Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka is amongst the best bird sanctuaries India that covers an area of less than one square kilometre. The sanctuary was named after the legendary Hindu God Sri Ranganatha Swamy, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, as it is so small, the bird population density in this area is extremely high.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary has 13 islands and it is home to 219 bird and water species. Ranganathittu attained the status as a bird sanctuary in the year 1940 courtesy of India's noted ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali. Dr Ali, during his survey of the birds of Mysore, advocated for the establishment of such a sanctuary to protect and preserve the habitat.
The most common birds that can be generally spotted in the sanctuary are painted storks, spoonbills, white ibises, egrets, herons, and partridges. Most of the birds like white Ibis, cormorants, egrets, herons, river terns, and darters stay on the tiny islands within the river, which a visitor can see through a boat. However, the river is filled with beautiful reptiles like crocodiles as Ranganthittu is on the river Kaveri.
The preferred to visit Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is between March to May. But, during the time of April to May, the place is seemingly hot and one must carry enough water while visiting. The sanctuary gets crowded by 12 PM, so it is advisable to visit in the morning to start the tour before it gets rushed. The sanctuary is open for visitors from 8:30 AM to 5:45 PM. Boating charges for Indians are Rs.50 per person in share while for foreigners it is Rs.300 per person. The exclusive private boat is easily available for Rs 1,000, which is perfect for a private safari.