Popular Flora and Fauna In Sundarbans National Park

Did You Know? The Sundarbans National Park has been listed under the New 7 Wonders of Nature!

One of the most pristine national parks in India, Sundarbans National Park is a world heritage site, declared by UNESCO in 1987. It is also the world’s largest mangrove belt and delta that houses the Royal Bengal Tigers. In fact, Sundarbans National Park has the largest Bengal tiger population and is a renowned tiger zone in the world. Besides tigers, Sundarbans National Park shelters various birds, reptiles, and fishes.

The Ganga and the Brahmaputra river are the two largest rivers that form the Sundarbans delta. They are spread across 10,000 square kilometers between India and Bangladesh, of which 40% of the area is in India. Not just this, the national park also has 102 islands (54 are inhabited)!

Did you know? This national park derived its name from mangrove plants known as Sundari. They grow here in abundance. The name also translates to ‘beautiful forest’ and is 10 times the area of Venice city.

Monitor Lizard, the Olive Ridley Turtle, Estuarine Crocodile, Water Buffalo, Hog Deer, Javan Rhinoceros, and Leopard are other fauna species in Sundarbans National Park. Apart from mammals, birds and marine species are found in abundance here. Water monitors, king cobra, and rock pythons are some famous reptiles. Lastly, a unique river turtle species called Batagur Baska (endangered species by IUCN) is found on Mechau Beach.

Read below to learn about the flora and fauna of Sundarbans National Park in detail.

Fauna of Sundarbans National Park

Wildlife in Sundarbans National Park is vast, with more than 1,586 species of fauna, including mammals, reptiles, and birds. The main highlight of visiting is the Royal Bengal Tigers, which have a significant presence here. Spot the tigers in the national park on a safari tour, which will surely be a memory of a lifetime. The lush green cover shelters the wild animals, and spotting them will excite you. Leopards, water buffalos, chital, etc., are mammals in this national park. Birds, both resident and migratory, are a delightful sight to behold. Fishing cats, Indian grey mongoose, flying fox, pangolin, chital deer, and rhesus monkeys are common sightings.

Here is the top fauna in Sundarbans National Park. Take a look. 


Royal Bengal Tigers

Royal Bengal Tigers are India’s largest and most potent big cats found in a large population in Sundarbans National Park. They are also called Indian Tiger or Bengal Tiger and are also the national animal of India. Also, you will find them in India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Burma. Royal Bengal Tigers is the main highlight that attracts wildlife enthusiasts to the Sundarbans mangrove forest. Scientifically, they are called Panthera tigris and are the world’s most giant wild cats alive. It is an apex predator in this mangrove forest and is key in balancing the food chain. Moreover, they clean the polluted air and water and keep animal populations in check. Bengal tigers are critical to the forest’s ecosystem and will collapse if they become extinct. Thus, saving Bengal Tigers is critical for Sundarbans.


Chital or spotted deer is native to the Indian subcontinent. They are found in plenty in Sundarbans National Park, along with other parks like Corbett, Dudhwa, Bandhavgarh, Sariska, Kanha, and Mudumalai. Chital prefers woodland, forests, terrestrial, and clearings near river bodies and mostly travels in herds of 10 to 20. As for their physical appearance, Chital is 90 cm tall and weighs about 85 kg. Their upper body is reddish, and their underparts are white. White spots can be seen all over their body. Their diet contains mainly grass and browsed vegetation like wheat, fruits, flowers, herbs, etc. They are not a threatened species, but deforestation and loss of habitat have decreased their population.


Oriental Honey Buzzard

Scientifically known as Pernis ptilorhynchus, Oriental Honey Buzzard is also called crested honey buzzard. It is a bird of prey, which includes kites, eagles, and harriers as well. They generally breed in woodland and are rarely seen except in the spring, the mating season. These bird species migrate from breeding regions in Japan to winter regions in Southeast Asia and fly over the East China Sea. They have a 700 km nonstop flight over water, which is done in Autumn as the winds over the sea blow in the same direction as the birds’ flight. This particular bird has longer wings than its western counterpart. Besides, they have long necks with small heads that look like a pigeon and flies on flat wings. A dark throat stripe is a unique feature.


An abundant breeder on the grassy shores of lakes and rivers, Sandpipers (Actitis, or sometimes Tringa, hypoleucos) belong to the Scolopacidae family, including the snipes and woodcocks too. The name “sandpiper” refers to the many species of small and mid-sized birds that are about 15 to 30 cm long. They are mostly found on sea beaches and inland mud flats during migration. Sandpipers have moderately long legs and bills, narrow wings, and short tails. They have a dead grass pattern of browns, buffs, and blacks on their upper body parts and white/cream color on their lower body parts. Also, some species have unique features like speckled breasts, contrasting throat patches, and white rump bans.


