Taj, Tigers and Birds – Mega Indian Birding Tour
A must-to-do birding itinerary for any birder
More than 1.2 Billion people call her mother India. One of the World’s richest cultural settings and a landscape that showcases many a staggering geographical diversities . Our 27 days long, nonstop birding trip will take you to many important birding areas in this vast country. While you bird with us, you will also witness and experience the colours and flavours of this grand old civilisation – Perhaps bit shocking initially but as we progress with our tour you will surely start feel at home exactly had happened to thousands of travellers who had visited this land over many centuries. We also know that this birding pilgrimage will not get completed with out showing you two India’s great prides : a Bengal Tiger and of course the one and only Taj Mahal.
Namaste !! Welcome to India.
Number of Tour Days : 27 Days.
Difficulty level : Moderate ( with few long drives ).
Accommodation : good to luxury.
Food : Indian , Local , Continental.
Numbers of Species Expected : + 650
Mammals expected to see : Tiger , Indian Elephant , Indian Rhino , Monkeys & Gibbons , Deers, etc
Photography : Excellent opportunities. All our tours are Photographer friendly tours.
Other attractions : Taj Mahal , North Eastern Himalayan Landscapes , Tea Gardens of Munnar, Indian Food and Culture.
Arrive in time at Delhi International Airport to kick-start our Mega Indian Birding tour from a hotel near Airport at 7.00 am . Our first destination is Bharatpur. A drive to Bharatpur with few birding stops in between may take 6-8 hours and we are expected to reach our destination by 4 PM.
We will do bit birding in the outskirts of the park if time permits.
Stay overnight in a comfortable hotel near the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary ( Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary ).
Keoladeo Ghana a.k.a Bharatpur Bird sanctuary is a must-to-visit birding destination in India. It is a also a World Heritage bird sanctuary, surrounded by marshlands filled with large avian diversity. It is amazing to know that about 354 species of birds are found in this small park of 29 sq km of which 11 sq. km. are marshes and rest are scrubland and grassland. We are expecting to see around 150+ species of Birds in our two days of exploration of this important destination.
Prime Birds expected to see here are : Painted Stork, Cormorant, Egret, Open-billed Stork, White Ibis, Darter, Shoveler, Teal, Bronze winged and Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Ruddy Shelduck, Demoiselle and Sarus Cranes, Gadwall, Pintail, Mallard, Coot, Purple Moorhens. King Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Crested Serpent Eagle, Ringtailed Fishing Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Pallas Fishing Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Collared Scops Owl, Spotted Owlet, Dusky Horned Owl etc. We will also reach for Larks, pipit, Kingfishers, Doves, Mynahs, Bulbuls, Blue Jay, Oriole, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Hoopoe, shrike, Bee-eater, Wagtails etc in the park.
We will have an early breakfast today before we head towards Agra to seeone of the seven Wonders of the World , the ultimate symbol of Love, and the one and only Taj Mahal. We will spend some quality time in the area exploring the richness of a bygone era. If time permits we will pay a quick visit to
other monuments in a nearby city – The Fetehpur Sikri. By 11.00 Am we will board our vehicle and
travel to our next destination- The Chambal National Park. Home of rare Ganagatic Dolphins and Indian Skimmers.
Taj Mahal to Chambal National Park ( 100 KM. 3.5 Hrs )
This sanctuary is famous for the rare Gangetic dolphins, Indian Muggers, Gharial, turtles, and 225 species of birds. It is one of the best places to see the Indian Skimmer.
In a 3 hrs boat trip you can see perhaps some 40 species of birds, among them flamingos, Indian Skimmers resting on a sand bank, an Asian Open-bill, Woolynecked Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Whiskered and Black-bellied Tern, Ruddy and Common Shelduck, some Calidris, Tringa, Limosa, and Charadrius wading birds, Brown-headed Gull, Bar-headed Goose, Lesser Whistling Goose, teals and ducks, White-breasted and Pied Kingfisher, Shikras etc.
