At a distance of 31 km from Tirunelveli, Koonthankulam or Kunthankulam Bird Sanctuary is a protected area located in Koonthankulam village in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli district. This is the largest reserve for breeding water birds in South India and also one of the popular places to visit in Tirunelveli for bird lovers.
Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary consists of Koonthankulam and Kadankulam irrigation tanks and is spread over an area of 1.29 sq. km. It is declared as a sanctuary in 1994. This sanctuary is actively protected and managed by the Koonthankulam village community. This sanctuary is an important Bird site in Tamilnadu and it attracts more than one lakh birds annually. The tourists visit the place in pursuit of seeing painted stork which is the major attraction of this place.
The Babul plantation in Koonthankulam is the main breeding ground for several birds. The sanctuary is visited by more than 43 types of water birds both resident and migratory every year especially in the months of January and February. They vacate their nests in the months of July and August after nesting, hatching and nurturing the young chicks. Painted Stork, the major attraction of this village, flies here from north India and east European countries. Another prominent species of migratory birds that visits this village are Barheaded Goose, Pintail, Spotted Sand Piper, Green Sand Piper, Green Shank, Coot, White stork, large flamingo, Common Sand Piper, Common Teal and Pallavan.
There is also an interpretation center, watch tower, and children's park. For the past few years, rainfall has significantly reduced and the lake is drying up quickly. The sanctuary is losing its beautiful guests gradually as the climatic conditions worsen.
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM