Once a hunting ground for the gora sahibs of the British empire, the Keoladeo Ghana national park is now a UNESCO world heritage site and a major winter migration area for a large number of aquatic species from Siberia, Afganistan, China and Turkmenistan. In its peak season, the park plays host to over 350 species of migratory and resident birds. Some rare species like the Siberian crane have also been recorded in the park.
Keoladeo Ghana derives its name from the ancient Shiva temple in the middle of park. Ghana in Hindi means dense and thick. At one point, the Keoladeo Ghana national park was the only known habitat of the endangered Siberian crane (besides Siberia). However, the last time the species was recorded in the park was around 2002 and since then, there has been no record of the Siberian crane in the park. However, we do hope that we will be able to witness the beautiful Siberian Crane sometime in the park.
The park is divided into 3 main areas, as you enter, there is the dry scrub land on both sides of the main road which is a habitat of small birds like the prinias, woodpeckers, sunbirds, larks, hornbills, night jars etc. A little ahead lies the marshy land where you can see large colonies of painted storks, cormorants, egrets, ibis, herons and other such marshland species. Further into the park across the Keoladeo temple are the large ponds and water bodies where one can see thousands of ducks like the comb ducks, ruddy shelducks, pintails, bar headed geese, red crested pochards, gadwalls etc. Because of the abundance of ducks in the area a large number of raptors are also seen in the area. Some of the raptors that can be seen during the winter are; marsh harriers, imperial, steppe and tawny eagles, short toed eagle, shikra and the lesser spotted eagles which all pray on the variety of ducks and water fowl in the water bodies.
Besides the avian beauties, the park also supports rich fauna. Some of the common residents which can be seen inside the park are the Golden Jackal, antelopes, Black bucks and spotted deer. If one is lucky one can see a lone python basking in the sunlight after a big meal of deer!