Southern India Birding: Western Ghats Endemics
The Western Ghats are a range of low mountains extending along peninsular India's west coast. Despite their tropical latitude, the influence of altitude imposes a temperate climate on high ranges, home to a unique montane ecosystem.
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The steamy tropical forests of the foothills and forest-grassland mosaic of the hills support 28 endemic and near-endemic birds, with a further 13 shared with Sri Lanka. Targets include Black & Orange Flycatcher, Kerala, Black-chinned and Wynaad Laughingthrushes, Malabar Trogon, White-bellied, and Nilgiri Blue Robins, Malabar Pied Hornbill, and Ceylon Frogmouth, plus endemic Lion-tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Tahr.
Those who wish to add even more birds to their list can end the trip with an extension to South Andaman island. Birds you can find include Andaman Treepie, Andaman Shama, Andaman White-headed Starling, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Crake, and Andaman Woodpecker, along with with a number of other species.
Nilgiri Blue Robin, White-bellied Blue Robin, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Kashmir Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Small Sunbird, Loten’s Sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Black-throated Munia, Malabar Whistling-thrush, Nilgiri Thrush, Pied Thrush, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Palani Laughingthrush, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Indian Rufous-babbler, Indian Scimitar-babbler, Dark-fronted Babbler, Grey-headed Bulbul, Flame-throated Bulbul, Yellow-throated Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Square-tailed Bulbul, White-bellied Minivet, Orange Minivet, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Barbet, White-cheeked Barbet, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Grey-fronted Green-pigeon, Malabar Trogon, Blue-faced Malkoha, Sirkeer Malkoha, Malabar Woodshrike, Malabar White-headed Starling, Southern Hill Myna, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Indian Pitta, Painted Spurfowl, Painted Bush-quail, Malabar Lark, Nilgiri Pipit, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Hill Swallow, Blyth’s Swift, Alpine Swift, Indian Swiftlet, Spot-bellied Eagle-owl, Sri Lanka Bay Owl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth.
Asian Elephant, Gaur, Ussuri Dhole, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Marten, Malabar Giant Squirrel.
Dry deciduous forest, thorn scrub, Shola forest (stunted temperate forest at the highest elevations), plateau grassland, lush lowland rainforest.
Scenic hills and rolling tea estates in one of India’s prime tea-growing regions, birding in some of the most productive bird habitats in peninsular India, see up to 27 of 30 species endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats, an exciting selection of night birds, a good selection of mammals throughout and many butterflies in lowland sites, a glimpse of India’s colonial-era architecture in the hills, comfortable accommodation and excellent south Indian cuisine.