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Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary

Koonthankulam Birds Sanctuary is a unique sanctuary actively protected and managed by the Koonthakulam village community. The largest breeding water bird reserve in south India attracts more than one lakh birs annually. It is located 35 kms away from Tirunelveli in Tirunelveli Thisaianvilai Road comprising of Koonthankulam and Kadankulam tanks covering an extent of 129.33 hectares and declared as sanctuary in 1994.
It is significant that the local people have taken keen interest in protecting this sanctuary and they live together in total symbiotic relationship.

Barheaded Goosel
Night Heron
The birds coming to their backyards for five generations are protected vehemently by villagers and regarded as harbingers of luck. The excreta of birds –‘guano’ is collected by villagers in summer along with silt to use as fertilizer in their fields. From children to grannies in the village all protect them, their nests and fledgelings. Chicks fallen are taken care of in the rescue centre till they are able to fly on their own. Anybody troubling the nests are punished inn their own methods of shaving the head, or making the procession on donkey.


The Babul plantation of 30 ha. in koonthakulam is th emain breeding ground.
More than 43 water birds both resident and migratory are visiting every year regularly in the month of January/February and used to vacate in the month of July/August after nesting, hatching and nurturing the young once. Many large water birds especially Painted stork, Flamingos have been nesting annually around koonthankulam village over a long period . Accacia nilotica trees grown in the tank foreshores by the Social Forestry Division of Forest Department and also in village trees.
The following migratory birds visit this area from different countries mentioned against them.
1. Barheaded Goose Siberia 7. White stork Germany
2. Pintail Siberia 8. Large flamingo Partially from Germany
3. Spotted Sand Piper Siberia 9. Common Sand Piper Lower part of Ladak
4. Green Sand Piper Siberia 10. Common Teal Siberia
5. Green Shank Northern end of Siberia 11. Pallavan Siberia
6. Coot Central Siberia    

Painted Stork
The following water birds also play an important role in occupying the trees in and around the Koonthankulam Sanctuary during January to August of every year from other parts of our country.
1. Dabchick or Little Grebe 18. White Ibis
2. Grey or Spottedbilled Pelican 19 Glossy Ibis
3. Large Cormorant 20. Spoonbill
4. Lesser Cormorant 21. Spotbill Duck
5. Little Cormorant 22. Cotton Teal or Pygmy Goose
6. Grey Heron 23. Indian Moorhen
7. Purple Heron 24. Purple Moorhen
8. Darter or Snake Bird 25. Pheasant-tailed Jacana
9. Large Egret 26. Bronzewinged Jacana
10. Pond Heron 27. Brahminy Kite
11. Cattle Egret 28. Whitebreasted Waterhen
12. Smaller or Medium Egret 29. Blackwinged Stilt
13. Little Egret 30. Redwattled Lapwing
14. Night Heron 31. Pied Kingfisher
15. Painted Stork 32. Whitebreasted Kingfisher
16. Openbill Stork 33. Indian Pied Wagtail
17. Small king fisher    
Tirunelveli -- 35 kms
Nazareth -- 15 kms
Railway : Tirunelveli -- 35 kms
Airport : Madurai – 200 kms
               Trivandrum -- 250 kms
Tourist info

An Interpretation Centre is constructed.Tar road links the tank conveniently. A watch tower is constructed. A childerns park is created.
A Dormitary is constructed.

Open Season Throughout the year
Best time to visit - November to April
Climate (March to October) 20oC – 40o C


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