South India & Sri Lanka Endemic Birding Tour

South India and Sri Lanka Birding: An Overview

Our 15-day South India, Andaman, and Sri Lanka tour takes us through one of the most essential biodiversity zones and many EBA (Endemic Bird Area) hotspots. We intend to explore the highly sought-after birds in endless valleys, rolling tea estates, and breathtaking highland vistas on this trip. 

This comprehensive tour features several unique creatures such as the gorgeous Indian Pitta, endemic Laughingthrushes, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, the rare Sri Lanka Frogmouth, exquisite Malabar Trogon, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Andaman Crake, Andaman Coucal, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Teal, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Sri Lanka Trush, Sri Lanka Hornbill, Red-Faced Malkoha, and many more.

Our expedition will start from the charming port city of Kochi (COK) and end in Colombo (CMB), Sri Lanka. Let’s get started!

Basic Information

A beautiful photo of Asian Fairy Blue Bird by Plant Asia Expeditions

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive at Cochin International Airport (COK) before noon and drive to Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, one of India’s prominent endemic birding locations. In the afternoon, we will bird at Cheekode Forest, searching for species such as Black Baza, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Grey-headed Bulbul, Brown Hawk Owl, Indian Pitta, White-cheeked Barbet, Heart-Spotted Woodpecker, and Malabar Flameback Woodpecker. At night, experience birding in Charupra Forest, where we will look for Oriental Scops Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Sri Lankan Bay Owl, and Jerdon’s Nightjar.

Head out for morning birding around Urulanthanni Forest to look for Sri Lankan Frogmouth, Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar Starling, Malabar Barbet, White bellied-blue Flycatcher, Malabar Trogon, Legge’s Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-Bellied Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Crimson Backed sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Indian Pitta, Orange Headed Thrush, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Blue Eared Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Western Crowned Warbler, Large Billed leaf warbler, etc.

Go for evening and night birding in Kalappara Forest to spot Flame-throated bulbul, Grey Jungle Fowl, Red spurfowl, Mottled Wood owl, Thick-billed Warbler; Grey Capped pygmy Woodpecker, Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Black-hooded Oriole, Great Eared Nightjar, Jungle Nightjar, Spot bellied Eagle Owl, Jungle Owlet, etc.

In the morning, we will continue birding in Thattekkad and then depart for Munnar, a colonial-era resort town known for its tea plantations. After reaching Munnar (1500 MSL), we will go for an afternoon birding session around Pothamedu to look for high-altitude endemic species such as Black & Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri flycatcher, White-bellied blue robin, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and Crimson-backed sunbird. The forest is also home to non-endemic species, including Brown-cheeked fulvetta, Velvet-fronted nuthatch, Yellow-browed bulbul, Indian yellow tit, vernal hanging parrot, Shikra, and Crested Goshawk.

We will go morning birding in and around the Eravikulam National Park to look for Palani laughing thrush, Nilgiri Pipit, Indian blackbird, Painted bush quail, Malabar whistling thrush, Nilgiri flycatcher, Hill swallow, Nilgiri Thrush, Indian Blue Robin, Oriental White-eye, Square-tailed Bulbul, Grey fronted wood pigeon, etc. We will be birding around the Pothamedu area in the afternoon, searching forspecies that we haven’t seen yet. 

Post the morning birding around the hotel area; we will be departing to Coimbatore. In the Coimbatore Grass area, we will set out for afternoon birding to look for Indian eagle owl, Indian courser, Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Blyth’s Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Indian Bush lark, Jerdon’s bush lark, Chestnut-tailed starling, Blue-tailed bee-eater, etc.

We will be heading to Coimbatore airport after a short morning birding enroute the airport (subject to the flight schedule). We will transfer you to Chennai airport to board the flight to Port Blair.

The Andaman and Nicobar is a picturesque archipelago consisting of 572 islands and islets located in the southeastern part of the Bay of Bengal. Its isolation from the mainland has helped the archipelago evolve as a unique EBA with an impressive list of endemic birds.

Set out for night birding in Chidiya Tapu Forest to search for endemic owls like Andaman Hawk Owl, Walden Scops Owl, Andaman Nightjar, Humes Hawk Owl, and Andaman Scops Owl.

We will do a bit of birding around Chidiya Tapu Forest again in the morning. It is a typical evergreen forest and an ideal place to search for species such as Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Crake, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Bulbul, Andaman Green Pigeon, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Coucal, Andaman Shama, White-headed Starling, Olive-backed Sunbird, Orange Headed Thrush, black-napped Monarch, Dollar Bird, Collared Kingfisher, Alexandrine parakeet, Red-breasted parakeet, etc.

Go for evening birding in Shoal Bay for leftover endemic species and night birding in Bastubhasti for Andaman Masked Owl.

We will drive to Ferrargunj Forest Reserve in the morning. On the way, we will search for Andaman Teal, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Cuckooshrike, and Edible-nest Swiftlet. In the afternoon, we will go birding in Sippy Ghat to search for waders and night birds in the area.

After the morning birding session, we will proceed to the Port Blair Airport and transfer you to the Chennai airport for your flight to Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. From there, we will travel directly to Singharajah National Park, where we will rest and get a good night’s sleep.

Sinharajah Forest Reserve is a must-visit birding area as it holds a significant number of endemic birds of Sri Lanka. It is rated as one of the finest birding locations in south-east Asia.

We will be scanning the forest slopes for the next three days for more than 150 species of birds, including Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted barbet, Green-billed coucal, Layard’s parakeet, Orange-billed babbler, Sri Lanka blue magpie, Red-Faced Malkoha, White-headed starling, Chestnut-backed owlet, Sri Lankan-hill Myna, Ashy-headed laughing thrush, Sri Lankan Scimitar-babbler and many more.

Yala National Park is the most visited and second-largest national park in Sri Lanka. It consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public. Each block has individual names, such as Ruhuna National Park and Kumana National Park or Yala Eastside for the adjoining area. The park, located in the south-east region of the country, is best known for its diverse wild animals and birds.

Main targets over here include species such as Sri Lankan Gray Hornbill, Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka Wood pigeon, Crimson fronted barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Blue-tailed bee-eater, Brown capped-babbler, Black-necked stork, Lesser adjutant, Great white pelican, Spot-billed pelican, Lesser flamingo, Lesser whistling teal, Purple heron. There is also an excellent chance to sight and photograph mammals such as Leopards and Asiatic elephants.

We will drive back to the Colombo International Airport in the morning (a 5-hour drive) to arrive on time for our international connections. The tour will end at the Colombo International Airport

Tour Details

  • Minimum Group Size: 4
  • Supporting Team: 2-4
  • Difficulty Level:  Moderate 
  • Long Drives (3 Hours +): 4
  • Accommodations: Standard to luxurious
  • Food: Indian & International

Photo Gallery