Catch spot-billed pelicans, openbill storks at Guntur's Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary

Just 3.5 km from NH-16, this bird sanctuary, located on around nine acres of land, is a must-visit spot. More than 30 species of birds have been arriving here every year for the past 50 years making the sanctuary a special home.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  23 Jan 2022 10:32 AM GMT
Catch spot-billed pelicans, openbill storks at Gunturs Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh is home to spot-billed pelicans, open storks, and spot-billed ducks. Wondering where these migratory birds can be found? You can visit the Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary in Pedakakani mandal in Guntur city.

Just 3.5 km from NH-16, this bird sanctuary, located on around nine acres of land, is a must-visit spot. More than 30 species of birds have been arriving here every year for the past 50 years making the sanctuary a special home.

Spot-billed pelicans, openbill storks, white IBIS, glossy IBIS, little cormorants, and spot-billed ducks are some of the birds that migrate from Siberia, Australia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan every year between September and March. January is one of the best months for tourists to catch these beauties.

Walking into the bird sanctuary and watching the birds in the waters is such a peaceful activity. While a bird swims across the pond in search of food, one can be seen busy collecting twigs to build a nest. Mostly feeding on fish, frogs, and aquatic insects, every species has a different breeding month.

If you're visiting this bird sanctuary, do take your camera to capture the best moments.

Photo Credit: Andhra Pradesh Tourism


History

According to the local residents, the birds of Uppalapadu Lake were once inhabitants of another lake called Garapadu Lake situated about four kilometers away in Garapadu village near Uppalapadu. Garapadu Lake was once highly suitable for bird nesting and feeding and flocks of birds visited the lake during the breeding season and consumed fish. However, the landowners realized that the birds were affecting pisciculture and the farmers began fearing that they were spoiling the crops. They resorted to various techniques like using loud sounds near the bird habitat to drive away the birds. In no time, there was a change and a majority of the birds stopped using Garapadu Lake as their breeding site.

What are Wetlands?

Wetlands are important aquatic ecosystems and act as critical breeding sites for different species of birds in India. Many migratory birds visit water bodies to lay eggs and raise their young and go back to their place once the young chicks are able to fly. The primary needs of the birds during their breeding period are to have suitable habitat to lay their eggs and a food source.

Development works

Over the years, the bird sanctuary has become a favourite spot for many tourists. Now, post-pandemic, the bird sanctuary under the forest department of Andhra Pradesh is planning to undertake development works worth Rs. 3.6 crore, including extending the pond.


Some of the birds at Uppalapada

· Spot-billed or grey pelican: These birds are about 140-150 cm and can be found throughout India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. Their nesting season is October-April. They lay around three eggs and mainly feed on fish.

· Openbill stork: This bird is 70 cm in size and is found throughout India and Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The general nesting season is from July to November. It lays two-four eggs and mainly feeds on snails, frogs, and crabs.

· Darter or Snake Bird: These birds, which are 77-85 cm, are found throughout India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. Their nesting season is from July to December. They lay three-four eggs and mostly feed on fish.

· Black Headed IBIS: These birds measure about 75 cm and are found throughout India. Their general nesting season is from June to March. They lay two-four eggs and feed on aquatic insects, fish, and frogs

· Glossy IBIS: These birds measure 52 cm and are found in the north and north-east India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Their nesting season is from May to July. They lay three-four eggs and feed on Mollusks and insects.

· Little Cormorant: These birds are around 51 cm. They are seen throughout India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Their nesting season is from July to September and November to February. They lay four-five eggs and feed on fish.

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