Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary

Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
– Benjamin Disraeli

Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is a popular outdoor recreational destination in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. It is located at Nelapattu village on the East Coast of Andhra Pradesh about 20 km north of Pulicat in the Nellore district.

The bird sanctuary has got the distinction of being one of the largest pelican habitats in Southeast Asia. The total area of the sanctuary is around 400 km. Pulicat Lake near Nellore is the second largest brackish water lake in India and attracts thousands of migratory birds. More than 160 species of birds visit the sanctuary every year. The bird sanctuary is the breeding ground for birds which migrate seasonally from far off places like Antarctica, U.S.A, and China to name a few. This bird sanctuary is particularly famous for Pelicans.


Pulicat Lake has been acclaimed as the second largest brackish water lagoon in India. It straddles the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states on the Coromandal Coast in South India. Along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, the lake attracts large number of migratory water birds. Besides this, it also makes a feeding and breeding ground for a range of aquatic and terrestrial birds.

The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal. The island is home to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


There is a fresh water irrigation tank at Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary with Barringtonia plants which can resist inundations for a longer time in the tank bed.

This bird sanctuary is also habitat for fresh water flooded forest tree species. Freshwater swamp forest / trees are found only at Nelapattu in India. The fresh water flooded forest tree at Nelapattu is Barringtonia acutangula (Hijal). This tree also grows in uplands but the tree species available at Nelapattu is suitable to grow in flooded conditions lasting for 5 to 7 months at a stretch. The saplings can survive total submergence during the long duration of flooding.

Fresh water flooded forests / trees can be cultivated in India for rain water harvesting and to utilize the area of manmade reservoirs for growing forest / plantations to compensate the forest / agriculture land submergence by irrigation or hydro power projects. Nelapattu is ideal place to grow fresh water flooded forest on experimental basis.


A must-visit for all bird lovers, this world-renowned sanctuary on the banks of Pulicat lake, is spread over 486 In Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary you can sopt the well-known Siberian Cranes and nearly 160 species of birds from as far away as the USA, China, Antarctica among others.

Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is the breeding gound for rare and endangered species like Grey Pelicans, Open-Billed Storks, Little Cormorants, Spoon Bills, White Ibises and Night Herons. Egrets, Terns and Ducks also find it an ideal roosting place.

For the nature enthusiast, an environmental education center, museum, library and an auditorium with audiovisual equipemtn, serve as a means of information and interpretation.


An annual Flamingo festival is held every year in January/February. Seminar on ecology, exhibitions, cultural programmes & conducted tours for bird watching are organised during the festival.

The ideal time to visit Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is between October and March as the weather then is extremely pleasant which gives greater opportunity to the visitors to enjoy the sight of birds and animals in their natural habitat.


First of all, you have to reach Sullurpet to go Nelapattu.

By Air:
Chennai is the nearest airport to Sullurpet.

By Rail:
The nearest railway station is at Sullurpet.

By Road:
Nelapattu is 50-km by road from Chennai highway. It is well connected by buses.

Once you reach Sullur pet, take a bus to Dora Vari Satram, and walk 2 km on a dusty sandy trail to reach the sanctuary, which is open everyday till five in the evening. The best you could do is to arrange your own conveyance.

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