South India : Birds & Beyond

//South India : Birds & Beyond

South India : Birds & Beyond

There is a wide diversity of plants and animals in South India, resulting from its varied climates and geography. Deciduous forests are found along the Western Ghats while tropical dry forests and scrub lands are common in the interior Deccan plateau. The southern Western Ghats have rainforests located at high altitudes called the South Western Ghats montane rain forests and the Malabar Coast moist forests are found on the coastal plains.The Western Ghats is one of the eight hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our 15 days long , South India + Andaman Birds and beyond nature tour will explore the best nature hotspots in three southern states and the Andaman archipelago. We will travel through steamy and hot low land forest areas as well as cold Western Ghat mountain tops. We will witness and experiences unforgettable local art forms , experience a laid-back way of life and enjoy variety of spicy local dishes.

Top Birds

Painted Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Nilgiri Wood & Grey-fronted Green Pigeons, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Blue-winged Parakeet, Malabar Woodshrike, Whitespotted Fantail, White-bellied Treepie, Indian Black-lored Tit, Malabar Lark, Grey-headed, Flame-throated & Yellow-throated Bulbuls, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Indian Scimitar & Rufous Babblers, Wynaad, Nilgiri & Palani aughingthrushes, Malabar Starling, Nilgiri Thrush, White-bellied Blue, Black-and-orange & Nilgiri Flycatchers, Nilgiri Blue & White-bellied Blue Robins, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Nilgiri Pipit, Indian Pitta, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Heart-spotted Woodpecker.

Andaman Teal, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, Andaman Green Pigeon, Andaman Coucal, Violet Cuckoo, Andaman Scops Owl, Hume’s Hawk-Owl, Andaman Hawk-Owl, Andaman Nightjar, Andaman Woodpecker, Long-tailed
Parakeet, Andaman Cuckooshrike, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Bulbul, White-headed Starling, Andaman Shama, Andaman Flowerpecker.

Other Attractions

Fort Cochin , Kathakali Performance , Kerala Feast , Tea Gardens , Roadside Temples, Tea Museum, Kalaripayattu Performance , Colonial buildings, Western Ghat – landscapes.

Tour Infoarmation

  • Tour Starting Point : Kochi International Airport ( COK )
  • Tour Ending Point : Chennai International Airport ( MAA )
  • Accommodation : comfortable to luxurious ( clean and modern always )
  • Food : Indian, Continental and local
  • Group Size : 6-8
  • Difficulty level : Easy ( with one long drive )
  • Weather : Humid and Hot in low land , Cold in Mountains
  • Number of species : 250+ ( 30 + endemics )
  • Photographic Opportunities : Excellent


Day 1 Arrival : Kochi International Airport ( COK ) 2018-04-18T10:18:22+00:00

We will pick you up from the Kochi International Airport and drive straight to the old part of Cochin, the Fort Kochi. After checking in at your hotel, we will have a siesta before we go out for a short walk-around-thecity-tour through the centuries old colonial town of Fort Cochin. One could see the remains of a rich foregone era of spice trade and cultural remains of both the West era and the oriental influences. You will also attend a Kathakali ( One of Kerala’s traditional Art forms ) show before your dinner.

Night : Hotel / Heritage home stay in Fort Cochin.

Day 2 : Old City Tour , Kerala Sadya and Thattekad 2018-04-18T10:24:31+00:00

Today morning we will go for a sight seeing tour through the old city and visit the famous Jewish synagogue, Dutch palace, Dhobi Khana and Saint Franscio Church & Basilica where Vasco De
Gamma was first buried . We will have a traditional Kerala Sadya ( Kerala vegetarian feast )  before we board our vehicle to Thattekad , our first birding spot in this tour.

Night Birding at Thattekad.
Night : Thattekad

Day 3,4. Thattekad 2018-04-18T10:25:28+00:00

Thattekad, a sleepy little village on the banks of river Periyar, is probably the most important endemic rich birding destinations in India. Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is also located over here. We will spend next two days by visiting various forests areas in and around Thattekad, looking for endemics such as White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimson backed Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Barbet, White checked Barbet, Grey headed bulbul, Flame Throated bulbul, Grey-fronted green pigeon, Nilgiri Flowerpecker etc and Non endemics like Legge’s Hawk eagle, Indian Pitta, Red Spurfowl, Black-throated Munia, Grey Jungle Fowl, Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental scopes owl, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Scopes Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Great-eared Nightjar, Sri Lanka Frogmouth etc.

