Travel to Nepal
South India & Andman Island Birdwatching Tour 2012
Travel to Nepal
country_image Period: 10.01.2012-01.2.2012

Author(s): Shankar Tiwari (

Key sites visited: Bangalore, Ranganthittu, Nagarhole, Madumulai, Ooty, Topslip, Munnar, Thekkady & Andaman Island (Portblair).

South India (Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka & Andaman Island)

South India and Andaman Island Birding Tour report from 10 January to 1st February 2012:

This was the tour organized by Travel Nepal Pvt. Ltd.,, we were 7 people (6 people from Canada and myself from Nepal as a tour guide). A friend of mine Mr. Pierre Poulin whom we knew each other since his visit to Nepal on 2002 AD and his other keen birding friends Mr. Real Bisson, Mr. Jacques Larrivee, Mr. Real Belanger, Mr. Rodolphe Dubois & Mr. Alain Desrosiers as they were keen interested to see the birds and other wildlife, Off course endemics, Pierre was strongly recommending his friends to make this tour with me, likewise we were able to reach to our target birds including of 343 total species and 42 endemic birds and 37 different mammals including of Royal Bengal Tiger, Common Leopard, Wild Elephant, Gaur, Wild Dog, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Giant flying Squirrel, Nilgiri Langur and Endemic Lion-tailed Macaque and many more.

Pierre Poulin and my self along with group were very happy to meet at the arrival lounge at Bangalore Airport and moved on to our hotel at Bangalore by Tempo Travel mini bus with our good driver that took an hour drive at night time trrafic. Our first two days were easy days to get used to the atmosphere from Bangalore city but again we have visited nearest gardens each day, on our first afternoon on 10th January we have visited Lalbagh Botanical Garden where we could start from our listed birds including of Indian Cormorants, Little Cormorant, Little Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Spot-billed Duck, White-throated Kingfisher, Asian Koel, Ashy Drongo, Greater Coucal , Spotted Owlet, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Brahaminy Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Swamphen, Ashy Prinia, Greenish Warbler, Red-throated Flycatcher, Common Tailorbird, Purple -rumped Sunbird etc.. & seen White-cheeked Barbets as our first endemic of the trip with great pleasure.

On the 11th January, this was the day for city sightseeing in our plan but again we were carrying our binoculars while we could see endemic birds White-cheeked Barbet again working out in the nest very close by crowed of people near temple about 7 meters from us and shops while our city guide Mrs. Jayanti was explaining about Big Bull Temple and many other small temples surrounding. After the city tour we have visited Coppan Garden later afternoon where we were able to see some other common garden birds some similar to Lalbagh Garden but more including of Coppersmith Barbet, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Greenish Warbler, White-browed Wagtail etc. and mammals including of Bonnet Macaque and Five-striped Palm Squirrel.

On the 12th January, as our real birding days starts from today from the Nandihill 60 km from Bangalore where we could enjoy the scenaries and few good birds including Indian Roller, Green Bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, White-rumped Needletail, Alpine Swift, Laughing and Spotted Doves, Common Snipe, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana and River Tern on the way along with some common Waders, Shikra, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Tawny Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Brown Shrike, Indian Golden Oriole, Ashy Drongo, Blue-capped Rockthrush, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Indian Robin, Pied Bushchat, Brahminy Starling, Rosy Starling, Dusky Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Tickel's Leaf Warbler, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Jerdon's Bush-Lark, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Paddyfield Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Indian Silverbill etc....

On the 13th January, we left Bangalore and drove towards the Mysore where we could see most rare and endemic Yellow-throated Bulbul and some other good birds including of Tawny-bellied Babbler, Common Iora, White-browed Bulbul, Yellow-billed Babbler, Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike, Small Minivet, Common Woodshrike, Puff-throated Babbler, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Purple Sunbird, and some Waders along with Black Ibis, Black-headed Ibis, Cotton Pigmy Goose, Wood Sandpiper and many more.

After checking in and lunch at hotel in Mysore, we drove towards the Ranganathitoo Bird Sanctuary and had a boat trip little around while we could see some nice birds including Indian Gray Hornbill, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Great Thick-knee, River Tern, Crested Serpent Eagle, Eurasian March Harrier, Oriental Darter, Indian Cormorant, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Little Egret, Spot-billed Pelican, Painted Stork, Wooly-necked Stork, Asian Openbill, Eurasian Spoonbill, Wire-tailed Swallow, Streak-throated Swallow, Spot-breasted Fantail, Black-headed Munia, and more. Also saw good number of Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, one very near about 5 meters from our boat, and Indian Flying Fox, Indian Pipistrelle were seen.

