Corbett is More Than Land of Trumpet & Roar

by pateluday

Jim Corbett tiger reserve is a tiger and wild elephant country, but it is one of the finest birding destinations in India. Read what all the destination offers on a tiger safari

Situated in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Corbett Tiger Reserve, and National Park is a veritable panoramic paradise on Earth. The tiger roars here, and wild elephants run amock playfully. Corbett is an amazing realm of biodiversity unparalleled by any other ecosystem on Earth. The vast stretches of elephant grass and dense Sal forest create niche habitats that support incredible wilderness in terms of flora and fauna.

But the foothills of the Himalayas are one of the finest birding hotspots on Earth. Contiguous with the higher reaches of the mountains, the reserve offers sanctuary to over 600 avian species. The figure includes Pale Arctic and local migrants. A large number of mammals some of them uncommon in the rest of India are found in the foothills due to affinity with the Chinese Sub Region and Indo-Malayan Realm. The incredible number of bird species is also due to altitudinal migration. When winter becomes harsh after extreme snowfall the rarely-seen avians descend to Corbett and the neighboring region.

Tiger Spotting at Corbett

Tiger Spotting Corbett
Tiger Spotting Corbett
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Jim Corbett National Park - Historical Perspective

Himalayan Foothills

The Himalayas are the tallest and the youngest mountains on Earth. The incredible range was formed when the free-floating Indian Plate crashed into the Eurasian Plate after it ran free from Pangea due to the tectonic plate movement. This event took place some 70 million years back.

This geographic upheaval pushed the land mass up to 28000 feet MSL (Mount Everest) graduating down to the foothills in the plains. The affinity with various regions, the Pale Artic Realm, and the altitude variation are due to the crash. 

Diverse geography has given rise to incredible life forms and facilitated the passage of exotic species from contiguous regions. 

Terai (Foothills) - History of Man-Eaters

Extreme cold at higher reaches could only support rare species of flora and fauna but major mammals like tigers, leopards, and elephants preferred low-lying inundated regions of the Terai. This region was also inhabited by a growing population of humans. What were once sparsely populated dense tropical jungles and grasslands were fragmented by expanding agriculture. The predators and humans were coming closer and conflict was unavoidable. 

This region of Kumaon - Garhwal became a hotbed of man-eating tigers and leopards. Fed on the half burnt dead humans after a famine, the predators soon developed a liking for human flesh in the 19th Century.

It was Jim Corbett naturalist hunter who came to the rescue of the locals by eliminating the scourge of the man-eaters. The story of man-eating is horrendous, and the hunting down of aberrant tigers and leopards by Jim Corbett has been recorded in the annals of history. A colonel in the British Army Jim found a place in the heart of the locals and the park is named after him. A museum also commemorates the legendary hunter at Kaladunghi in Uttrakhand in Nanital District.  

Some of his classic works are:

  • Maneaters of Kumaun 
  • Leopard of Rudraprayag 
  • My India
  • Jungle Lores

Indian Elephant

Indian Elephant
Indian Elephant
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Biodiversity at Corbett

Flora & Fauna

Flora 

The floral species recorded are around 488 species including herbs and shrubs. The reserve is home to the finest hardwood in India, second only to teak. The wild trees that grow here are   Sal,  Saaz, Harra, Bija, Semal, Ber, Kharpat, Haldu, Pipal, Sissoo, Banyan, Palas Khingan, Bakli, Bel, Bamboo, Salai, Khingam, Khair, Jamun, Tendu, Kanju, Arjun,  Rohini and Pula. The landscape is characterized by tall grass that spans many kilometers in the stretch known as chaur.

Main Fauna (Corbett National Park):

Mammals: Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Chital Deer, Goral, Sambar & Hog Deer, jungle cat, Barking Deer, Takin, Wild Boar, fishing and leopard cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Gray Langur, Pangolin, Porcupine, Wild pig, Rhesus Monkey, Common & Small Mongoose, Jackal, Fox, Black Naped Hare, Rabbit, Yellow Throated Martin, Otters.

Reptiles: Crocodile, Gharial, King Cobra, Bronze Backed Tree Snake, Vine Snake, Common Krait, Rat Snake, Checkered Keelback, Common Cobra, Kukri, Snake, Buff Striped Keelback, Russel Viper, Wold Snake, Rock Python, and Monitor Lizard.

Angling is a major sport outside the park in the Kosi River in the buffer zone. The target fish are the Golden Mahseer, Indian Trout, Silver Mahseer, Black Mahseer, Rohu, Kalimuchi, Kalabasu, Cat Fish, Chilwa, and Gounch.

