Only a small section of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is now open to the public, but in 2013 it was so overcrowded with tigers that in every four hour trip to the jungle it was possible to spot about six of these creatures.

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

This is the report of a trip to Tadoba in May 2013. We arrived at the tail end of a heat wave, with daytime temperatures going up to 48 Celcius. The five hour drive to and from Nagpur can be uncomfortable without a well airconditioned car. It is mandatory to have an approved guide on a trip into the jungle; these have to be booked online a month in advance. One can take two trips into the jungle each day: one beginning at 6 in the morning and ending at 10, the other starting at 3 in the afternoon and ending at 6:30. The viewing was good since sunrise was around 5 AM and sunset after 7 PM. Tadoba is currently overcrowded with tigers, and it is possible to sight around six different tigers in each trip.


A large part of the reserve consisted of bamboo forests, interspersed with teak, tendu and mahua. May is after the flowering of the mahua and the flame-of-the-forest, so these brilliant red flowers were gone. There was a small number of highly visible yellow flowering amaltas (Laburnum). Some of the pale Indian ghost trees had started changing to the red colour they take on during monsoon. Some of the grasslands, especially close to water were the purple khus; otherwise the general effect was of tall seared brown grass, with patches of low green grass.


Tadoba has been very successful in preserving tigers. We had many sightings of tigers: from the aging Yera Anna to the prime Waghdo and the younger Gabbar. The males seem to have colourful names, whereas the females are known by their ranges and number of cubs; this throws an interesting light on the village society of the area. In four trips to the jungle we saw three females, four males, and four nearly weaned cubs. Apparently twenty four cubs have been born this year. The park may soon exceed its carrying capacity of tigers.

Wild dogs, called the dhole, are another spectacular sighting. We saw two different family groups; the larger had about ten individuals, including cubs. We sighted both groups in the evenings, as we were leaving the jungle.

We saw two different bears, one late in the morning, the other in the evening. The morning's sighting was of a large specimen, which walked along the road until it sensed our approaching jeep. At that point, it walked into the bordering jungle, and started breaking up a termite mound to eat the insects. It stayed within sight for more than half an hour. Later jeeps saw it cooling off in a water hole. The smaller specimen was shier. It was seen by different groups of jeeps near a road over a period of an hour or so, but every time a jeep came along, it would disappear into dense jungle. Interestingly, a bear's footprint looks very human at first sight (see the picture).

We did not see any leopards, although there were scattered reports of sightings. We passed a family of wild pigs several times at the same spot. Cheetal and Sambar were common. We also had sightings of the barking deer and Chausingha. There were herds of Gaur with calves, and solitary bulls. Nilgai have apparently disappeared from the area as bamboo has taken over grasslands. Bands of langurs were common everywhere. The common mongoose and its shier cousin, the ruddy mongoose, were also seen.


Termites are widespread in the park. It is hard to spot many insects from a moving vehicle. Butterflies are exceptions, but in this season they are uncommon. A couple of sulphurs, some grass yellows, and the Psyche were the only things I managed to spot.



We were not really paying attention to birds, so we missed identifying many of the smaller birds. We did not see any vultures or shrikes. The list of identified birds is here.

  1. Grey jungle fowl
  2. Painted spur fowl
  3. Peacock
  4. Lesser flameback woodpecker
  5. Brown-headed barbet
  6. Grey hornbill
  7. Indian roller bird (Image E)
  8. Common kingfisher
  9. Pied kingfisher
  10. White-breasted kingfisher
  11. Green bee eater
  12. Common hawk cuckoo
  13. Sparrow hawk cuckoo
  14. Lesser coucal
  15. Rose-ringed parakeet
  16. Alexadrine parakeet
  17. Palm swift
  18. Collared Scops owl (Image A)
  19. Barred jungle owlet
  20. Indian nightjar (Image C)
  21. Spotted dove
  22. Collared dove
  23. Red turtle dove
  24. Yellow-footed green pigeon
  25. Black-winged stilt
  26. Red-wattled lapwing
  27. Black-shouldered kite (Image B)
  28. Crested serpent eagle
  29. Besara
  30. Shikra
  31. Oriental honey buzzard (Image D)
  32. White-eyed buzzard
  33. Changeable hawk eagle
  34. Little cormorant
  35. Darter
  36. Little egret
  37. Median egret
  38. Cattle egret
  39. Pond heron
  40. Grey heron
  41. Black Ibis
  42. Glossy Ibis
  43. Oriental stork!!!
  44. Indian Pitta
  45. Rufous tree pie
  46. Black-headed oriole
  47. Black drongo
  48. Racket-tailed drongo
  49. Ashy drongo
  50. Paradise flycatcher
  51. Orange-headed ground thrush
  52. Tickell's blue flycatcher
  53. Oriental magpie robin
  54. Brahminy starling
  55. Common myna
  56. Pied myna
  57. Red-vented bulbul
  58. White-cheeked bulbul
  59. Tailor bird
  60. Jungle babbler
  61. Common babbler
  62. Jungle bush quail
  63. Sirkeer Malkoha
  64. Lesser whistling teal
  65. Purple moorhen

© Sourendu Gupta. Inputs from Doreen D'Sa. Created on 2 June 2013.