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 Western Ghats Endemic Birding Tour
Western Ghats Endemic Birding Tour, India
Western Ghats Endemic Birding Tour (KBG - 02)
Region : South India
8
Days

Activity

Comfort

Cost per Person

US$ 1360

Based on a minimum of 2 people travelling

Tour Overview

The Western Ghats of South Western India, locally known as the Sahyadri Hills, are formed by the Malabar Plains and the chain of mountains running parallel to India's western coast, about 30 to 50 kilometers inland. The Western Ghats intercepts the South Western Monsoon winds. The wide variation of rainfall patterns in the Western Ghats, coupled with the region’s complex geography, produces a great variety of vegetation types. These include scrub forests in the low-lying rain shadow areas and the plains, deciduous and tropical rainforests up to about 1,500 meters, and a unique mosaic of cloud forests and rolling grasslands above 1,500 meters. It is no wonder then that the changing eco-tones and the vast variety of eco-systems are home to numerous endemic species of birds, mammals & vegetation. This 8-day Western Ghats Endemics Birding Tour is an intense birding trip with little time for sightseeing. The tour covers the lowland forests at Thattekkad, the famed Periyar Tiger Reserve and the shola-grasslands of Munnar & Ooty.



Western Ghats Endemic Birding Tour

Day 1-3: Thattekkad
 Thattekkad 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 endemics of the Western Ghats. One should sight the Whitebellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimsonbacked Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Wayanad Laughing Thrush, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill besides owls like the Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental scopes owl, Brown Fish Owl, Oriental Scopes Owl and Spotbellied Eagle Owl. You should also be able to sight the Red Spurfowl, Grey Jungle Fowl, Indian Pitta, Black-throated Munia and the Grey headed fishing eagle.
Day 4: Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the finest wildlife & birding destinations in South India. With over 320 bird species identified and a leading habitat for the Bengal Tiger, this sanctuary is an ideal destination of the tour. Periyar National Park 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 Periyar boasts an impressive list of resident species including about half the peninsular endemics and near-endemics We will spend the day searching here for some very special species including the elusive Wynaad Laughingthrush. Other birds to look out for include White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Eagle, the striking Black Baza, Pompadour Green and Mountain Imperial Pigeon, the migratory Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Gray-breasted Prinia, Thick-billed Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, and the Asian Fairy Bluebird among other more widespread species. We may also sight the Woolly-necked Stork, Besra, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Jungle Owlet, White-rumped Spinetail, Black-naped Monarch and the Little Spiderhunter.
Day 5-6: Munnar
We will leave for Munnar via the Ghats to Khambam where we should sight the Large Grey Babbler, Common Babbler, Jungle Bush Quail and the Grey Fancolin. We will proceed to Bodi Ghats en-route Munnar and stop over for sighting the rare Yellow Throated Bulbul, Indian Robin, Sirkeer Malkoha, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Bluefaced Malkoha and the Black eagle. We will reach Munnar by evening. The next day we will go birding in the sholas (high altitude montane forests) and grasslands for the Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Whitebellied Shortwing, Broadtailed Grassbird, Grasshopper Warbler.
Day 7: Ooty
We will start early in the morning birding at Chinnar (dry scrub forest) looking for White-bellied Drongo, Blue faced Malkoha, White-naped woodpecker, Blue-beared bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle Bush Quail and the Yellow-legged Button quail. From here taking the long drive, we will reach Ooty by evening. Ooty - a hill station, at about 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills - is where we will look for the endemic Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, White-bellied Shortwing, and Black-and-rufous, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers.
Day 8: Kochi
After morning birding at Ooty, we will make our way back to Kochi birding along the way.  Tour ends.

Inclusions

  • Accommodation for 7 nights with all  meals
  • All surface transportation, driver’s allowances, parking fees & toll,
  • Highly experinced birding guide 
  • Bottled water & refreshments in the field
  • All birding walks, safaris and entrance fees to parks & sanctuaries
  • All taxes

Holiday Feedback

Spent a wonderful three weeks with the boys, Deepu and ornithologist Jijo. Deepu probably the best driver/guide we've had in 20 years of travelling. Great itinerary, largely custom designed and magnificent birding. Judith Poole Pilley 2016-08-30

It has been one of the best birding holidays I have ever been on. I'm seriously thinking to come back to India with the same company. I'd like to remark the excellent work of Peter as a guide, he's a fine birding guide and a very concerned tour leader about well-being of the clients. The trip has fulfilled my expectations. It was a trip focused on endemic birds from Western Ghats and I got 17 from a total of 18 possible species. It's a big success. The total list raised to 214 species, a high number to an 8 days trip.  Luis Mario Arce 2015-03-09

Route Maps

FAQs

Q: Do I need a Visa to enter India?
Yes. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html

Q: What kind of climate should I expect?
India is tropical and would be hot and humid most of the year except during November to February when it is cooler. In addition, the highlands are cooler and cold at nights during the winter months.

