Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Lion-tailed Macaque © R Wasley
Black-and-orange Flycatcher © R WasleyNilgiri Blue Robin © R WasleyKerala Laughingthrush © R WasleyNilgiri Tahr, Rajamalai © J Thomas

Endemic Birds and Mammals of South India (15 days) B131

Tour ref. no. B131
Duration: 13 nights (15 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Kochi – Thattekkad – Periyar – Munnar – Chinnar – Valparai –Ooty – Mudumalai – Mysore – Bangalore
  • Sought-after endemics / range restricted to Nilgiri Hills
  • Kashmir Flycatcher, Black-chinned Laughingthrush at Ooty
  • Thattekkad for stunning Indian Pitta, Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Frogmouth
  • Asian Elephant, Nilgiri Langur and elusive Wynaad Laughingthrush at Periyar
  • Endemic Nilgiri Tahr at Rajamalai NP
  • Spot-bellied Eagle Owl at Chinnar WLS, endemic Lion-tailed Macaque at Valparai

Introduction

Plenty of bird and mammal highlights, including endemics, at South India’s best wildlife destinations.  You’ll visit Ooty Botanic Gardens for Kashmir Flycatcher and Black-and-Orange Flycatcher and search Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary for Spot-bellied Eagle Owl and the rare Grizzled Giant Squirrel.  The sight and sound of Lion-tailed Macaques foraging along the forest edge near Valparai will be memorable. Thattekkad is home to several species of owl including Oriental Bay Owl, you may see up to four species of nightjar and the wonderfully cryptic Sri Lanka Frogmouth which is easily missed without the help of an experienced guide.  In stunning scenery you are likely to see Nilgiri Tahr (or Ibex), Nilgiri Flycatcher and White-bellied Blue Robin (Shortwing).  At Periyar there’s a good chance of spotting Asian Elephant – and so much more awaits you on this tour.

There are many ways to extend this tour, so please contact us for details

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Note: You can fly into Kochi from the Middle East or via Mumbai or Delhi and other key Indian cities.

Day 2: Kochi

Meals: Dinner

You will be met at Kochi International Airport (look for your driver/guide outside the airport with your name on a placard) and be driven to Thattekkad (1½ hours).  For the remainder of the day explore the best local birding sites with your driver/guide with a focus on endemics and your target birds.

Thattekkad is home to most of the endemic birds of the Western Ghats and boasts a good mammal list, too, including Asian Elephant and Malabar Giant Squirrel as well as Flying Squirrel and Mouse Deer  although the latter two of these mammals are difficult to see.   You should, however, see White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill and owls which could include Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl if you are lucky. Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Red Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, Indian Pitta, Black-throated Munia and Grey-headed Fish Eagle are all likely.  Areas to visit include Palamattam near Thattekkad, extending to Edamalayar and Urulanthanni which form part of the lowland forest areas around Thattekkad.

Days 3 and 4: Thattekkad

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Two full days to explore key areas around Palamattam.  On one of the evenings you’ll visit Charupara to listen to and hopefully see Jerdon’s Nightjar along with one or two other species.

Day 5: Thattekkad - Periyar

Meals: Breakfast

Today, at a time to suit you, you’ll drive to Periyar and birdwatch for the remainder of the day local to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve which is well known for Asian Elephants and you can see Gaur (Indian Bison), too.  Whilst Tigers are present they are very difficult to see in the lush forest areas.

Periyar National Park contains a variety of habitats from grassland and dry deciduous forest to evergreen forest and riverside scrub.  You will spend the day searching for some special species including the difficult-to-spot Wynaad Laughingthrush.  Other birds to look out for are White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Eagle, the striking Black Baza, Pompadour Green and Mountain Imperial Pigeons, the uncommon migratory Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Grey-breasted Prinia, Thick-billed Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and the spectacular Asian Fairy Bluebird among other more widespread species.  Time spent will consist of three walks into the rain forests at different areas of the park, notably Anchurly, the boat landing area and Karadikavala.

Day 6: Periyar

Meals: Breakfast

Another day to explore the above-mentioned areas with your guide looking for Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque and other mammals.  Entrance fees to Periyar Tiger Reserve are included.

Day 7: Periyar - Munnar

Meals: Breakfast at Periyar and dinner at Munnar

Leave for Munnar via the Ghats to Khambam where Large Grey Babbler, Common Babbler, Jungle Bush Quail and Grey Francolin may been seen, you will proceed to Bodi Ghats en-route to Munnar for a sighting of the rare Yellow-throated Bulbul.   Blue-faced and Sirkeer Malkohas, Short-toed Snake Eagle and Black Eagle are all seen locally.

On arrival at Munnar bird locally to your hotel with your guide.

Day 8: Munnar

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today your journey takes you to Rajamalai to explore the sholas (high altitude montane forests) and grasslands. This part of Eravikulam National Park is a very good location for the endangered and endemic Nilgiri Tahr, a type of mountain goat.

Rajamalai is also a good place to see Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-bellied Shortwing, Broad-tailed Grassbird and Grasshopper Warbler.

