With the impeccable diversity of flora and fauna found here, South India becomes an ultimate destination for a nature lover. We bring to you a complete itinerary of 15 nights and 16 days to explore the colors of Southern India and observe different birding site that are present here. Experience the natural beauty of the charming South India with us.
Duration: 15 nights / 16 days
Activities: Bird Watching, Nature Walk
Tour starts from: Cochin Ends at: Bangalore
Destinations covered: Thattekad, Periyar, Munnar, Valparai, Ooty, Masinagudi, Bandipur, Nagarhole
Season: Oct to May
Elevation: 700 to 2800 metres
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Mammals: The hotspot is home to about 140 mammal species, although less than 20 are endemic. While mammal diversity is lower here than in some other tropical hotspots, the hotspot does support a significant diversity of bats, with nearly 50 species and one endemic genus, represented by the bat Latidens salimalii , which is endemic to the High Wavy Mountains in the Western Ghats. Among flagship mammal species, the most prominent are the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), found in highly fragmented tropical rain forests in the Western Ghats, and the endemic Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius), which lives in the montane grasslands of the Western Ghats.
Birds: The avifauna of the Western Ghats is diverse, but endemism is not exceptional. There are more than 500 known bird species from the hotspot, of which about 24 are endemic & the South Indian endemics number 118.
Reptiles: The highest levels of vertebrate endemism in the Western Ghats hotspot is among reptiles and amphibians. Of the region’s more than 260 reptile species, about 175 (66 percent) are endemic. One quarter of the nearly 90 reptile genera in the hotspot are endemic, and nine of these are represented by single species. Families such as Uropeltidae (47 of 48 species), Gekkonidae (18 of 30), and Agamidae (20 of 26) exhibit very high endemism.
Day 1: Reach Cochin, drive to Thattekad, Overnight stay at Thattekad
Welcome! Our representative will receive you at Cochin and then you will take a drive to Thattekad.
Cochin (Kochi): It is one of the major seaport city of the district Ernakulam in Kerala. It is famously known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’. Considerably a small town, Cochin is an ideal start point to explore God’s Own Country. It has also been rated as the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
You have an overnight stay at Thattekad.
Day 2-3: Birding at Thattekad
Get smitten with the beauty of the charismatic birds during the birding tour in the first Bird Sanctuary of Kerala.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: It is the first bird sanctuary in Kerala, covering an area of only 25 kms sq. In the year 1983, it was raised to a status of a sanctuary under the guidelines of Dr. Salim Ali, a well-known ornithologist. This place has richest amount of avifauna. Home to many resident and migratory birds, it offers an amazing day out for a bird-watcher. Thattekad means a flat forest which denotes lowland, forest present here between Periyar River and the number of branches. The topography here is of tropical forest. Many winter birds take shelter during the harsh and cold weather in the Himalayas.
Retire for the day.
Day 04: Morning Birding at Thattekad and leave for Periyar
You will wake up to the chirping of the birds residing in the evergreen Thattekad forest. Your day will start with a morning birding session.
Thattekad is home to over 500 species of exotic birds and this makes it famous among the zoological park in Kerala. Since, there is aplenty of tropical and evergreen variety of trees, it invites vibrant species of birds such as White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Wayanad Laughing Thrush, Malabar Parakeet among many others to name a few.Besides the birds, this sanctuary also abodes over 25 species of animals such as Leopard, Sloth Bear, Porcupine and many a time one can see the biggest mammal of the world – Elephant.
After birding, you will freshen up and leave for Periyar.
Day 05: Birding at Periyar
Day 5 starts with a birding tour in the beautiful National Park of Periyar famous for tropical beauty.
Periyar National Park: One of the Tiger Reserve among the other 27 present in India, Periyar National Park is filled with rich scenic view and charms along-with biodiversity. It is located in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the Western Ghats along-with the border of Tamil Nadu. In the year 1950, it rose to a fame of a Wildlife Sanctuary. The famous River Periyar and Pamba originate in the forest of Periyar, inviting many beautiful birds for shelter.
Post the birding tour, you will retire for the day.
Day 06: Morning birding at Periyar and leave for Munnar
Nothing better than to have a presence of the enigmatic birds around you. Start your day with a birding session in the wild of Periyar.
Due to the presence of the eco-system comprising of tropical, evergreen and moist deciduous forest, grasslands and also lakes and rivers; Periyar Park is home to over 35 species of mammals such as Nilgiri Langurs, Malabar Giant Squirrels including endangered species like Royal Bengal Tiger. More than 260 species of birds including migrants other than Woolly-necked Stork, Besra, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Jungle Owlet, White-rumped Spinetail, Black-naped Monarch and the Little Spiderhunter are also found here, to name a few. 45 species of reptiles and 160 kinds of butterflies have also formed their habitat in this versatile park.
After the birdwatching, you will leave for Munnar.
Day 07: Birding at Munnar
Prepare yourself to observe aplenty of migrants and resident birds of the hill station – Munnar.
Munnar: It is a small town located in the Idukki district of Kerala. Situated quite 5200 ft. above sea level, it is a hill station that is filled with amazing tranquility to fall in love with. Munnar means ‘three rivers’ referring to Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly. The sight of greenery and vegetation here, you can feel enchanted by the presence of various avifauna. Besides being a typical birding destination for a typical birdwatcher, one can find many birds for eg. Yellow Throated Bulbul, Indian Robin, SirkeerMalkoha, Short Toed Snake Eagle, BluefacedMalkoha and the Black Eagle. Many endangered species such as the Nilgiri Thar, Indian Gaur, and Sambar Deer can be found here.
