Everyone loves birds. While some like to keep them as pets others like them to be free in the wild. Bird watching tourism is not the biggest sub-sector of tourism in general but it is definitely a niche like wild safaris. Maldives is a world famous holiday spot where guests seeks peaceful relaxing time on the beaches and luxury in over-water bungalows. Bird watching in the Maldives is not categorized as an attraction. But, there are few species of native birds that attract guests during their holiday.
Grey heron is one of the most frequented birds in the Maldives. They live on the beaches, prey on small sardine-like fish at the shore. In most resorts they are quite friendly with guests, but they do not let you touch or get that close. Grey heron grows about 2 feet, it is a large bird compared to other specifies. This is the largest bird you can find in the Maldives. Guests love to see grey herons and take pictures. Grey herons spend almost entire day hunting at the shore, but they hardly catch any fish.
Sometimes there are schools of sardines that look like dark clouds. This is mostly seasonal and during the season grey herons are well fed. Grey reef sharks also take the advantage and roam around all the time. It is an incredible sight when the small sardines make way for the sharks as they swim through school of fish. Even sharks are not clever enough to easily hunt these small fish, they have to keep swimming for a long time and deliver a sudden attack every once in a while. During shark attacks fishes rush for safety and in the process some end up on the beach. Heron waiting for a prey wastes no time.
Herons usually not do enter buildings and come too close like crows. In some resorts they frequent at the beach near bar. Sometimes they also drink the left over drinks in the bar. Herons do that in secrecy when people are not around. In Kuramathi island resort there is a heron that often visits bar to get leftover beer. After drink beer the hero gets passed out, rests its head on a chair and sleep for a while. Many guests find this funny and they love to see the heron passed out. But, this heron is also very shy, it does not drink when people are around. The good thing is that nobody has ever harmed it or touched it while passed out on the chair.
Some years back there was a clever heron at Taj Coral Reef Resort. This bird lets guests take photograph up close with it, like 5 feet away. If a local approaches the bird flies away. Herons prove to be very clear. They could recognize staff and guests.
White terns are spotted in many sandbanks. You can’t get too close, they do not like it. During breeding season, they spend lot of time on their nests. They make their nests with coral, you find them on beaches. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish its eggs and coral because of the texture on eggs. White terns are known as one of the most romantic birds. They live in couples. If someone catches one from a pair the other bird would not go away. In Maldives culture people loved this bird so much that they kept them as pets and they would cut feathers of one bird from each pair, other bird in the pair would then be around, goes to hunt and brings fresh catch to feed the bird that can’t fly.