The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, covering an area of barely 25 km2, and located about 12 km from Kothamangalam , was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. Salim Ali, one of the best known ornithologists described this sanctuary as the richest bird habitat on peninsular India. Thattekkad literally means flat forest, and the region is an evergreen low-land forest located between the branches of Periyar River, the longest river in Kerala. The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary has a rich and varied birdlife. Several species of birds, both forest birds as well as the water birds, visit the sanctuaries, and the important ones include the following: • Orange-headed thrush • Large-billed leaf-warbler • Jerdon's nightjar • Indian cuckoo • Oriental darter • Cormorants • Whiskered terns • Collared scops owl • Ceylon frogmouth • Grey-fronted green pigeon • Yellow-browed bulbuls The Indian pitta, which visits the sanctuary during winter ,spends almost six months here.