On the 14th January: Early morning to Chamundi Hill was worth to visit where we could see Indian Pitta (was attracted by the call), glimpse of Blue-face Malkoha was exciting for a while in the thickets, and Ashy Wood Swallows, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Brown Shrike, Rufous Treepie, Indian Golden Oriole, Small Minivet, Red-throated Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, were flying around on the western slope of the forest. We had to drive back to hotel for breakfast to leave for Nagarhole at Rajivgandhi National Park to meet exciting afternoon jeep safari for Malabar species. On the way to Nagahole we were able to see Bonellis Eagle, Short-toed Snake-Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Malabar Lark, Scally-breasted Munia and some people were able to see Clamorous Reed Warbler and Rosy Starling again. Once we entered our hotel with huge garden where we were already expecting some new birds as we found Forest Wagtail in front of our rooms feeding on the ground, at this moment we were in hurry to have lunch and move towards game drive along with watching birds as we did and started to gain our bird list with endemics Malabar Parakeet, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Woodshrike, and other birds including Indian Peafowl, Black-rumped Flameback, Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Vernal Hanging-Parrot, Plum-headed Parakeets decorating the paddyfield near forest, Asian Palm Swift, Little Swift, Crested Tree-Swift, Spotted Owlet, Green Imperial Pigeon, Crested Hawk Eagle, Long tailed Shrike, Ashy Wood Swallow, Common Woodshrike, Oriental Magpie Robin, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Grey-breasted Prinia, Ashy Prinia, Black-headed Munia and Scaly-breasted Munia.

Next day on 15th January was also one of the very exciting days of the trip as we have seen many other endemic birds and a Royal Bengal Tiger during the Jeep Safari, One of our birding friend Jacques has made nice picture while Tiger was crossing the road. We have also seen many other animal including of 8 Wild Elephants, many Spotted Deers, about 10 Gaurs, 4 Sambar Deer, 2 Indian Wild Boars, many Bonnet Macaques, many Common Langur Monkeys, 1 Black-naped Hare, Indian Mud Turtle, 1 Brahminy Skink. It was really live National Park as we see people in other Jeeps were also seen some Leopards. Birds that we saw today were Gray Jungle Fowl, Lesser Whistling Duck, Rufous Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Brown-capped Pigmy Woodpecker, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Greater Flameback, White-napped Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Jungle Owlet, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Red-wattled Lapwing, Red-headed Vulture, Indian Pond Heron, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Black-hooded Oriole, Large-cuckoo Shrike, Black-headed Cuckoo Shrike, Scarlet Minivet, Bronzed Drongo, White-bellied Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Malabar Starling, Southern Hill Myna, Red Vented Bulbul, Green Warbler, Tawny-bellied Babbler, Jungle Babbler, Western Yellow Wagtail, Western Yellow Wagtail (Grey Headed) and many more...

On 16th January, we again had a morning jeep safari at Nagarhole to look for some missing birds, this morning we saw better view of some of the birds from yesterday and saw Alexandrine Parakeets, Egyptian Vulture and Ruddy Mongoose as new for the trip. Soon after breakfast we have headed towards Mudumalai for late lunch via Bandipur National Park, here we went for walk around near our Hotel in the bamboo and mix forest and excitingly found a endemic bird Malabar Whistling Thrush and White-rumped Shama, glimpse of Red Spurfowl, Orange-headed Thrush, and heard Grey-headed Bulbul and seen by some of us. From next morning, we had few very target birds for this destination and started to search in the field where our local bird guide pointed out the Brown Fish Owl at the same time Malabar whistling Thrush was whistling to us and asking to look at her as we were happy to see this endemic, same time Tickel's Blue Flycatcher was posing on the open branch to be taken a pictures, it was wonderful to be there but we had to move further in the thin forest where we were surprised to see adult male White-bellied Minivet, everyone in the group could see him for a while than was disappeared but we could again find him a bit way in the little bush catching flies where Mr. Real Belanger could make a good picture. Same time unusual 2 Eurasian Griffons along with White-rumped Vulture, Red-headed Vulture and Indian Vulture were flying over our head and seen Sykes's Warbler and Common Wood Shrike and Jerdon's Bush Larks. And some small flock of small Minivet, late in the afternoon we were searching for Nightjars in the different location where we saw Grey Francolin with better view and could again see a male and a female White-bellied Minivet and Yellow-wattled Lapwing, here we had to wait till dark to see the Grey Nightjar and heard Savana Nightjar as well around same area. While waiting for Nightjar, our local guide said he saw a flock of Jungle bush Quail in the bush while he was alone away from us but next morning we came back to see this flock of Jungle Bush Quail very well and could manage to make nice pictures. Walking around this forest is the best way to find most target birds, our bird call has called the Malabar Grey hornbill for telescope view for better look. After while our local guide came to tell us that he has seen a Sloth Bear, but by the time we reached there Bear was moved beyond the sight. Somehow visiting Mudumalai was very worth full and saw other birds including of Brown-capped Pigmy Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Indian Pitta, Bay-backed Shrike, Black-headed Cuckoo Shrike, White-browed Fantail, Black-napped Monarch, Common Wood shrike, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Western-crowned Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Indian Scimitar Babbler etc.. Seen Indian Wild Dogs as well.