Relax and rest for the next day.
Day 08: Leave Munnar, arrival at Valparai.
You will leave for Valparai – a hotspot destination for bird watching.
Valparai: It is a beautiful hill station located in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. Situated 3500 feet above sea level on the ranges of Western Ghats, this small town is a place full of adventure trips, where you may see wild animals wandering. It is called a heavenly land due to not being polluted at all. With lush greenery and mountains surrounding this place, a lot of avian population has taken solace here, making it a birding site for the bird-watchers. Over 230 species of birds are found here. To name a few, White-bellied Drongo, Blue faced Malkoha, White-naped woodpecker, Blue-bearded bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle Bush Quail and the Yellow-legged Button quail can be seen. One can also get to spot endangered Star Tortoise, Indian Gaur and elephants as well.
Retire for the day
Day 09: Drive to Ooty and evening birding at Ooty
A long drive awaits to bewitch you with the beauty of the evergreen destination – Ooty. A haven for the birds, birding at this place will for sure mesmerize you to the core of your heart.
Ooty: Among all destinations, Ooty is known as one of the most popular hill stations in India. If you are an avid birdwatcher and also hold a special corner for photography, this is just an ideal destination for you. Located at about 2200 meters in the Nilgiri Hills, one can catch birds at sight such as Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, White-bellied Shortwing, and Black-and-Rufous, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers in their natural pose or behavior.
After a long day, rest and retire for the day.
Day 10: Morning birding at Ooty and leave for Masinagudi
Sip on a cup of tea and feel blessed to be amidst the hills and greenery of Ooty. Freshen up and get ready for some more bird watching.
Ooty holds diverse flora and fauna, since it is an integral part of Western Ghats of India. One can find many kinds of species of birds, animals, reptiles and plants. It is indeed a must visit place for every nature lover, to truly appreciate the true course of nature and wild. Due to amazing weather, one can catch a glimpse of resident birds as well as migrants. To name a few – Kashmir Flycatcher and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler are widely present especially during winters.
You will leave for Masinagudi.
Day 11: Birding at Masinagudi
Post morning birding, you will arrive Masinagudi which is located near Nilgiri Hills.
Masinagudi: It is part of the Madumalai Tiger Reserve, and home to some amazing birds who have formed shelter here. You may find several species attracting you such as the Great Malabar Hornbills, Woodpecker, Minivets, Drongos, Green Pigeons, Barbets and Asian Fairy Bluebirds. The region has an eco-tone between moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests with teak dominated forests of the hills. The dramatic background of Nilgiri Hills offers a perfect picturesque. The park has over 48 families of bird species and is considered to be a birding paradise for all the bird photographers. Besides birds, one can also see other animals such as Elephants, Gaur, Banner, Macaque, Common Langur, Tigers, Leopards, Chital, Panther, Sloth Bear, Python, Barking Deer, Four Horned Antelope, Hyena, Wild Dog, and Wild Boar.
Post birding, freshen up, relax and rest.
Day 12-13: Arrival and birding in Bandipur
Get ready to explore a new birding destination – Bandipur. With over 200 species of birds found here, it would be a great deal of adventure and trekking to observe the birds in their habitat.
Bandipur National Park: The Bandipur National Tiger Reserve was formed in the year 1941. Brought in under the Project Tiger in 1973, it is India’s biggest biosphere reserve known as the Niligiri Biosphere Reserve. It is surrounded by Western Ghat Mountains, and is located in the Mysore – Ooty Highway in Karnataka, touching three recognized parks named as Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerela and Nagarhole National Park in the North. An incredible birding destination, Bandipur National Park is also home to over 200 species of avian. To name a few, one can find Grey Jungle Fowl, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Honey Buzzard, Red-headed Vulture, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brown Hawk Owl, Bay Owl, Malabar Trogon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Little Spider-hunter, Peacock, Plain Flowerpecker, Woolly-necked Stork, Peafowl, Partridge, Quail, Hornbill and Ibis.
Once can also spot Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Indian Gaur, Sambar (deer), Chital, Sloth Bear, Mouse Deer, Wild Dog, Wild Boar, Barking Deer, Giant Squirrel, Four-horned Antelope, Nocturnal Porcupine and Hyena.
It is time to relax your nerves and rest for a while, sleep off peacefully to energize yourself for the next day.
Day 14-15: Leave for Nagarhole, overnight stay
After spending some delightful time in the midst of wood, forest and new nature’s friend, you will arrive at Nagarhole.
Nagarhole: Famously also called as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole National Park is located 93 km away from the Mysore city. Formerly known as a hunting land by the Mysore rulers, it is spread widely between Kodagu and Mysore district of the state Karnataka. Incredibly rich with plantation, vegetation and varied flora & fauna, this famous National Park has plenty of forest cover, little streams, valleys and waterfalls with a number of beautiful birds and animals residing inside. A complete paradise of birding, the Park is home to approx. 300 species of birds. The National Park has canopy trees with height as long as 30 meters and attracts lots of rarest species of birds in the forest. One can get enchanted with a view of Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Crested Hawk Eagle, Scarlet Minivet and Malabar Trogan to name a few.
You have an overnight stay in Nagarhole.
Day 16: Leave for Bangalore International Airport, Trip ends
With the day 16, your long exciting birding trip comes to an end. Post freshening up and breakfast, you will leave for Bangalore International Airport for your scheduled way home.
We believe you will have an exciting and memorable journey with us. We are sure you will take some beautiful captures in your camera to share with your loved ones.