Birdwatching - Places - Sanctuaries

Birding at Nannaj Grasslands

The Great Indian Bustard didn’t reveal itself to us. But our birding experience at Nannaj Bird Sanctuary wasn’t disappointing. We spotted many other birds (don’t ask for names, though we went there armed with A Field Guide to the Birds of India) and as a bonus, saw two wolves chasing blackbucks.


Nannaj Bird Sanctuary, officially called as Maldhok Bird Sanctuary or GIB Bird Sanctuary, is at 25-odd km from Solapur, Maharashtra. It is home to the endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB) and is one of the few places where it is still spotted. Nannaj was declared a bird sanctuary in 1979 to protect GIB (Maldhok in Marathi).


This vast grassland also welcomes a few migratory birds, though we didn’t spot any as it was not the season. The road from Solapur to Nannaj is bordered by grasslands for a few kilometers. We got glimpses of several birds on these tracts as well. The sanctuary has a good population of black bucks and we watched a few herds going about their daily lives.


Unlike other bird sanctuaries, you are not allowed to move around freely in the core area of Nannaj. At a 100-odd meters from the gate, there is a hut (brick-work structure) with peep holes and fitted with benches and desks for observing and capturing the life outside. You are not permitted to go beyond this hut. This space provides a perfect hiding place to observe birds and animals without disturbing their peace. There is also a watch tower near the gate.


Since we went there during Diwali, the watch tower and the hut were locked. The forest guards were not around. To our luck, we met an avid bird watcher and wildlife enthusiast, Vishal Jadhav from Pune. Being a regular visitor, he had managed to get the key to the hut from the forest department the previous day. We joined him in the hut and got a lot of information about Nannaj’s wildlife and some photography tips from him. Thanks Vishal, for your friendly gestures.


We went to the sanctuary thrice. On the last day, we spotted two wolves chasing blackbucks. We waited for some time for the drama to unfold, but had to leave as it was getting late to start our journey back to Mumbai.


The only stay option near the sanctuary is the forest rest house. It’s hard to get accommodation there as you have to get permission from Pune Forest Office. Nearest teashops and restaurants are one kilometer away in Nannaj village. If you want to spend a few hours in the sanctuary, stock up enough water and snacks. We stayed in a hotel in Solapur and drove to Nannaj thrice.


Nannaj is 25 kms from Solapur (Maharashtra)on the Solapur-Barshi road. Solapur is 404 kms from Mumbai via Pune

6 Comments on “Birding at Nannaj Grasslands

  1. Awesome pics! Remember us next time and we will try to join you..
    We have covered few places but this one is execptional!

  2. Beautiful slide show!. Thanks. Lately I have not been logging into the net. My wife has broken her thigh bone. Has been operated upon 10 days back and we are busy.

  3. nice collection of bird and blackbucks shots. i am seeing abt 4 of them for the first time 🙂 guess, there are experts who can identify all of them.

    solapur isnt that from blore too 🙂 i will keep this place in mind!

  4. Hi Anu,
    thanks for the comment and the correction. it is corrected now.

    Nannaj is not known to many people. It is not part of the typical tourist itinerary. only people interested in birds/wild life and researchers are attracted.

    next time, when you travel, you should give it a try. summer will be bad. immediately after rains, perhaps till about Jan would be ideal.

    Unny & Bindhu

  5. the pic of the deer was great!!! I didnt even know about this sanctuary when we went to solapur.. otherwise i would have tried to visit this place….
    it seems like a good place to go birding!
    by the way, your last line should read : from MUMBAI via Pune….

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