25 days


Many of the birds and scenes that are unique to India are found only in the southern part.  We'll be birding a broad and highly diverse cross-section of habitat on this tour: from the desert-like thorn scrub of the Chennai (Madras) area, to the lush tropical rain forests of the Andaman Islands, and the lowland, submontane, and montane forests of the Western Ghats. We'll be visiting some of South India's premier birding localities, including Goa and South Andaman Island, as well as several lesser known areas in order to see as many of southern India's endemic species as possible, including:  Andaman Serpent-Eagle, Red Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, Malabar Parakeet, Brown Coucal, Andaman Nightjar, Indian Swiftlet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, White-cheeked and Crimson-throated Barbets, Andaman Woodpecker, Jerdon's Bushlark, Nilgiri Pipit, Malabar Woodshrike,  Andaman and Flame-throated Bulbuls,  White-bellied and Nilgiri Robins, Indian Blackbird, Black-headed Thrush, Indian Scimitar-Babbler, Rufous  Babbler, Wynaad, Kerala and Black-chinned Laughingthrushes, Black-and-rufous, Nilgiri and White-bellied Flycatchers, Indian Tit, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Malabar and White-headed Starlings, Indian Hill Myna,  Andaman Drongo, White-bellied Treepie, and Indian Crow.  We'll also try for some of the tougher ones, such as Painted Bush-Quail, Andaman Crake, Nilgiri and Andaman Wood-Pigeons, Andaman Scops-Owl, Black and Andaman Boobooks, Ceylon Frogmouth and Grey-headed and Yellow-throated Bulbuls. More widespread species may include:  Black Baza, Changeable, Crested and Mountain Hawk-Eagles, Painted Spurfowl, Chestnut-winged and Pied Cuckoos, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Violet Cuckoo, Blue-faced Malkoha, Oriental Scops-Owl, Jungle Owlet, Jerdon's and Indian Nightjars, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, etc.

A welcome addition to this tour will be a site for the Forest Owlet, which previously we relegated to a pretour. In 1997, Pam Rasmussen and I rediscovered this owl, which had not been reliably reported for 113 years and was thought extinct by many.  Other  pairs  and  nests have been found by Indian researchers since our discovery. On our 2003 tour, we saw two adults and two fledglings and were privileged to see the first awkward flight of one of the fledglings. On our 2005 and 2007 tours, we had lengthy scope views at close range of a single owl. We have a good chance of seeing this little known bird on this trip. The site could also yield Painted Francolin, Jungle Bush-Quail, Indian Scops-Owl, Jungle and Spotted Owlets, Mottled Wood-Owl, White-naped Woodpecker, etc. Our trip list should total around 340 species. Leader: Ben King.