Kanha's birdlife is rich, the tally of birds being close to around 325 species. Mornings are full of bird calls. Calls of the tree pie, coppersmith, barbet, cuckoo, crested serpent-eagle, racket-tailed drongo and red jungle fowl are commonly heard. Globally threatened species include the lesser adjutant stork and lesser florican.
The main ground-nesting birds are peafowl, red jungle fowl and painted spur fowl. Among the commonly seen birds are Indian roller, racket-tailed drongo, red and yellow wattled lapwing, green bee-eater, grey hornbill, paradise flycatcher and golden back woodpecker.
Black ibis, white-necked and lesser adjutant storks, and occasionally cormorants can be found around water bodies or streams near Kanha, Sonf, Sondar, Kisli and Mukki.
The main birds of prey seen are crested serpent and hawk eagles, honey buzzard, black-winged kite, shikra, laggar and shaheen falcon.
Kanha has over 26 species of reptiles inhabiting its forest though they are not very easy to locate as they live in the undergrowth or the rocky beds of the rivers.
Lizards that you are likely to see at Kanha are the Indian monitor lizard, garden lizard, fan-throated lizard, flying lizard and chameleon.
The largest snake found in Kanha is the Indian rock python. It is massively built-the maximum length recorded being nearly six metres. It is a good climber and swimmer.
Other snakes found at Kanha are cobra (Naja naja), saw-scaled viper(Echis carinatus) , wolf snake (Ptyas mucosus), and egg-eating snake. In fact, all four venomous snakes of India.
Kanha teems with such lesser forms that contribute very significantly to the ecology of the area. Butterflies we all see and admire because of their fascinating colours and design but spiders, dung beetles, termites, ant, caterpillars, and scored of such smaller creatures are no less interesting.
Though tiny, they play a major role in keeping a forest alive and healthy by tilling the earth and helping in pollination of plants. Besides, they form an important food source for birds and the insectivorous.
They play a major role in keeping a forest alive and healthy by tilling the earth and helping in pollination of plants. Besides, they form an important food source for the insectivorous creatures.
A termite mound may at times contain as many as five lakh (half a million) termites. In a forest like Kanha, termites are not perceived as pests. Their digestive system helps turn dead and decaying vegetation into soil-enriching nutrients.
Kanha tiger reserve is internationally renowned for successfully conserving two most endangered species : the tiger and the hard ground barasingha. The tiger is regarded as most threatened – almost on the verge of extinction in all the tiger range countries in the world. The free-ranging population of hard ground barasingha is endemic to Kanha. It harbours the last world population of this sub-species. Concerted managerial efforts to conserve this species virtually resurrected the branderi barasingha from the brink of extinction.