Day 9: Munnar - Chinnar - Valparai

Meals: Breakfast, packed or hot lunch and dinner

There’s a long day ahead of you today.  First you will head down the mountains to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (2½ hours) located in the rain-shadow areas of the High Ranges of the South Western Ghats in Kerala.  It was declared a sanctuary in 1984 due to its ecological, floral and geomorphologic significance.  You should see Asian Elephant, Spotted Deer, Sambar and Gaur besides birds which might include Jacobin Cuckoo, Grey Junglefowl, White-bellied Drongo, Blue-faced and Sirkeer Malkohas, White-naped Woodpecker, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Jungle Bush Quail and Yellow-legged Buttonquail. This forest reserve is also the ideal habitat for one of the most endangered mammals of India, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel and you can also see both Brown Fish Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl here if you are lucky.  You will then set course for Valparai (a drive of around 3 – 4 hours) where you will spend one night.

Day 10: Valparai - Ooty

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning you will spend several hours in the best areas of forest to look for the rare Lion-tailed Macaques.  Later you will depart for the hill town of Ooty (a drive of around 4 – 5 hours, plus birding time of around 1 hour) with a stop for lunch on the way and for some birding near Kotagiri, arriving by late afternoon. Ooty (Udhagamandalam) is a hill station at about 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills. The Cairnhill Reserved Forest and Dodabetta will be your main destinations, where the endemic Black-chinned (Nilgiri) Laughingthrush, Black-and-Orange, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers all occur.  You will also look for Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Thrush and Kashmir Flycatcher, as all of these species are recorded here, though they can prove elusive at times.

Day 11: Ooty - Mudumalai

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After birding locally around Ooty, where you may see Indian Blue Robin and have another chance to look for Nilgiri Langur,  you will make your way through the Kallatti Ghats to Mudumalai (a drive of around 2½ hours).  Mudumalai, at the foot of the Nilgiri Hills, is one of the many reserves located within the forest belt between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Mountains.  The terrain is varied with hills, valleys, ravines, watercourses and swamps, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and scrub forests making it ideal birding country.  Here Wild Boar may cross the road and you should see Jerdon’s Bushlark, White-bellied Minivet, Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Blue Robin, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-bellied Woodpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Thick-billed Warbler and Painted Bush Quail.  Birding will be on foot with your guide.

Day 12: Mudumalai)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Further explore the local area on walks.  Dhole (Wild Dog) and Sloth Bear, both difficult to see, occur locally.

Day 13: Mudumalai - Mysore

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Today you will drive towards Mysore (2 ½ hours), birding along the way, including some small roadside wetlands.  Assuming access is allowed, you’ll also visit the Billiranga Temple near Bandipur to search for the sculking Broad-tailed Grassbird if you missed it earlier.  Also seen here are Paddyfield and Rich­ards Pipits and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark.

Night in Mysore.

Day 14: Mysore - Kollegal - Mysore

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Today you can either have a more relaxing day around Mysore or drive to the Kollegal area to search for White-naped Tit and Marshall’s Iora, returning to Mysore for the evening.  The journey should take approx. 90 minutes each way on good roads.

Night in Mysore

Day 15: Mysore - Bangalore

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, you’ll enjoy birding en-route to Bangalore.  A drive of around 1½ – 2 hours and you’ll arrive at the famous heronry of Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary.  Explore the islands on the Cauvery River by rowing boat which enables close up views of a colony of Fruit Bats as well as Eurasian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Black-crowned Night Heron, three species of Cormorant, River Tern, Great Thick-knee and many other species such as Marsh crocodile.  Your guide will also take you to look for vultures locally if access is allowed and if time permits.  Arrive at Bangalore International Airport by night fall.

Tour ends

The price, names of hotels and a list of inclusions/exclusions are shown below.  Note: we can tailor the itinerary to suit you with changes to hotels, adding days and/or adding new locations.  Tour extensions are available eg. The Andamans, so please contact us for details.

Price per person:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1555*
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1415*

Single room supplement £245

*Note:  This is with a guide who has good knowledge of birds and sites.  However if you require a more expert guide who can identify most calls/songs please call and we can supply a small supplement for the same.
Price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Thattekkad Hornbill Camp, Cottage Tent with attached bathroom 3
Periyar Wildernest 2
Munnar Olive Brook 2
Valparai Stanmore Bungalow 1
Ooty Taj Savoy  1
Mudumalai Jungle Hut  2
Mysore Regaalis  2

Price includes

  • Accommodation in standard rooms/cottages with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrances to all Sanctuaries and National Parks as listed in the itinerary
  • Short rowing boat ride at Ranganathittu on a shared basis
  • All currently applicable taxes

Price excludes

  • Any international airfare to/from India including International airport tax
  • Any internal flights within India
  • Meals not specified
  • Tourist visa and travel insurance
  • Camera fee where charged
  • Any additional taxes levied by the Government of India on the tourism sector in future
  • Any expenses of personal nature such as hard/soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls, tips etc.
  • Any item not mentioned in the price includes section.
  • Any increase in the entrance fee to National Parks or Sanctuaries in the future. The price is based on the current entrance fee
  • Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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