The sanctuary, even though it lacks a sprawling area, is a delightful place to visit. What makes it inviting is that it is an important Asian nesting and breeding ground for migratory birds from all across the earth. Some species of birds that are known to have made Ranganathittu their breeding abode are spoonbills, open bill storks, darters, white Ibis, little cormorants, egret, heron, partridge, river tern, stone plougher, snake bird, and other exotic bird species that fly to the sanctuary in large flocks. Park officials and experts have traced the origins of some of these bird species to as far as Siberia, Australia and even North America. A record number of 1,400 painted storks visited the area in 1999. 2000. Local inhabitants like kingfishers and peacocks are also found in this avian bliss.
Migratory birds lay their eggs on islets in the river. The authorities have created additional islets at the sanctuary to make way for more number of birds to lay eggs and breed. The birds begin arriving in the sanctuary in December every year. The migratory birds lay eggs and breed until they finally move out of the sanctuary with their little ones in August, only to return yet again the following year.Painted Stork, Asian Openbill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, Oriental Darter, and herons.
The Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a water kingfisher and is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Their black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. Males have a double band across the breast while females have a single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob thei head and flick up their tails
This kingfisher is about 17 cm long and is white with a black mask, a white supercilium and black breast bands. The crest is neat and the upperparts are barred in black. Several subspecies are recognized within the broad distribution. The nominate race is found in sub-Saharan Africa, extending into West Asia. A former subspecies syriaca is considered as merely a larger northern bird of the nominate species (following Bergmann's rule). Subspecies leucomelanura is found from Afghanistan east into India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos. The subspecies travancoreensis of the Western Ghats is darker with the white reduced. Subspecies C. r. insignis is found in Hainan and southeastern China and has a much larger bill. Males have a narrow second breast-band while females have a single broken breast band
This large stork has a heavy yellow bill with a down-curved tip that gives it a resemblance to an ibis. The head of the adult is bare and orange or reddish in colour. The long tertials are tipped in bright pink and at rest they extend over the back and rump. There is a distinctive black breast band with white scaly markings. The band continues into the underwing coverts and the white tips of the black coverts give it the appearance of white stripes running across the underwing lining. The rest of the body is whitish in adults and the primaries and secondaries are black with a greenish gloss. The legs are yellowish to red but often appear white due their habit of urohidrosis or defecating on their legs especially when at nest. The short tail is black with a green gloss For a stork, it is medium-sized, standing about 93–102 cm (37–40 in) tall, 150–160 cm (59–63 in) in wingspan and weighing 2-3.5 kg (4.4-7.7 lbs). Males and females appear alike but the males of a pair are usually larger than the female.
The downy young are mainly whitish with grey bills and blackish facial skin. The juveniles assume a brownish plumage and like most other storks reach breeding condition after two to three years.
Like all storks, they fly with their neck outstretched. They often make use of the late morning thermals to soar in search of foraging areas