Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

Southern India

Andamans and Western Ghats

South India and Andamans

Western Ghats and the Andaman Islands endemics

9th - 22nd January 2022

Leader: Wilbur Goh and Sudheesh

Day 1:
Arrive Port Blair in the morning. For those arriving on the first flights (0720 and 0735) we have time for some initial birding 20-30 minutes from the airport birding coastal areas in search of Andaman Teal. In the afternoon we are likely to bird Mount Harriet National Park, a tropical moist evergreen forest for the rest of the day. Our first endemic could include Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Cuckoo Dove, Andaman Crake, Brown Coucal, Andaman Cuckooshrike, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Starling. In the evening we have our first chance of the two endemic boobook; Hume’s and Andaman, along with ‘Walden’s’ Oriental Scops Owl. Night in Port Blair.

Days 2-4:
Three full days birding at least three different areas in search of the islands imaginatively named endemics: Andaman Teal, Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Barn Owl, Andaman Boobook, Hume’s Boobook, Andaman Nightjar, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Brown Coucal, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Shama, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Crake, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Starling, Andaman Woodpigeon, Andaman Green Pigeon, Andaman Flowerpecker, Andaman Cuckooshrike and Andaman Cuckoo Dove. Nights in Port Blair.

Day 5:
Early breakfast then to the airport for our Air India flight, AI 550 (0800/1010) to Chennai, connecting with flight AI429 (1330/1420) onward to Coimbatore, we then drive north to Ooty (90km / 3 hours), arriving in the early evening. Night at Ooty.

Day 6:
Early morning departure for birding around Mudumalai (35km / 90 mins), on the way Painted Bush Quail being possible. The terrain is varied with hills, valleys, ravines, watercourses and swamps, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and scrub forests and hence is ideal birding country. Our targets include Indian Scimitar Babbler, Indian Pygmy Woodpecker, Jerdon’s Bushlark, Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Nuthatch, White-bellied Minivet, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-browed Bulbul, White-cheeked Barbet, Jacobin Cuckoo, White-bellied Woodpecker, Bright-green Warbler, Malabar Lark and Nilgiri Flowerpecker. Occasionally Nilgiri Thrush can be found lurking in a bamboo gulley. Night at Mudumalai.

Day 7:
Morning around Mudumalai once again, with White-bellied Minivet, Grey Junglefowl and Red Spurfowl being the prime targets, before returning to Ooty (45km / 90 minutes) - a hill station, at 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills. It may not be the prettiest of hill stations but does contain Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Bush Robin, Indian Blackbird, Indian Scimitar Babbler and Black-and-orange, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers. We also have a chance of the most elusive of endemics, Nilgiri Thrush lurking in the shadows. Night at Ooty.

Day 8:
After a morning at Ooty we leave for Munnar (250km / 6 hours) via the Ghats to Khambam. We will proceed to Bodi Ghats en-route Munnar, with little birding en-route, reaching Munnar by the evening. Night at Munnar.

Day 9:
Birding in the sholas (high altitude montane forests) and grasslands, mainly from the roadside in search of Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Kerala Laughingthrush, Malabar Whistling-thrush, Nilgiri Flycatcher and White-bellied Bush Robin. If we have succeeded with all of those targets then in the afternoon, a relatively steep walk up above the treeline gives us our one shot at the incredibly elusive Broad-tailed Grassbird, a monsoon-singer. Night at Munnar.

Day 10:
Winding our way down the hillside gives us our one shot at Yellow-throated Bulbul, along with Blue-faced Malkoha and Jungle Prinia. Following on from here, we arrive in Kumily for lunch (90km / 2 hours). Afternoon visit to the fabulous Periyar Tiger Reserve to concentrate on locating the difficult Wynaad’s Laughingthrush, with a supporting cast that could include Rufous Babbler, White-bellied Treepie, Indian Spinetail, Loten’s Sunbird and Heart-spotted Woodpecker, in this bird-rich area. Night at Kumily.

Day 11:
Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the finest wildlife and birding destinations in South India. With over 320 bird species and is ideal habitat for Tiger. Periyar Tiger Reserve contains a variety of habitats from grassland and dry decidu­ous forest to evergreen forest and riverside scrub. As a result of its wide range of habitats it boasts an impressive list of resident species includ­ing about half the peninsular endemics and near-endemics. We spend the day searching here for some very special species including Wynaad’s Laughingthrush. Other birds to look out for include Black Baza, Malabar Trogon, White-bellied Treepie, Grey-fronted Green Pi­geon, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Rufous Babbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, and Heart-spotted Woodpecker among other more widespread species. We may also see Woolly-necked Stork, Besra, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Jungle Owlet and Indian Spinetail.A walk skirting the reservoir gives us one of our best chances of Indian Spinetail, and along the shoreline Asian Elephant and Sambar Deer feed, with Dhole also being possible. Night at Kumily.

Day 12:
Depending on our success depends on when we leave Periyar for Thattekkad (120km / 4 hours). On the way an area of roadside forest provides us with the best chance of Grey-headed Bulbul, one of the more difficult endemics of the region. Thattekkad is a lowland forest area with several types of eco-systems – river­ine, grasslands, evergreen, scrub, dry deciduous, lowland forest. This is also home to most of the endemics of the Western Ghats. White-bel­lied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Indian Spinetail, Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Grey Hornbill. Though much of the night-birding in Western Ghats is spent finding day-roosting owls, with Brown Wood Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Orien­tal Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl, and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl all possible, we plan to spend considerable time out at night in search of the highly sought-after Sri Lanka Bay Owl. Night at Thattekad.

Day 13:
Full day inside and around Thattekad for our remaining targets, along with nightbirding. Night at Thattekad.

Day 14:
Potentially some early morning birding at Thattekad before heading across to Cochin (Kochi) International Airport (43km/60-90mins) for our onwards flights.

Tour details

Cost: £ 2,890 or $ 3,760

Deposit: £ 500 or $ 700

Single room supplement:
£ 460 or $ 600

Maximum group size: 7

Tour cost includes: all accommodation, main meals, internal flight (Port Blair to Coimbatore), overland transport, entrance fees, drinking water, tips to local drivers and guides, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes: international flights; flight to Port Blai and departing Kochi, visa, travel insurance, drinks, tips to tour guides, and other items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: comfortable twin, and single, rooms with private facilities throughout. t many sites our accommodation has lovely surrounding gardens with plenty of birdlife.

At Thattekad we stay in comfortable tented camp with private facilities, situated right on the edge of the Periyar River.

Walking difficulty: easy to moderate throughout, mainly on wide tracks and roads, with few forest trails.

Maximum elevation on the tour is 2,400m, staying below 2,000m throughout.

Expected number of species: 290 - 310 species.

Number of endemics and range-restricted species: 21 species endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar islands and an additional 30 Indian endemics, most of which confined to the Western Ghats.

Map of the tour

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