The term “Western Ghats” evokes curiosity, wonder and fascination amongst nature lovers and particularly for birders. The word “ghat” means “steps leading to water” but is often roughly translated as “mountain” or “hill”, and so the “Western Ghats” refers to the chain of mountains and hills that run in a north-south direction in western India and separate the Deccan Plateau from a narrow coastal strip along the Arabian Sea.
In 2012, UNESCO listed the Western Ghats as one of the world’s eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity. This elite status is well deserved considering the rich and abundant flora and fauna found in this special region, whose evergreen tropical rainforests are older than the Himalaya mountains.
From a wildlife perspective, the Western Ghats boast some truly awe-inspiring facts and figures. For example, the region holds approx. 5000 flowering plant species, 140 mammals, 179 amphibians, and 508 bird species (about half of the birds of India) with a high rate of endemism.
What is also interesting is that you can get to see the Western Ghats specialties on our tours which take you through some of the most beautiful parks and reserves of the region and you will also have great opportunities to take memorable photographs of the birds and wildlife to remind you of the magical land that is the Western Ghats.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in any of our set tour programs or if you have any special target species you wish to see or photograph.
Our 8 days Western Ghats odyssey shall cover three most important birding areas in South India: “Lower Thattekkad” (Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary), hill stations of Munnar in Kerala and mountain zone “Ooty” situated in Tamil Nadu.
Endemic Birds Sighted During the Trip
Kerala laughing Thrush, Wyanaad Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Rufous Babbler, Small Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, White Bellied Blue Robin, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Broad Tailed Grass Bird, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Black and Orange Flycatcher, White Bellied Treepie, Grey Headed Bulbul, Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Painted Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Painted Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, White Cheeked Barbet, Malabar Barbet, Hill Swallow, Malabar Lark, Flame Throated Bulbul, Blyth’s Starling, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Nilgiri Thrush, Black Throated Munia
Day 1 – Arrive at Cochin airport, then proceed to Thattekkad
Arrival at Cochin International Airport. We will drive out a chartered vehicle to our first destination Thattekkad. The journey can take up to one hour. 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. Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is located in the dense tropical evergreen and deciduous forests and grassland patches. The picturesque landscapes here makes it a choicest bird sanctuary for those who love being close to nature. We will settle into Eldhose Birding lodge set in the midst of forest and proceed for birding. We will spend the day by visiting various forests areas in and around Thattekkad, looking for endemics such as Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Black Throated Munia, White bellied Woodpecker, Red Spurfowl, Grey Jungle fowl ,Malabar Barbet besides owls like the Mottled Wood Owl, Ceylon Bay Owl, Oriental scopes owl, Brown Fish Owl, Brown Hawk Owl ,Indian Scopes Owl and Spot bellied Eagle Owl. Overnight stay at Eldhose Birding lodge.
Day 2 – Full day in Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Looking for South Indian forest birds including endemic and nocturnal birds. Also butterflies, forest mammals and other wildlife. Mammals sighting include Slender loris, Malabar Giant Squirrel and many others. Overnight stay at Eldhose Birding Lodge.
Day 3 – Full day in Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Looking for South Indian forest birds including endemic and nocturnal birds. Also we will visit another side of lowland forest in the afternoon. Overnight stay at Eldhose Birding Lodge.
Day 4 – Munnar
We will set off to the mountain town of Munnar early morning. The drive will take approximately 2 hours.Proceed for birding at Eravikulam National Park where we should sight the Nilgiri Pipit, Kerala Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Yellow Throated Bulbul and more widespread species. We will also visit the shola-grass lands of Munnar to search for Nilgiri Thrush, Painted Bush Quail, Black and Orange Flycatcher etc.Overnight stay at Eldhose Birding lodge.
Day 5 – Mudumalai
After birding in morning hours we will continue our long drive to Mudumalai. The journey can take up to 4 hour. Mudumalai is a true nature’s delight that provides you best views of nature in its purest form. Morning birding at Mudumalai and Bandipur wildlife sanctuaries where you will have a chance of seeing Malabar Lark, Skye’s Lark, Singing Bush Lark, Indian Nutatch , Savaana Night Jar.Overnight stay at resort close to the reserve.
Day 6 – Ooty
We will start early in the morning birding at Ooty. Ooty – a hill station, at about 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills – is where we will look for the endemic Black and Orange flycatcher, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Thrush, White spotted fantail, Blue capped rock thrush and many others. Overnight stay at a resort near to the reserve.
Day 7 – Mudumalai
Full day unlimited birding at Mudumalai and Bandipur wildlife sanctuaries. Overnight stay at a resort near to the reserve.
Day 8 – Departure
After one hour of early morning birding in the resort gardens and break fast we will check out from our lodge and start our drive to the Cochin International Airport to catch our flight.