Himalayan Rubythroat

Himalayan Rubythroat
Himalayan Rubythroat
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Birds of Corbett National Park

Avi-Fauna

The diverse terrain and altitude attract an estimated number of six hundred bird species at Corbett. The migration is seasonal with Pale Arctic migrants arriving in winter and local migration from the neighboring region frequenting the summer besides the resident birds.  

Check List Targeteted Birds Corbett

  • Collared Falconet
  • Collared Owlet
  • Little Forktail
  • Great Woodpecker 
  • Rufous Georgetted Flycatcher
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Purple Sunbird
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Eurasian Griffon 
  • Black Eagle
  • Bonelli's Eagle
  • Nepal Wren
  • Chestnut Headed Tesia
  • Asian Barred Owl
  • Bar Headed Goose
  • Bengal Florican
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Oriental Scops Owl
  • Rufus Woodpecker
  • Lesser Golden Back
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Amur Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon 
  • Maroon Oriole
  • Fire Breasted Flowerpecker
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Fire Tailed Sunbird
  • Upland Pipit 
  • Rosy Pipit
  • Wall Creeper
  • Ibisbill
  • Long Billed Thrush 
  • Fire Capped Tit
  • Striated Grass Bird
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Mountain Bulbul 
  • Chestnut Bellied 
  • Rufus Bellied Niltava
  • Siberian Rubythroat
  • Snow Browed Flycatcher
  • Blue Fronted Redstart
  • Hodson's Bushchat
  • Isabelline Wheater
  • Golden Bush Robin
  • Blue Whistling Thrush
  • Velvet Fronted Nuthatch
  • Bar Tailed Treecreeper
  • Goldcrest
  • Blue Winged Minla
  • Whiskered Yuhina
  • Golden Spectacled Bush Warbler
  • Whistler's Leaf Warbler
  • Tickell's Leaf Warbler
  • Hume' Warbler
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Sulphur Bellied Warbler
  • Lemon Rumped Warbler
  • Koklass Pheasant
  • Honey Guide
  • Ferruginous Duck
  • Greater White-Fronted Goose
  • Chukar Partridge
  • Swamp Francolin
  • Black Necked Grebe
  • Hill Pigeon
  • Wedge-Tailed Green Pigeon
  • Yellow Legged Green Pigeon
  • Alexandrine Parakeet
  • Green Billed Malkoha
  • Sirkeer Malkoha
  • Koel
  • Lesser Racket Tailed Drongo
  • Spangled Drongo
  • Demoiselle Crane
  • Sarus Crane
  • Common Crane
  • Black Necked Stork
  • Great Hornbill
  • Oriental Hornbill
  • White Tailed Lapwing
  • Indian Skimmer
  • Black Bellied Tern
  • Mountain Hawk Eagle

The list is a drop in the ocean. For a larger checklist of Corbett Birds follow the link. 

Tour Operators for Corbett

Tour Operators for Corbett
Tour Operators for Corbett
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Ecotourism at Corbett

The best tiger safari is organized at Dhikala Range from Dhangadi Gate. The privilege is accorded to those who stay inside the range at Dhikaala Complex and rest houses. The best wildlife experience can be had here including a visit to the crocodile point, Dhikala Chaur, and the surrounding forests. But if you are wondering what else other ranges in the park offer an equal chance of tiger sighting. But Dhikala Range with basic accommodation is a must-visit place. Hence contact the Forest Office at Ramnagar for bookings.

Official Booking Site: http://www.corbettonline.uk.gov.in/

Tourism Zones at Corbett Tiger Reserve

  • Dhikala
  • Jhirna
  • Sitavani
  • Bijarani
  • Durga Devi
  • Garjiya 
  • Pakhro
  • Dhela Zone

Another option is to book a tiger safari package for Corbett for the best wildlife experience. Remember booking a safari permit is a must and the tour operator will help with the bookings. These packages are all-inclusive hence they should be your first choice. Winter is the best period for bird watchers while summer is ideal for tiger spotting and resident birding. 

For accommodation, a large number of luxury resorts are established near Ramnagar. You can also book a forest rest house if available.

Updated: 12/15/2022, pateluday
 
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pateluday on 12/03/2022

This has not been studied whether globe skimmers arrive in India. The Indian skimmer is a fish-eating bird.

DerdriuMarriner on 12/03/2022

Your subheading Birds of Corbett National Park Avi-Fauna lists Indian skimmers amongst Corbett National Park birds.

The name made me think of globe skimmers (Pantala flavescens scientifically), also called globe wanderers and wandering gliders. The above-mentioned dragonflies migrate 11,200-some miles (18,000-some kilometers) in one year.

Would globe skimmers be among the insect life -- that perhaps birds eat ;-{ -- at Corbett?

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