Best time to visit

October - March (ideal)
April -May (good)

For Whom

Birdwatchers & photographers

Extended Weekend Tours

Long Breaks

Kerala Birds 4 Nights / 5 Days from $420/-

Summary

A birding exploration of among the richest habitats and locations for avifauna in south India. About 15 of the Western Ghats’s endemic birds can be seen on this tour and the bird list includes over 300 species recorded from the tour locations. This trip is ideal for those wanting to enjoy the best of south India’s birds within a limited time frame and in a safe, comfortable and friendly environment.

Itinerary Outline

  • Day 1 & 2: Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad (Transfer from Cochin, Kerala)
  • Day 3 & 4: Munnar (Pampadum Shola & Eravikulam National Parks)
  • Day 5: Transfer to Cochin, Kerala.

Facilities

Accommodation: : Simple accommodation in a homestay run by a local bird guide in Thattekad and comfortable accommodation in a plantation club in Munnar.
Food: : Largely local and pan-Indian.
Transport: : Road transfers in MUV’s.
Difficulty level: : Easy to moderate, with a little hiking in mountainous terrain involved.
Dates : TBA
Please note that we can customise schedule for independent travel
Costs : INR 20,000/person  (USD 420/GBP 260/EUR 310)
Please note that this scheduled trip is based on a budget travel option. This trip can be customised for better comfort levels.
Price inclusions : Accommodation / Meals / Travel / Naturalist / Local Bird Guide / Activity Charges / Fees & Taxes

Terms & Conditions

  1. Maximum group size for this tour is 6.
  2. Tour costs are per person based on twin sharing basis ex-Cochin and is all inclusive (transport, accommodation, food, personnel and all taxes and fees). Personnel includes an expert birding guide/a tour leader and resource persons from the local community. Alcoholic beverages, porter charges, laundry and room service are extra. Please check with us on specific items to make sure if it is included in the published tour costs.
  3. Our preferred mode of payment is through electronic transfers into our bank account. Relevant details will be provided to you once you are ready to make the payment. Alternatively we accept demand drafts/cheques in the currency of your choice.
  4. If you are paying in foreign currency, we might have apply a currency surcharge on the published rates, if the INR appreciates against your currency at the time of payment.
  5. In the unlikely event in which we are forced to cancel the tour we will refund you the entire booking amount. In case we are unable to conduct the tour due to circumstances beyond our control (for e.g. forces of nature, political conditions), we will make every effort to refund as much of the booking amount as possible.
  6. In case you to cancel your booking more than one month in advance from the tour date, we will refund at least 50% of the tour cost (assuming tour costs are fully paid). The precise refund beyond this will be dependent on the refund policies of our travel partners that we use on tour. In case you cancel your booking less than 1 month from the start of the tour, we will refund 10% of your booking amount

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 & 2, Thattekad:

We leave Cochin, Kerala mid-morning and reach Thattekad (Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) by noon on Day 1. We spend two days exploring the small sanctuary for a significant chunk of south Indian bird specialities.

The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of the Periyar River on the foothills of the Western Ghats of Kerala. The habitat matrix of the location, which includes riverine, lowland evergreen and plantation forests, contain an amazing density of birds and offers excellent photographic opportunities for several Western Ghats bird specialities among an impressive bird-list of over 300 species. Renowned ornithologist, the late Dr. Salim Ali, once suggested that Thattekad contains among the highest species density of birds in India outside of the Eastern Himalaya. Some of the south India’s endemic birds found here include the Greyheaded Bulbul, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, White-bellied Treepie, Wynaad Laughing Thrush (rare), White-bellied Blue Flycatcher and White-cheeked Barbet. Sightings of rarities such as the Black Baza, Crested Goshawk, Red Spurfowl, Malabar Trogon and the Sri Lanka Frogmouth are not uncommon. Winter is interesting for several migrant flycatchers and warblers.

Elephants are regularly seen in and around the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, along with several other mammals including rare sightings of top predators such as Indian wild dogs and leopards. The wet, humid habitats of the location also contain an exciting diversity of plants, herpetofauna and invertebrates.

Day 3 & 4, Munnar :

We reach Munnar in the afternoon on Day 3 and will spend two days exploring the landscape for mid and high altitude specialities of the Western Ghats.

Munnar is a small hill station town (1500m) nestled among tea plantations and wet montane forests (sholas) in the Western Ghats of Kerala. The shola forests surrounding Munnar and the montane forest-grassland ecosystem of the nearby higher reaches are excellent locations to encounter several of south India’s high altitude endemic birds. Some of the Western Ghats specialities you are likely to encounter around Munnar include the White-bellied Shortwing (White-bellied Blue Robin), Painted Bushquail, Black and Orange and Nilgiri Flycatchers, Grey-breasted (Kerala) Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Barbet, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Crimson-backed (Small) Sunbird and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon. Winter reveals several warblers and rarities such as the Blue Rock Thrush.

Wildlife specialities from here include the Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic mountain goat, Nilgiri Langur, an endemic primate, and a rarely seen endemic mustelid, the Nilgiri Marten.

Day 5, Cochin:

After some morning birding around Munnar, we drive down the hills to Cochin, a major city, with excellent rail and air connectivity. We reach Cochin mid-afternoon and transfer to onward destinations.

Potential Extensions (please let us know if you would like to include any of the following destinations onto the itinerary):

Periyar Tiger Reserve : Endemic birds; Wildlife; Scenery
 
 

 

FYI and Guidelines

  1. Kerala is politically stable and is a very safe and exceptionally tourist friendly state. While petty crimes occur sporadically, crimes rates, are generally low in the region.
  2. Weather: Updates based on dates of travel
  3. Please bring your binoculars or spotting scope along.
  4. Most birding will be on foot and sometimes in mountainous terrain. We recommend you wear comfortable walking/trekking shoes while birding.
  5. A hat and sunblock are highly recommended and sunglasses will be useful.
  6. Please bring essential medication with you, since the local outlets will not always carry what you are looking for. Do check with your doctor on medication and medical safety before you travel to the region.