Saltwater Crocodile

The saltwater crocodile is one of the most known faunas in Sundarbans National Park. It is the world’s largest and heaviest reptile, where males grow up to 20 feet and weigh more than 1,000 kg!! The largest known saltwater crocodile in India is in the Sundarbans and are the apex predator of the saltwater ecosystem. They take fresh foods and the rotten carcass of the animal, thus helping clear the rivers. These crocodiles live in coastal brackish mangroves and Sundarbans’ river deltas. Saltwater crocodiles are often hunted for their meat and eggs; thus, they are threatened. Climate change and the devastation of their habitat are also affecting their population. Also, pollution causing a change in the water quality is among the major threats to crocodiles.

King Cobra

An extremely venomous, gigantic snake, King Cobra is native to Asia. Their average size is 10 to 12 feet, but they can reach 18 feet. Their name is “king cobra,” as they can kill and eat cobras. The fully-grown King Cobras have yellow, brown, green, or black skin. Plus, they have white or yellowish cross bars or chevrons. The smaller ones are jet-black with white or yellow crossbars on the body and tail. King Cobra is known for their aggression. Their fangs are about 0.5 inches long as they are fixed to the upper jaw. Thus, they are short. If they were to be longer, they would tear the floor of its mouth. King Cobras are found mainly in northern India and southern China, like Hong Kong, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines, and Indonesia.


Ganges Shark

These shark species are the most critical predators the ocean can have around the world. But they only live in the freshwater habitats in some locations, and Sundarbans National Park is one of them. There are six species of river sharks, of which, Ganges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is one found in India. They live in the Hooghly River in West Bengal, Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Mahanadi in Bihar, Assam, and Odisha. Some river sharks also inhibit saltwater, like Sundarbans. So you can see them in rivers, possibly estuaries. It is important to note they are one of the 20 most threatened shark species, and the IUCN Red List has listed them as a Critically Endangered Species.

Olive Ridley Turtle

Scientifically named Lepidochelys olivacea, Olive Ridley Turtles are the smallest sea turtles on Earth. They are plentiful in the oceans, mainly the warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. They are famous for their rare mass nesting called Arribada. Thousands of females congregate on the same beach to lay eggs. These turtles grow to 2 feet and 50 kg in weight and get their name from olive-colored skin. Males and females are the exact sizes, but females have a more rounded carapace than males. They feed on snails, crabs, jellyfish, and many fishes. Despite their abundance, they have declined over the past few years, and the IUCN Red List has recognized them as “Vulnerable”.

Flora of Sundarbans National Park

Explore the 64 plant species in Sundarbans National Park. The dense forests of this national park house a rich flora that attracts many botanists from around the world. These plant species have learned to survive in the Sundarban’s brackish and saline waters. Some of the most common species of plants you may come across in the national park include Golpati, Sundari tree, Champa, Genwa, Dhundul, and Hatal. There are approximately 78 species of mangroves as well. They prove to be essential as they play a role in the survival of marine organisms. 

Here is the top fauna in Sundarbans National Park. Take a look. 

Sundari tree (Heritiera fomes)

Sundari is the dominant plant species in Sundarbans National Park. It is scattered to about 70% of the forest. Its name means beautiful. Sundari trees are adapted to high tide and low saline and freshwater areas. Another species of this tree, H. littoralis, can be seen in the west region of the national park. The tree grows up to 25 m with a straight trunk, elliptic leaves, and roots with pneumatophores. The flowers on this tree are orange to pinkish. It is also the primary source of timber for the people living in the surrounding districts. They use this tree’s timber to make hard-board, furniture, and more items. About 50% of the trees suffer from increased salinity.

Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha)

Gewa is also called a “blinding tree.” The reason behind its name is the milky sap this tree produces that can cause temporary blindness. It is a small, evergreen, deciduous, and unisexual tree co-dominant in the Sundarbans National Park. It flowers and has a high amount of seed annually. Gewa grows up to 29 meters and exudes poisonous white latex from broken surfaces. The young leaves on this tree are pink in color, and the old ones are scarlet. It does not shed leaves any time of the year, and the green fruits are available in June, which turns purple, meaning they ripened. The leaves and initiation of flowers and fruit on Gewa vary in different saline zones in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.

Keora (Sonneratia apetala)

A medium-sized evergreen tree with aerial roots and branches dropping from a height of 15 m, Keora or Mangrove Apple, is commonly found in Sundarbans. The bark of this tree is black and salt tolerant. It is a fast-growing plant species found in the tidal forests of India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The flowers on Keora are greenish-white and are around 3 to 5. The fruit is huge, round-shaped, and has persistent sepals. The tree is in the waterside area. Moreover, the honey extracted from its flowers is great in quality. The wood of this tree works as an excellent fuel and is used to build boats, furniture, and packing cases.

Royal Bengal Tigers are the star attraction of Sundarbans National Park. Saltwater Crocodiles and Olive Ridley Turtles are the prime highlights that will make your trip to Sundarbans worthwhile. With this list of the popular flora and fauna in Sundarbans National Park, enjoy a safari tour. For a hassle-free wildlife tour in India, choose Sundarbans wildlife packages, equipped with private tours with comfortable stays, including meals and guided tours for the best wildlife sightings. For more information about the tour, connect with our travel experts.

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