Q: Are tour dates flexible?
Yes.

Q: What are the accommodations like?
Accommodations we use are all birder friendly accommodations near the birding areas, clean and with great service.

Q: Can you provide me with a list of the hotels we will be staying at?
It would be sent along with the detailed itinerary we send to you.

Q: Can I book extra nights of hotel accommodation before or after my tour ?
Yes, we can arrange pre and post night extensions.

Q: Do you cater to dietary requirements?
Yes we do but we would require adequate advance notice.

Q: What is the Indian currency?
Indian Rupee. The higher denomination notes are 100, 500 and 2000 rupees.

Q: Are foreign currencies accepted locally?
The USD, GBP and EURO are easily accepted at all places.

Q: Are there ATMs available?
Yes. Banking services and numerous ATMs available throughout South India

Q: Are credit and charge cards widely accepted ?
Yes, all the hotels we use & most shops in locations mentioned in this itinerary accept credit cards

Q: Should I purchase travel insurance before travelling ?
Yes, it is highly recommended that you take out travel insurance before travelling to India, covering any medical situation, hospitalisation, cancellation and loss of your baggage. We cover your causality evacuation to the nearest hospital which is included in the cost. However, this does not cover the cost of medical treatment at the hospital.

Q: What vaccinations will I require?
Please check with your doctor. The areas which fall within this tour are malaria-free.

Q: Air airport transfers included?
Yes. Pick up from the airport and drop to the airport are included as mentioned in the itinerary.

Q: What kind of electrical travel adaptor will I need?
India uses 230 Volts, 50 Hz alternating current as the power source. Plugs and sockets have either grounded / earthed 3 Pin connections (Type D) or ungrounded 2 pin connections (Type C). The two pin plug is also called the Europlug. It has two round 4 mm (0.157 in) pins. It can be inserted in either way into the socket. Hence there is no fixed live (hot) and neutral (cold) terminals. The three pin plug is rated at 6A / 250V. It has three round pins in a triangular pattern. The earth terminal is slightly larger than the live and neutral terminals. For Higher current, there is a 15 Amp version of the same 3 Pin plug, usually called the Power Plug or the M Plug. Live and neutral are 1 inch (25.4 mm) apart. Earth terminal is 1+1⁄8 in (28.58 mm) away from live and neutral terminals. Typically, refrigerators, heaters and other high power devices are connected to this 15 Amp socket.

Q: Will a standard European electric plug (2 round pins) fit into a power point in India?
Yes. To insert the 2 pin plug into a Type D 3 Pin socket which in some cases may be closed by default, push a pen into the Ground/Earth terminal. This opens up the protected 2 Pin terminals and you can insert the 2 Pin plug.

Q: Will a standard American electric plug fit into a power point in India?
No. But any electrical store will sell you an adapter for around 50 cents or less.

Q: What is included in my tour?
Accommodation with most meals, all transfers, all birding walks, birding guide.

Q: What is not included in the tour?
Tips, some meals, personal expenses, beverages and liquor.

Q: How much should I tip?
Tipping is the customary way of saying thank you for a good trip. Any amount is welcome and is certain to augment the income of the bird guide and driver. Please remember that this is their only means of livelihood.

Q: Tell me more about the birding guides?
Our birding guides are knowledgeable. For single or two guests we sometimes provide a car with a driver who is also an accomplished birding guide.

Q: Is there any restrictions on drinking liquor or smoking?
There are no restrictions on drinking liquor but consumption of liquor in public is not permitted. Please check with your guide or driver if the hotel has a liquor license. You can pick up liquor from liquor vends all over South India. Smoking in public is also not permitted.

Q: What will the meals be like on my tour?
Meals are usually ethnic Indian fare, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. Some hotels may provide Continental food.

Q: Is there a 24 hours hotline for me to call during an emergency?
Yes. The number will be provided to you before you start the tour

Q: What is the Internet access like?
All places have internet, not necessarily in the rooms but near the reception.

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