The wonder that is Mangalajodi

During  my bike trip from Bangalore to Kolkata, bird-watching at Mangalajodi was going to be the high point. Mangalajodi is a huge marshland along the northern edge of Chilika lake. It was on my wish list for quiet sometime now and when i was in that part of the country,i did not miss the opportunity to visit the place. The place was simply awesome, and birding from the boat  slowly moving through the mashes was a pleasure.

For more information about the place:

When in Mangalajodi, ask for Madhu as your guide. He is just brilliant.

I reached Mangalajodi at around 4PM and met Madhu, who was going to be my guide during my stay at Mangalajodi. Madhu took me for a quick trip that evening and what I saw was pure bliss. Infront of me stretched out huge tracts of marshland which promised birds, lots of birds :-)I had two lifers that evening itself.

The people at the Mahavir Pakshi Suraksha Samiti ( the organization which looks after the welfare of the birds at Mangalajodi) arranged for my stay at a locals house(@Rs 250). For dinner one has to come to Tangi, about 4kms away. That night I went to bed thinking about birds, wonderful birds.

The next day I was up before the sun and was by the marshes by 6AM. The whole place was covered with fog which gave it a lovely surreal feel. Madhu came along with a small boat at around 6:30, but we had to wait till 7AM because of the fog. The plan for the day was to slowly drift around in the marshes and see the birds from close quarters. And what a lovely day it was. Birds at every nook and corner as you slowly drift through the marshes. Black Tailed godwits and whiskered terns were there by the thousands. We spent the initial half of the day looking for the migrants and after a delicious lunch prepared by Madhu’s wife ,we went for the residents (the crakes,bitterns rails etc). It was the most amazing day of birding I had ever had. Even now just thinking about it brings a big smile to my face. It helped that Madhu knew the place like the back of his hand.


Greylag Goose (Anser Anser)

Bar Headed Goose (Anser indicus)


Ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)

Spot Billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Northern Shoveler(Anas clypeata)


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

White throated kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

Rails,crakes and other rallids:

Slaty breasted rail (Gallirallus striatus)

White breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Baillon’s crake (Porzana pusilla)

Ruddy breasted crake (Porzana fusca)

Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea)

Purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)


Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)


Black tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) Really the flagship species of  Mangalajodi.There are thousands and thousands of them.

Tringa Sandpipers:

Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Miscellaneous Waders,Jacanas:

Common sandpiper  (Actitis hypoleucos)

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Black winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Bronze winged jacana (Metopidius indicus)

Pheasant tailed jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)


Little stint (Calidris minuta)

Temminck’s stint (Calidris temminckii)

Pratincoles and plovers:

Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Long billed plover (Charadrius placidus)

Little Ringed Plover(Charadrius dubius)

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)


Grey Headed Lapwing (Vanellus cinereus)

Red wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Gulls and Terns;

Brown headed gull (Larus brunnicephalus)

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)


Black Kite (Milvus migrans)


Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginous)


Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)


Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)

Greater Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Egrets,Herons Ibises:

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)

Intermediate  egret (Mesophoyx intermedia)

Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Purple heron (Ardea purpurea)

Black headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)


Yellow bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Cinnamon bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis)


Asian Openbill (Anastomas Oscitans)


Black drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)


Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Common stonechat (Saxicola torquata)


Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus)

Asian pied Starling (Sturnus contra)


Crested Lark  (Galerida cristata)

Ashy crowned sparrow lark (Eremopterix grisea)


Blyth’s Reed warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum)

Clamorous reed warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus)

Greenish warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)


Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)


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Bitten by the wanderlust bug.

8 thoughts on “The wonder that is Mangalajodi”

  1. Fantastic list of birds! I can understand how nice it would have been rowing through marshes. Maybe someday I will be able to make it to this place…

  2. Fantastic list of birds! I can understand how nice it would have been rowing through marshes. Maybe someday I will be able to make it to this place…

  3. Well documented.

    It was my first trip to this place in January and fell in love with everything – the birds and wetlands. The other significant thing was the wildlife conservation & protection work being carried out by the local village committee alongwith WildOrissa and the Forest department

  4. Joy, amazing compilation / description. For this year end, I was in Orissa for 10 days. Manglajodi definitely was a high point! It’s one of those places directly out of Discovery channel.

    But definitely I didn’t remember all the bird names. Thanks for that

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