South India Endemic Birding holiday – 8 Days

Basic Information

Price : $1245

Western Ghats Mountains runs parallel to the Malabar cost of the Arabian Sea. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a biodiversity hotspot, biologically rich yet threatened. The mountain range immensely influence the weather of the region, furthermore, plays a major role in India’s Monsoon weather pattern. Here the types of forest vary from montane forests in the higher altitudes as high as over 2500 meters above sea level to deciduous, semi evergreen forest patches at the hight of 1000 meters to scrub, dry deciduous forests in the plains.

Tropic Trails Western Ghats Endemic Birding Holiday is covering Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, three states with numerous renowned National Parks with over 50 species of endemic birds found in these different habitats.

Tour Itinerary

Thattekkad is one of the bird-rich places in South India, hosting a variety of resident and migratory avifauna. The lush tropical rainforest bears many endangered and endemic species, the wetland formed along the river Periyar and the foothills covered with semi-evergreen forest and teak trees forms unique habitats and hosts species restricted to such ecotones.

The area has the most endemic birds of the Western Ghats, including the Crimson-backed Sunbird, Grey-headed Bulbul, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Flame-throated Bulbul, Malabar Woodshrike, Malabar Barbet, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Malabar Starling, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, and White cheeked Barbet.

Full day birding at Thattekkad. A good number of nocturnal species are expected from here, both during the day and at night such as Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Jerdon’s Nightjar and Great-eared Nightjar we will spend a considerable amount of time in search of the Sri Lanka Bay Owl as well.

Periyar Tiger Reserve covers an area of 777 sq. km and is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. The lush green forest gets its name from River Periyar which origin deep inside the reserve. We will be birding in the moist deciduous and evergreen forests of the reserve.

The top bird to see here is Wynaad Laughingthrush, other Birds to look out for include Great Indian Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, White-bellied Treepie, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Jungle Owlet, Black Baza, Woolly-necked Stork, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Oriental Scops owl, Rufous Woodpecker, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Malabar-grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet and Indian Scimitar babbler. The trails in the reserve offer a good chance of seeing a few mammals as well, Elephants, Sambar Deer, Indian Gaur, and Nilgiri Langur are a few to name.

After the morning birding session at Periyar, we will set off for Munnar. Enroute we will look for the confined Yellow-throated Bulbul. Other species we may see here are Brown-headed Barbet, Jungle Prinia, Yellow-billed Babbler, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Blue-faced Malkoha, White-browed Bulbul, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Black Eagle, Common Woodshrike, Chestnut-head Bee-eater, Indian Swiftlet, Common Iora, White-bellied, Bronzed Drongo, Purple Sunbird, Asian Palm Swift, Booted Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Common Kestrel and Tawny-bellied Babbler.

At Munnar the montane forests reach as high as 2600 meters above sea level. In the heart of these Sholas found numerous unique inhabitants of the Nilgiri mountains, here we will be looking out for the most sought-after western Ghats endemic birds like Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Robin (or now called White-bellied Sholakili), Palani Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Thrush, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flowerpecker and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon.

One of the remarkable parks we visit during this birding is Eravikulam National Park at Munnar, the flagship species is the ungulate of these hills, Nilgiri Tahr. The soaring rocky hill and the grasslands, alpine plants covering the hill slopes and Shola Forest carpeting the valleys, the view from the park is breath-taking. The park hosts a remarkable number of endemics such as, White-bellied Blue Robin, Palani Laughingthrush, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit and sometimes the rare Broad-tailed Grassbird.

Today we setoff northwards as we descend from the Nilgiri Hills into the plains to Coimbatore. Enroute we will stop for birding and also will pick up few mammal species, such as Tuted Grey Langur and Grizzled Giant squirrel.

Species to look out for at Coimbatore includes, Painted and Chestnut- bellied Sandgrouse, Rock Eagle Owl, Barred Button Quail, Bay-backed Shrike and Indian Courser

You will set off for Mudumalai via Ooty, it’s a long journey (06 hrs.) awaits you ahead. Ooty is a notable place for the Nilgiri resident birds.

Ooty town in the Nilgiri Hills was found by the British in 1821 and used as the summer headquarters for the Madras Presidency until the independence in 1947. The town is set at an elevation of 2300 meters above sea level. The majority of the land is either tea or eucalyptus plantation, most of the birding here is done in the Shola Forest patches and grassy meadows. Key species to lookout for includes, Nilgiri endemics such as Nilgiri Flycatcher, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Laughingthrush (or Black-chinned), the striking Black and Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Pipit and the top-notch species of the region Nilgiri thrush.

Amongst the endemics, other species we may well see are Painted Bush-Quail, Square-tailed Bulbul, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, White-spotted Fantail, Indian Yellow Tit, Grey Jungle Fowl, Indian Blackbird, common Rosefinch, Indian White-eye, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike.

After spending a reasonable amount of time at Ooty for the essential targets we will transfer you to Mudumalai.

The dry deciduous forest and the short grass covered open country has many more birds to add to your list, Blue-faced Malkoha, Jordon’s Bushlark, White-bellied Minivet, Tawny-bellied Babbler, White-bellied Drongo, Bay-backed Shrike, Long-tailed shrike, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Plum-headed Parakeet, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Black-headed Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Coppersmith Barbet, Yellow-eyed Babbler, White-browed Fantail, Indian-blue Robin, White-rumped Shama and Crested Hawk-Eagle are few notable species.

After the morning birding you will depart for the airport.