Ranganthittu was formed as a result of a small dam across the river Cauvery in the 1600s. The Bird Sanctuary at Ranganathittu owes its existence to the world famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali who convinced the Maharaja of Mysore in 1940 to declare Ranganthittu as a protected area. The sanctuary is not very large it covers an area of 0.67sq.km. But is home to a great variety of birds and a few reptiles. It is said that the sanctuary is a sight to behold during the nesting season of the birds from June to November. T
he sanctuary is home to a wide species of birds including cormorants, darters, white ibis, spoon billed storks, open billed storks, painted storks, white necked storks, egrets, herons, terns, swallows, kingfishers, sandpiper etc. There are a few mammals in the sanctuary like fruit bats, bonnet macaques, palm civets, common mongoose and common otters. Marsh crocodiles make up the reptile population of the sanctuary.
Flora and Fauna:
Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary has a rich wealth of wild flora and fauna. It is a wonderful sanctuary, full with lush green vegetation. In woods and open grass lands, numerous birds, namely, Black-rumped Flameback, Rufous Tree pie, Eurasian Golden Oriole Asian Paradise-flycatcher etc are found.
Large trees are the safe haven for the water birds. Famous water birds are Great Cormorant, Darter, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Purple Heron, Asian Openbill, Eurasian Spoonbill, Black-headed Ibis, Spot-billed Pelican, Painted Stork, Spotbill Duck, Lesser Whistling-duck, River Tern, Black-bellied Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Great Thick-knee, Wire-tailed Swallow, Pied Kingfisher and White-browed Wagtail. Other water birds, namely, Egrets, herons, ibises, cormorants, pelicans, open bills and spoonbills breed between May and early September.
The breeding season arrives here in this riverine island early in the year enriched by the high organic content of the surrounding agricultural tracts and the seasonal flow-levels of the river. River Terns and Great Thick-knees breed on the rocks in the summer days. Between the months of late July and October, the Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary is thronged with young birds rested on low branches or on the projecting rockbeds.
Apart from a few raptors, the nesting birds find protection from hunters and predators. These include Osprey, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier , Black-shouldered Kite, Brahminy Kite, Pallid Harrier, and Shikra.
Crocodiles and other reptiles are found basking on these rocks. These include Smooth Indian Otter, Bonnet Macaque. Also huge congregations of bats, specially the Indian Flying Fox, are founding resting on trees.
Major Wildlife Attractions:
The sanctuary, even though it lacks a sprawling area, is a delightful place to visit. What makes it inviting is that it is an important Asian nesting and breeding ground for migratory birds from all across the earth. Some species of birds that are known to have made Ranganathittu their breeding abode are spoonbills, open bill storks, darters, white Ibis, little cormorants, egret, heron, partridge, river tern, stone plougher, snake bird, and other exotic bird species that fly to the sanctuary in large flocks. Park officials and experts have traced the origins of some of these bird species to as far as Siberia, Australia and even North America. A record number of 1,400 painted storks visited the area in 1999. 2000. Local inhabitants like kingfishers and peacocks are also found in this avian bliss
Migratory birds lay their eggs on islets in the river. The authorities have created additional islets at the sanctuary to make way for more number of birds to lay eggs and breed. The birds begin arriving in the sanctuary in December every year. The migratory birds lay eggs and breed until they finally move out of the sanctuary with their little ones in August, only to return yet again the following year.
Other Wildlife Attractions:
The sight of fruit bats, crocodiles and birds flying around is a beautiful sight to watch. You can take a boat ride around the sanctuary and get a closer look at the birds and the crocodiles. The entrance of the park has huge bamboo surrounding the winding path. On both sides of the path are boards with pictures and information about the different birds that are found in the sanctuary. There is a small canteen situated near the lake made in a clearing between the bamboos.
Best Time to Visit:
The best season to visit the sanctuary is May-September and October. If you are a nature enthusiast it is best to visit the sanctuary in the early hours of the morning before the sanctuary gets crowded with visitors.
How to Get there:
Air: Hyderabad is located at a distance of 316 kilometers
Rail: Well connected through Hyderabad as well as via Markapur (85 kilometers away) on the South Central Railway.
Road: You can take bus from Kurnool at a distance of 190 kilometers from Srisailam, Guntur at a distance of 220 kilometers from Srisailam, Chennai at a distance of 470 kilometers from Srisailam and Mannanur at a distance of 85 kilometers from Srisailam.
Srisailam and Mannanur (85 Kms.)
Crocodiles, Open bill storks, Darters, White Ibis