Kavadi Pat is a well-known destination for birdwatching in Pune. A small village situated on the banks of the Mula Mutha river, it is only about 15km from Pune City. During the winter season, the water of Mula Mutha and the adjacent bank is home to plenty of water birds (some migratory). Once the monsoon comes to an end and the water level starts receding in October-November, the birds start flocking en masse. The shallow water of the river and the stored water in the lowlands are rich with sawgrass, algae, small fish and insects – a perfect breeding ground for waders and other water birds. A tiny patch of forest on one bank of the river also hosts a plethora of avians. Photographers from Pune and around the country visit Kavadi Pat for birding and photography. Boating is not allowed but people can enjoy the birds from the banks or from a small bridge that runs across the river.

As wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, Kavadi Pat is one of our favourite haunts during winter. In fact, we started our photography journey from Kavadi Pat. During the last four years we have seen a variety of birds, and have had the opportunity to observe their habitat and behaviour closely, especially of the Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler and the Black-winged Stilt.

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"Boating is not allowed but people can enjoy the birds from the banks or from a small bridge that runs across the river."

More than 200 species of birds have been recorded at Kavadi Pat. The seasonal birds are the Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Spot-billed Duck, Little Grebe, River Tern, Garganey, Painted Stork, Ibis (Black-headed and Red-naped), Northern Pintail, Eurasian Coot, Asian Openbill, Little Ringed Plover, cormorants, spoonbills and gulls. The young shoots of plants, grains and water plants are the favourites of the Ruddy Shelduck. The Eurasian Coot and the Little Grebe can be seen wading in the water during the morning and afternoon. The other common birds seen here are the White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Painted Snipe, White-breasted Waterhen and swamphen among others. Birds like the Oriental White-eye, Verditer Flycatcher and bee-eaters are also seen in the adjacent forest areas of the river.

Scroll down to see some of the inhabitants of Kavadi Pat.


River Tern (Sterna aurantia)

IUCN Redlist Status: Vulnerable

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A River Tern cools off in the waters of River Mula Mutha. They are active soon after the monsoon, which signals the start of their breeding season.

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)

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Common Snipes are very shy birds and can be seen in wetlands or near low-water areas.

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)

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Generally seen in small groups or in pairs, the Northern Shoveler is a regular visitor at Kavadi Pat. The male and female can be seen wading together in the water, and often come ashore to rest under the sun.

Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

IUCN Redlist Status: Near Threatened (Population decreasing)

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A lone Painted Stork preens itself while soaking in the morning sun. The still water on the shallow bank even makes for a clear reflection. Very few Painted Storks are seen at Kavadi Pat. 

Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)

IUCN Redlist Status: Vulnerable (Population decreasing)

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The Woolly-necked Stork is a large wading bird of the Ciconidiae family. A very rare sight in Kavadi Pat, Woolly-necked Storks have only been seen a few times during the last four years.

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)

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Relatively small birds, Little Stints are shy and very quick in their movement. During the early hours of the morning, you can see them in shallow waters, bathing and preening. This pair was busy, engaged in a battle for territorial rights.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population increasing)

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A pair of mating Black-winged Stilts; the female bends down as the male positions himself on top, a process that barely lasts a few seconds. Black-winged Stilts are pretty common in Kavadi Pat, and can be spotted in small groups.

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern

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Ruddy Shelducks, also known as Brahminy Ducks, spend maximum time in the water. They are seen in pairs. Sometimes they come out to the grasslands and soak themselves under the sun. A Ruddy Shelduck stretches its wings after coming out of water.

Garganey (Spatula querquedula)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern

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The Garganey is a common visitor during the winter season. They are spotted in small colonies on the water, rarely coming ashore.

Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

IUCN Redlist Status: N.A.

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The Siberian Stonechat is a winter visitor at Kavadi Pat and can be spotted at the nearby grasslands. They rarely come out in the open and when they do, they disappear back into the grass in the blink of an eye.

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern

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One of the other common visitors of Kavadi Pat, the Bluethroat is a passerine species where the males have a distinct iridescent blue bib. Typically found in bushes and amongst thick grass, they tend to give very little time to photographers.

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population increasing)

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One of the few raptors seen in the area, a pair of Eurasian Marsh Harriers or Western Marsh Harriers seem to be chasing one another as they dance through the sky.

Knob-billed Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)

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Seen for the first time at Kavadi Pat; a trio of Knob-billed Ducks. They were seen for a few days in 2018, and never since.

Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)

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Sitting on a rock amid a flowing water stream, a Spot-billed Duck seems to be waiting for the sun to show up and shake her from her slumber.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

IUCN Redlist Status: Least Concern

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The morning mist takes on a soothing, blue hue in the early hours. A Grey Heron and a Spot-billed Duck can be seen in action at the far end.