Day 5 & 6 – Periyar 2018-04-18T10:26:36+00:00

On day 6, after an early breakfast we will say good bye to Thattekad and start our drive to the Western Ghat mountain ranges. Our first destination is the PERIYAR Tiger Reserve. We will reach Periyar by the lunch time after an interesting drive through valleys and tea – gardens. Post lunch we will take our first nature walk through the forest trails to search for the endemic Wyanad laughing-thrush- our prime target in Periyar. We will take two more such walks under the watchful eyes of forest wardens on the next day to locate species such as Whiterumped spine-tail, Brown-backed Needle-tail, Black Baza, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Common flame-back, White-bellied Woodpecker, RustyTailed Flycatcher, Malabar Trogon, Heart Spotted Woodpecker etc good also have good chance for seeing mammals such as Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Gaur, Elephant, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer etc.

We will also find time to visit a Spices planation to see and experience the true reasons behind 400 years of colonisation, and in the evening you will witness a round of Kalaripayattu ( a traditional Martial art ).

Day 7 & 8 – Munnar. ( 6 hrs ) 2018-04-18T10:27:43+00:00

We proceed to Munnar 1500 ( Meters ) in the morning via Bodi Ghats where we are likely to see Yellow throated Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Indian Robin, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Blue-faced Malkoha, Jungle Prinia, Yellow billed Babbler, Grey-bellied Cuckoo etc. It will take around six hrs of drive to reach Munnar with few birding stops in between. Next day is dedicated for high altitude endemics such as Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Robin, Kerala Laughing Thrush etc. We will also visit the Eravikulam National Park, or Pothamedu grass lands to search for Nilgiri Thrush, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Pipit etc.

Munnar is famous for its Tea Gardens. We will spend some quality wandering around tea gardens and visit a tea museum in the evening.

Day 9 & 10 Ooty 2018-04-18T10:28:30+00:00

On day 10, We will set off early in the morning to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to search for the highly sought after Spotbellied Eagle Owl and some other common dry land species. After birding in morning hours we will continue our long drive to Ooty. We will reach the resort town of Ooty by evening after 8 hours long drive with few stops in between for lunch and some possible birding or landscape Photography. Ooty is an old colonial hill station, located at about 2,200 meters above sea-level. We will scan mountain slops and shoals for Nilgiri endemics such as Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Thrush, Black and orange flycatcher, Malabar Lark and Painted Bush Quail and many other high altitude species.

Day 11, Coimbatore to Port Blair ( Andamans ) 2018-04-18T10:29:11+00:00

We will have an early breakfast on day 11 and drive to Coimbatore Airport to fly to Port Blair ( administrative Capital of Andaman Islands ) via Chennai . We will reach Port Blair by 2 PM

Day 11,12,13,14,15 Andaman Island 2018-04-18T10:33:19+00:00

Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal . These roughly 300 Islands are known for their Plam-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves, and tropical rain forests . These Islands are home for more that 240 species of birds of which about 20 of them are endemics to the Island.

After checking in at our resort / nature lodge in the emerald Island of Andaman, we will bird in the evening hours for local species . We will have 3 full days of birding in Andaman Islands coming up and shall cover many important birding areas such as Chidiyathapu, Mt Harriet National Park, Ferrargung Forest reserve etc during our Andaman birding expedition. Our first full day shall be spent in and around Chidiya Tapu Reserve Forest, a tropical moist evergreen forest known for easy sightings of Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Cuckoo Dove, Andaman Crake, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Coucal,  Andaman Flowerpecker, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Bulbul ,Andaman Shama, Andaman White-headed Starling, Andaman Green Pigeon, Black-naped Oriole, Orangeheaded Thrush, Olive backed Sunbird, Alexandrine Parakeet, Redbreasted Parakeet, long-tailed Parakeet, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Dollarbird, Collared Kingfisher etc . On day two we may go to Mount Harriet National park for Night birds such as Andaman Scops Owl , Andaman Hawk Owl, oriental Scopes Owl (Andaman sub), Hume’s Owl etc.

Nest full day we will spend in and around Ferrargung Forest Reserve. It is the best place to locate species such as Andaman Teal, , Andaman Drongo, Andaman cuckooshrike, Edible nest Swiftlet etc. We will also visit Sippy Ghat to look for some Waders.

Andaman archipelagos is known for quality beaches. No trips to the Andaman will get completed with out spending time on pristine beaches of the Island. We can also organise “snorkelling trips ” if any of you are interested at an extra cost.

On day 15 , after our breakfast we will drive to the airport to take a noon flight to Chennai to reach in time for your international flight connection .

Tour Map

Tour Alterations : While every effort is made to make the tour descriptions as accurate as possible, participants should be aware that, factors beyond our control may result in changes to the itinerary. Should a major change of itinerary be forced upon us while the tour is in progress as, like an airline strike, weather delay or political crisis, the additional costs, if any, are the responsibility of the tour participant.

Disclaimer : We recommend travel insurance. While we always exercise all reasonable precautions, we are not responsible for any injury, damage and additional charges or other irregularities either intentionally or by negligence by firms providing our tours transport, accommodations and other services. Participants hold harmless our organisation, as well as employees of the organisations from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this tour.

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