is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative. A fine reservoir on the river formed with the building of a dam at Kalagarh now attracts diverse species of water birds - both local and migratory. With its avian variety Corbett is a marvellous location for bird watchers also.
History of Corbett
Jeep Safari in Corbett
Corbett is regarded as one of the true bird parks of the world. Corbett is the home of 580 species of birds including water fowl, 17 types of woodpecker, raptors like the Pallas fishing eagle, harriers and kites, peafowl, kalij pheasant, the rare chir pheasant, red jungle fowl, minivets, shrikes, cuckoos, drongos and barbets.Out of the 2,060 species and subspecies of birds recorded in the Indian subcontinent, over 600 species/subspecies of birds have been recorded from Corbett at one time or another. This number is greater than the total number of bird species found in Europe and represents around one fourth of the available diversity found in India. Out of the 69 species of raptors found in India, 49 can be seen in Corbett making it a striking element of the local avifauna.
The reserve, which covers 520 sq. kms. is not less than a paradise for bird-watchers. European bird-watchers are some of the keenest visitors to the reserve during winters when the bird diversity is at its peak. India's first and finest park spread over 520 sq. kms. along the banks of the Ramganga river, just 300 kms. northeast of Delhi in the foothills of the Himalayas is the Corbett National Park. Established initially as Hailey National Park on August 8, 1936, in honour of Sir Malcolm Hailey, then governor of the United Provinces, the name was changed to Ramganga National Park in 1952.
In 1957, it was finally named as Corbett National Park in honour and memory of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter, naturalist-turned-author and photographer who had helped in setting up the park and demarcating its boundaries. Birds which can be spotted at the banks of River Ramganga on the outskirts of Corbett Park include Brown Fish Owl, Himalayan Kingfisher, Brown Dipper and Plumbeous/White-Capped Redstarts. One can also see Little/Staty backed Forktails and Mountain/Rufousbellied Hawk-Eagles here.
Inside Corbett Park, Blue Whistling Thrush and Red Jungle Fowl are immediate possibilities. But with some efforts one can spot Oriental White-eye, Jungle Owlet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Lesser Fish-Eagle or even Great Thick-knee, Stork-billed Kingfisher and many more. Mammals include Tiger, Indian Elephant, Chital, Sambhar, Muntjack (Barking Deer), Hog Deer and Common Langur. A trip to these magnificent Sanctuaries will also take you through Jaipur (Pink City) and Agra (City of Taj) which will add the experience of Indian culture, heritage, history and hospitality to your memories.
Corbett National Park
With elevations in the Park ranging from 400m to 1210m there is a rich diversity in habitat. Animals of the Himalayas and those of peninsular India can both be seen here and over 50 mammal and 25 reptile species have been recorded at Corbett. Among the predators are the tiger, leopard, diverse species of lesser cats and the dhole - the wild dog.
There are antelopes (nilgai and ghoral) varieties of deer (hog deer, sambhar, chital or spotted deer and barking deer), the primates (rhesus and langur) and other animals like jackals, foxes, civets, wild boar, sloth bear, black bear and a range of reptiles including the cobra, python and two species of crocodile. The rare fish eating, long snouted gharial and the more robust mugger can be seen basking along the sand banks and pools of the Ramganga. The river which is also noted for its sporting fish, the mighty mahaseer and the malee is popular with anglers.