Ooty after Mudumalai was another exciting location with cool atmosphere on the elevation of 2200 meter, here we saw some of the very beautiful and endemic species including of Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Shortwing, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black-&-Orange Flycatcher, Indian Blackbird, Hill Swallow, Tytler's Leaf Warbler, Tickel's Leaf Warbler, Fork-tail Swift, Bonellis Eagle, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Nilgiri Flowerpecker and many more.

Our next destination was to Topslip for two over nights was the most remote with basic accommodation and food but have good forest left for some of the very good birds, here we were able to see Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Common Flameback, Ceylon Forgmouth, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Pompadour Greenpigeon, Malabar Woodshrike, Black-throated Munia, Flame-throated Bulbul, Blue-face Malkoha, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Great Hornbill, and many more to names...

On the way to Munar from Topslip we drove over a hundred kms to look for very endemic and attractive looking animal cakked Lion-tailed Macaque, at the regular area, we were able to find 4 of them very close to take nice pictures. Reached Munar in the evening for overnight although we had good day with some other good birds and other animals including of Tufted Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Blue-whistling Thrush, Long-billed Sunbird, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle, and more.

Next day after early breakfast we moved towards the Rajamalai National Park where we had to catch government regular shuttle bus from the main gate for about 20 minute one way, within couple of hours time we were able to see Nilgiri Pipit right on the arrival, then Jungle Prinia, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Arctic Warbler, and more, we were also able to see one of the most rare Indian animal in this park called Nilgiri Thar and also seen Bonnet Macaques, On this day we had to drive to most famous south Indian National Park called Periyar National Park and had enjoyed some of the stops on the way for few missing birds.

On the following Day: Early morning we left for Gavi Dam and had good birding on the way and reached main Gavi station for breakfast and bird walk after would, It was worthful to visit this area for some good birds including of Little Spiderhunter, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Grey-headed Bulbul, Blue-whistlingthrush, and more.

The following Day: The day with walk in the forest and boating on the Periyar Lake was another interesting day to see some of the missing birds and another big Cat including of Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, Malabar Trogon, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Black Baza and Leopard view from Boat ride was something very interesting.

Our next destination was to Chennai to catch our flight to Andaman Island for 4 days birding trip and it was really successful with all our target birds including of Andaman Crake, Andaman Cuckoo-dove, Andaman Cuckoo-shrike, Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Masked (Barn) Owl, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Howk Owl, Andaman Nightjar, Andaman Teal, Andaman Wood Pigeon and many more.

After successful Andaman trip we were heading back to Chennai and once we were there we tried to visit Guindy Park but getting permit to foreigner was not easy, so made a bit of time to visit at Adiyar River and Society Garden where we could add more birds in our list including of Black-tailed Gadwit, Marsh Sandpiper and Grey-headed Lapwing.

Finally we 7 were fully satisfied from our South India and Andaman Island. I in fact we all must say it was very successful trip.


Client's Feedback
Roly Lloyd from Australia
"I recently had the good fortune to go birdwatching in Nepal with my friend Dr Robert Sothman in Nepal. I contacted Tragopan Trek / Travel Nepal Pvt Ltd., a contact found through Birding Pals Nepal. We had excellent feed-back and responses to all our e-mails which gave us confidence to book a bird watching tour through them. We were met at Kathmandu airport by our guide Shankar and had a very comfortable...    Read More

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