After our morning boat trip , we will freshen up quickly before boarding our vehicle with packed lunch to set off to the most exciting destination in the tour – The Ranthambore national park. ( 300 Km , 7 Hrs )
Ranthambhore used to be the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Today, it is famous for its tigers and it is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators in the wild. The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys. The park also offers good birding. Species recorded here include the crested serpent eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, Great Indian horned owl, Grey partridge, Common sandgrouse, Quails, Red spur fowl, Common pea fowl, Tree pie, Paradise fly catcher, Pheasant tailed jacana, Painted stork, White necked stork, Spoonbill, Green pigeon, White-backed vulture, King vulture, White-breasted kingfisher, Spotted dove, Ring dove, and the golden Wood pecker. We will do three safaris in open jeeps searching for Tigers and other mammals during our stay in Ranthambore National Park.
On day 7 , in the after noon we will pack our bags and travel to the City of Jaipur . Overnight in Jaipur 150 KM ( 3 Hrs )
Depart Agra early in the morning and fly to Guwahati , the capital city of the State of Assam via Delhi or other transit ports. On arrival in Guwahati, we will check in to our comfortable hotel for a good night sleep.
After an early breakfast we will travel to the famous Kaziranga National Park . This Park is known for Indian single Horn Rhinos and Water buffalos. Our Morning drive will take us to Kaziranga in less than 4 hours. Post Lunch we will take our first safari in an open jeep looking for both birds and Mammals . Night stay at a wildlife lodge at Kaziranga.
We will spend two full days in the national Park looking for species such as Grey-headed Lapwing, Khaleej Pheasant, Swamp Francolin, Pied Harrier, Pallas’s Fish-Eagle, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Green-billed Malkoha, Lesser Coucal, Great Indian Hornbill , Oriental Pied Hornbill, Lesser Necklaced Laughing thrush, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Palechinned Flycatcher, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Green Magpie and many more birds during two full days of birding.
We will have an Elephant safari ( optional ) to search for Tigers in the morning . We will come back to our hotel by 8 .00 Am after the safari for breakfast and check out. We will travel back to Guwahati by noon stopping in between for birding. Over night in Guwahati
We will have an early breakfast at 5 A M and drive to Guwahati Airport by 6.00 Am. We will take the 9.30 AM flight to Dibrugarh arriving at the destination by 11.00 AM. Upon arrival we will travel straight to Mishmi hills , the most important but not yet fully explored Eastern Himalayan birding hotspot. ( 4 Hrs Drive )
We will spend next 3 full days in these remote ranges of the Himalayas from the flood plains at 150 m to Mayodia Pass at 2655 m. This area is one of the finest places for birding and photographing Himalayan species. We will look for the endemic Mishmi Wren-Babbler which is normally seen during our trips. . Our targets in Mishmi hills are Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Black Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Pin-tailed and Wedge-tailed Pigeons, Redheaded and Ward’s Trogons, Great and Golden-throated Barbets, Darjeeling, Pale-headed and Bay Woodpeckers and White-browed and Streaked Piculets, Nepal House Martin, Rosy Pipit, White-throated and Ashy Mountain Bulbuls, White-browed and Rufous-breasted Bush-Robins, Hodgson’s and Daurian Redstarts, Slaty-backed Forktail, Plain-backed, Long-tailed, Scaly, Long-billed, Chestnutbellied, Plain-backed and Scaly Thrushes, Grey-winged Blackbird, Golden and Spot-throated Babblers, Red-billed, Coral-billed, Slender-billed and Streak-breasted ScimitarBabblers, Wedge-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Rufous-vented, Rufous-chinned, Spotted, Grey-sideded, Blue-winged, Scaly, Blackfaced and Striated Laughingthrushes, Red-faced Liocichla, Silver-eared Mesia, Blackheaded and Black-eared Shrike-Babblers, Himalayan Cutia, White-hooded Babbler, Streakthroated Rusty-fronted Barwings, Red-tailed, Blue-winged, Chestnut-tailed and Long-tailed Minlas, Yelow-thraoted, Golden-breasted, Streak-throated, Brown-headed Fulvettas, Longtailed and Beautiful Sibias, White-naped, Black-chinned, Striated and Stripe-throated Yuhinas, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Rufous-headed, Lesser Rufous-headed, Brown and Greyheaded
Parrotbills, Chestnut-headed, Grey-bellied, Slaty-bellied and Chestnut-headed Tesias, several bush-warblers including Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, a good selection of leaf warblers- Ashy-throated, Buff-barred and Black-faced Leaf-Warblers, Bar-winged and Long-biled Wren-Babblers, Vivid, Pale Blue and White-gorgeted Flycatchers, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Yellow-browed, Sultan, Rufous-vented and Rufous fronted Tits, White-tailed and Beautiful Nuthatches, Dark-rumped and Spotwinged Rose-finches, Collared Grosbeak, Crimson and Gold-naped Finches, Green Magpie, CollaredTreepie, Yellow-biled Blue Magpie and Large-billed Crow etc. Chances of seeing, Blyth’s Tragopan , Gould’s or Rustybellied Shortwing, Purple Cochoa etc can very.
