Corbett is home to many species of freshwater fish. The Ramganga, Palain, Sonanadi and Mandal rivers, provide vital habitat and breeding grounds for them because of moderate temperature, low gradient, presence of deep pools and boulders and gravel on stream beds, and negligible pollution. Fish form a fundamental link in the food chain for many key species like the gharial, otters, fish-eagles, kingfishers, ospreys, storks, fish-owls, egrets, darters and pelicans.
The most celebrated of the fishes is the Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora), a large freshwater river fish belonging to the carp family. It has a magnificent appearance – sap green body with bright orange scales. Mahseer is considered to be one of the most prized fish for anglers all over the world.
Clean water, which is increasingly becoming rarer, is the prime habitat requirement for the mahseer. Its population has declined due to loss of habitat. Loss of breeding grounds also poses a threat because mahseer require shallow, clear, well-oxygenated water for spawning, which again is hard to find these days. Decline of mahseer is also due to construction of dams on their migratory routes, obstructing access to favoured spawning areas upstream. The Ramganga is one of the best-preserved rivers for mahseer in India. Other important fish species of Corbett are Goonch (Bagarius bagarius), Indian trout (Barilius bola) and Rohu (Labeo rohita) Sustainable angling, as opposed to intensive fishing, benefits conservation of prized fishes like mahseer. Angling is allowed in certain areas in the buffer region of Corbett after taking permits from the Forest Department.
Jim Corbett National Park is exceptionally rich in its avifauna. According to a survey conducted by the Zoological Survey of India team, there are about 600 birds species in the Jim Corbett National Park, that comprises of domestic as well as migratory birds including a variety water-birds and waterside-birds. The variety and the number of birds, the Jim Corbett National Park offers, never fail to impress its visitors.
For your convenience, the birds of the Jim Corbett National Park can be divided into the following 6 categories.
Water Birds And Waterside Birds:
The water-birds and the waterside-birds in the Jim Corbett National Park comprises of both resident and migrant species. The commonly noticed resident species include Cormorants, the Darter, the Grey Heron, Egrets, the Cattle Egret, the White-necked and Black-necked Storks, the Spotbill, the Large Pied Wagtail and White-capped Redstart.
The migrant species of water-birds in the park include the Great Crested Grebe, Graylag Geese, White Storks, Black Storks, Sandpipers, Snipe, the Great Black-headed Gull, about 15 kinds of ducks, and a variety of Wagtails. Another occasionally noticed water-bird in the park is White or Rosy Pelicans.
Birds of Prey:
The resident birds of prey include Crested Serpent Eagle, the Black-winged Kite, the Indian Shikra, the Himalayan Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Himalayan Vultures and Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles. Other resident birds (not very commonly found) are Hawk-Eagles, the Crested Honey Buzzard and the Black Eagle.
The migratory birds of prey include the Osprey, the Peregrine Falcon, the Booted Hawk- Eagle and the Steppe Eagle.
In this category come the owls, the nightjars and the thick-knees. There are over 18 kinds of owls identified in the Jim Corbett National Park including the Spotted Owlet, Fish Owls, and the Scops Owls. The nightjars in the park include the Jungle Nightjar, the Franklin's Nightjar, the Stone Curlew and the Great Stone Plover.
In this category come the Green Pigeons, Parakeets, Cuckoos, Hornbills, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Orioles, Drongos, Pies, Babblers and Thrushes. Among the ground-birds (woodland) are the Peafowl, the Red Junglefowl, and the White-crested Kalij Pheasant.
Grassland and Open Ground Birds:
The birds included in this category are the Black Partridge, Doves, Bea-eaters, Rollers, the Hoopoe, Shrikes, Larks, Mynas, Bulbuls, Warblers, Tailor Bird, Robins, Chats, Redstarts, Bayas and Finches.
In this category belong the Swifts including the famous Indian Alpine Swift, Crested Swifts, the Dusky Crag Martin, Striated (or Red-rumpled) Swallows, the Indian Cliff Shallow, and the Wire-tailed Swallow.
A visit to the Jim Corbett National Park would surely be a rewarding experience for ornithologists as well as bird lovers.