India is home to a dazzling cornucopia of birdlife, in large part due to the diverse ecosystems that exist in the country. It has been estimated that there are 1250 species (approx.) in the country (around 13 percent of the total number of species in the world), both resident and migratory. Out of the 1250, more than 100 are endemic to India (77 are endangered). For the purposes of avifauna classification, India is divided into 13 bio-geographical zones: Trans Himalayan, Western Himalayas, Eastern Himalayas, Desert, Semi-arid, Gangetic Plain, Central India, Deccan Plateau, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, North East, Coasts, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

When is the best time to bird in India?

As a rule, the winter months (October/November to February/March) are ideal for birdwatching – not only is the weather more clement, this is also the time of year when the migratory birds come calling. If you want to catch sight of the Sarus crane at Keoladeo (and other aquatic birds), head there just as the monsoon arrives. But even in summer, the dedicated birding enthusiast will find species aplenty, both in the north and in the south of the country (as long as he or she doesn’t mind the heat!).