Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kulik Bird Sanctuary (Part II)

Jackal, wild cat, lizard, bat and snakes are the main predators here. The yellow monitor lizard , a very rare species, is also seen here. But the main attaraction of this area is the birds. Dove, Bulbul, Sparrow, Vulture, Owl, Parakeet, Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Duck and Cuckoo have their permanent address in this sanctuary. Again among the birds the real VIP is The Asian Open-billed Stork(Anastomus oscitans).Acoording to some people , Kulik does have the largest colony of Open billed stork in Asia.This bird belongs to the stork family and is a common species widely distributed across Asia. This medium-sized dull white bird with black or grey wings and tail stands at an average 70 cms and has dull pink legs. Its bill is heavy, with a gap between the mandibles, which explains its name. In West Bengal it is commonly called samukh khol (snail eater), because it feeds mainly on mollusks (main diet is apple snail), though frogs, lizard and fish also feature on the menu.

looking for food

It is definitely not a visitor from Siberia as many are given to believe and can be sighted in marshy wetlands, near waterbodies, ditches, river sides and paddy fields. When breeding, they assemble in a place known as a heronry.The Asian Open bill sotks start flocking in this heronry from the month of July or the arrival of monsoon and stayed up to the month of January of next year. In the first phase, a group of birds arrives and inspects the area and selected the nesting trees. At the end of July or first of August the whole group of Asian Openbill arrives and starts their nest building activities in various selected trees.

All the trees are occupied

Competition for selection of nesting trees and nest building is high in this heronry. Individuals those who are not able to get some nesting trees they prefer to build nests outside the protected areas along the National Highway 34 and sometimes in the garden or backyard trees of adjacent human settlements. Sometimes Asian Open bill stork build nests with other species of water birds. Their nests sometimes are close to two meters apart from each nest.

Here in Kulik, your day starts with a panoramic view of birds in flight with nesting materials between the bills.


Take a suitable position on either one of the few watchtowers made by the authority or by a bush along the river Kulik and watch how they collect these materials, how they construct their tiny nests. If you have sufficient patience , a must for wildlife photography, then some exclusive scenes like the mating of the birds is not rare here.

Cooperation and construction


You can go as close as to get such photographs which shows the date marked by the forest dept.

Just Landed

Close view

At this time sighting of parents protecting their chicks from scorching sun is a beautiful sight.

Protection from sunlight



  1. Very good & comprehensive. Waiting for next Part.

  2. Nice post! i have been looking for such a post for a long time. I am planning to pay a visit to this place. Can you suggest some hotels/lodges where we can stay? Also it would be great if you suggest me the perfect time for a visit to this place? Is it well connected by train?
    Feedback welcome.You can mail me at :
    Apologies if found intrusive.

  3. Thanks pritam for your appreciation.

    Yes It yes well connected by train. I don't know where do you live, but from Kolkata , only one direct train (Radhikapur Express) is available for Raiganj. You can visit there between July to Dec., different month will provide different activities of the birds. The best place for staying is Govt Tourist Lodge, which can be bokked from Kolkata. If you can't book this, few hotels are available near market place, around Gitanjali cinema hall. We stayed at Kaniskha lodge. I'll visit the sanctuary during nov and dec this year. If you are interested, you can mail me.

  4. Hello is Diptiman Dasgupta from IBM, Kolkata ..

    It was nice to see your blog & details about Kulik. I was also thinking to visit it in Dec along with Malda..hope I can cover both ancient Gour & then Kulik.

    Few more things to know as you have already experienced it.
    1. How is the tourist lodge & overall area i.e. safe/unsafe
    2. How many days are good for Kulik..2 nights?

  5. Many thanx Dipitiman.

    I don't know whether the tourist lodge is safe or not, as I never stayed there. I stayed in private hotels near the market area. The tourist lodge is very close to the forest, even you can see birds form your room, because the birds occupy all the trees inside the lodge campus. There are few small tea shops near the lodge, NH 34 is passing by, otherwise the lodge area is totally isolated.

    2 nights is sufficient for the first visit. If you really want to watch the birds closely then you'll have to go there 3/4 times in different months between June - December.

    Wish you a pleasant journey

  6. Hi Sumit,
    how r u? did u vist kulik in Nov? if yes then please post ur latest exp.

  7. Hi Sumit,
    Wonderful blog.
    Thinking of visiting kulik in end of december.
    Will there be birds ?
    How cold will it be there ?