Leopards, Sloth Bears and Wild Dogs or Dhole respectively. This habitat is also home to the extremely local Malabar Giant Squirrel, the largest squirrel of the region, that are often seen running through the canopy on the way up to the dadar grasslands. The grassland area is home to another special mammal, the Four-horned Antelope, the only antelope in the world that sports two pairs of horns. But we are here not just for mammals. So with regards to birds, the altitude and the habitat diversity give us access to many new families, such as, Swifts, martins, falcons, warblers (which we may not see that well in the dense foliage of Kanha) and lesser babblers. Crested Tree Swfits can be seen perched on the trees overlooking the gorge. The Peregrine, white-eyed buzzard and the Hobby are also often seen on these steep rock faces and grasslands. The Short-eared Owl is present here but is seldom seen because of their crepuscular and nocturnal habits.

    A day out at Phen, flexible in timing, ends with a drive back to the lodge, followed by a well-deserved relaxed evening that can be spent at the luxurious spaces of Singinawa.

    Day 5:

    A later start, 7, ( can’t be later than that) and we head to Bimodi Talab, one of the larger fishing lakes of the region where we bring out the birding scopes and look for waders and other wetland specials that this microhabitat has to offer. The deep water regions are ideal for Pochards, especially the extremely beautiful Red-crested Pochard. Great Crested Grebes are also sighted here often amongst other ducks. The banks and the reeds are ideal sites for Snipes like the Common, Pintailed and the special one, the Greater Painted Snipe. Breakfast will be setup at the banks overlooking the lake. As the sun comes out, the Ospreys and other raptors that hide amongst the forested surroundings start to emerge. We can stay back for all of this and munch through our breakfast till we are satisfied with the morning’s outing. Both the breakfast and the birds will be in plenty here. Return and Check out.

    ADDITIONAL ACTIVTITIES THAN CAN BE INCORPORATED IN THE DAILY SCHEDULE AS PER THE GUESTS PREFERENCE AND CHOICE:-

  • Visit the Kanha Museum of Life & Art – Nestled within the premises of Singinawa, is an ode to the various art forms of the various Tribal communities all over India. Embark on a guided tour of the museum, and participate in a live Gond Art workshop with an artist.
  • Meet The Tribal Potters of Baihar – Participate in live pottery experience with the tribal potters of Baihar, as they demonstrate their skills with earthenware. Bake the pots in a kiln and carry them home as your personal souvenir.
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