We will start our return journey to Dibrugarh Airport ( 4 Hrs ) early in the morning. We will take birding stops if time permits. We will take an afternoon flight to Kolkata.
On arrival in Kolkatta, we will check in at a hotel near the airport for dinner and a good night sleep.
We will check out from the hotel early in the morning to take the first flight to Port Blair, the administrative capital of Andaman Islands. On arrival you will be transferred straight to your accommodation. After a short rest we will step out to have our first experience of Birding in Andamans
Today early in the morning, we will drive towards Sippighat, or any other locations selected by your guide in South of Port Blair. The area is a marshy wetland and good for sightings of water birds & waders. Should sight the Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Hawk Owl, Sunda Teal, ulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Brown Coucal, Red-breasted Parakeet, Oriental Scops Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, Edible nest Swiftlet, Common Snipe, Black-naped Tern, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Black-naped Oriole, Andaman Drongo, Orange-headed Thrush, Olive backed Sunbird etc in this area. Return by evening.
Next day , most probably we will cover Chidiya Tapu in the morning , a patch of moist evergreen forest located to the South of Port Blair and excellent for birding. The track for birding starts 4 km before Chidiya Tapu and 2 km along the seashore forest. Should sight the Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Crake, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Black-naped Oriole, Andaman Drongo, Olive backed Sunbird, White-headed Starling, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Chestnutheaded Bee-eater, Brown Coucal, Alexandrine Parakeet, Red-breasted Parakeet, Red-breasted Parakeet etc .
Our third day is kept uncharted as we need this day to go after species we might have missed out during our first two days of birding in Andaman.
We will take the first flight out of Port Blair to Chennai then a connecting flight to Cochin. On arrival you will be transferred to the famous Bird Sanctuary zone of India , Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekad. Evening night birding near the resort premises (if time permits)
Thattekad is a lowland forest with several types of eco-systems – riverine, grasslands, evergreen, scrub, dry deciduous, lowland forest, enabling it to be one of the best birding destinations in India. This is also home to most of the Western Ghats endemics. Our targets at Thattekad are : White bellied Treepie, Puff throated Babbler, Crimson backed Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill and a good collections of owls such as the Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental scopes owl, Brown Fish Owl, Oriental Scopes Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl etc. You should also be able to see the Red Spurfowl, Grey Jungle Fowl, Indian Pitta, Black-throated Munia and the Grey headed fishing eagle etc during our days at Thattekad.
Today we will drive up to the hills of Munnar ( 3 Hrs ) by 7.30 AM, to search for many montane endemics. We will spend the whole day exploring tea gardens and valleys looking for endemics such as Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Rufous Babbler, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black and Orange Flycatcher , Nilgiri Pipit, etc and other local favourites such as Painted Bush Quail, Kerala Laughing Thrush and many more . On the second day in Munnar we will take a short excursion to near by Sholas or make a trip to Eravikulam National Park to search for missed our species .
After a good night rest , we will check out our beautiful resort in Munnar and drive down to Cochin International Airport .We will have our farewell lunch at a restaurant near the Airport before we say good bye. You will be dropped off at the airport after the lunch to take your flight home with a swollen life-list and lots of sweet memories.