Our long awaited November 2022 south India tour had a mixed beginning when two of our group tested positive for covid and sadly had to leave us. We wish them both well and have since learned they are both now absolutely fine. On a more positive note the combination of birding and mammal viewing was exceptional, with great looks at such colorful birds as Indian Pitta, skulking endemics like Nilgiri and White-bellied Sholakili, the rarely seen Sri Lanka Bay-Owl, endangered Dhole (India Wild Dog) and even 3 Tigers!
As usual we began our tour in Bangalore and drove to Mysore, stopping along the way to see nesting Spot-billed Pelicans, and large numbers of other waterbirds, including White-breasted Waterhen, River Tern, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork, Oriental Darter, Indian Cormorant (also breeding), Black-headed and Red-naped Ibis, and a variety of herons and egrets. The following morning began with a visit to a lake near our hotel, giving us great opportunities to photograph several species of herons, numerous very tame Gray-headed Swamphens, the gorgeous Bronze-winged Jacana, good numbers of Brahminy Kite, colorful Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and Purple-rumped Sunbirds.
We then headed further south for a 3 night stay at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve and made morning and afternoon drives in an open-sided 'Canter'. These drives were excellent for mammals, and we all enjoyed Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Indian Giant (Malabar) Squirrel, Wild Boar, Sambar, and several thousand Spotted Deer. However the real highlights were 40 Gaur (the world's largest bovine), Indian Elephant including females with babies and huge male 'tuskers', and totally unexpected – three separate Tigers! The birding was also great, and included such varied species as Indian Peafowl, Gray Junglefowl, Green Imperial-Pigeon, Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Crested Hawk-Eagle, Indian Gray and Malabar Pied hornbills, Asian Green Bee-eater, Coppersmith and White-cheeked barbets, Plum-headed Parakeet, Indian Golden Oriole, Common Iora, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Rufous Treepie, Puff-throated Babbler, Southern Hill Myna, Malabar Starling, Orange-headed Thrush, Blue-throated Flycatcher, and Jerdon's Leafbird.
Moving on again, we stopped at a roadside pool for Lesser Whistling-Duck and Cotton Pygmy-goose, and then we had two nights at Jungle Hut, a small lodge at the bottom of the Nilgiri Hills. Highlights here were the secretive Red Spurfowl, Jungle Bush-Quail, Jerdon's Nightjar, Black Eagle, great day time looks at four species of owls including the secretive Brown Wood-Owl and the massive Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, White-naped Woodpecker, Vernal Hanging-Parrot, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Bay-backed Shrike, Jerdon's Bushlark, Malabar Lark, White-browed and Yellow-browed bulbuls, Indian Scimitar-Babbler, Golden-fronted Leafbird, and Black-throated Munia. Totally unexpected, this was also the area where we came across eight Dhole which were just resting on a rocky hill within 20 meters of grazing cattle - so obviously not very hungry!
From Jungle Hut it's only a short drive to Ooty, a typical hill station town on top of the Nilgiri Hills. A highlight here was the normally very shy Painted Bush-Quail, but we also had three endemics; Spot-breasted Fantail, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, and Nilgiri Sholakili. The following day was largely spent traveling as we made our way to Munnar in the Anamalai Hills. During two nights here we made visits to several sholas (patches of montane forest) and added the following species to our list; Square-tailed Bulbul, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, another seven endemics including Palani Laughingthrush, White-bellied Sholakili, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Whistling-Thrush, the gorgeous Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, and Crimson-backed Sunbird.
Leaving these hills behind, we then dropped to the lower country at the Periyar Tiger Reserve, stopping along the way to find the very localized Yellow-throated Greenbul. Periyar itself was also productive, with Pin-tailed Snipe, Asian Wooly-necked Stork (a recent split), Indian Scops-Owl, Jungle Owlet, Malabar Trogon, Malabar Gray Hornbill, Malabar Barbet, Heart-spotted and Rufous woodpeckers, Greater and Common flamebacks, Malabar Woodshrike, Flame-throated Bulbul, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, and Asian Fairy-Bluebird.
From Periyar, we headed slightly north-west where we spent three nights in the Thattekad area, birding a mix of lowland forest, grassy glades and farmland; Sri Lanka Frogmouth in the open at 15 feet was a mega occasion, but the rare and seldom seen Sri Lanka Bay-Owl was even better – and a lifer for Terry too! Other great birds in this area were about ten Great Eared-Nightjars, a close pair of Malabar Trogons, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Dollarbird, two White-bellied Woodpeckers (at a nest hole), lots of Malabar Parakeets, Ashy Woodswallow, Black-naped Monarch, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, our best looks at Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, and male Loten's Sunbirds.
We finished out tour at and near to Kochi on the coast, first with a night in the Backwaters at Coconut Lagoon, and then in Kochi itself at Brunton's Boatyard Hotel. This was a time to relax and enjoy the many great memories of our tour, but we still added a few more birds and particularly enjoyed a private chartered boat (with prawns and fish cooked onboard) as we sailed through the Backwaters. Notable birds here included Cotton Pygmy-goose, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Whiskered Tern, large numbers of both Indian and Little cormorants, Oriental Darter, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier, two more Stork-billed Kingfishers, many Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, and a fabulous male Indian Paradise-Flycatcher (right by our rooms).
Our next tour to south India runs November 11 to December 1, 2024.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica)
One at Kokkare Bellur, about 10 at a couple of ponds in the Nagarhole area, 20+ on the way to Bandipur, and 1 at Coconut Lagoon.
COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus coromandelianus)
About a dozen on the way to Bandipur, and 4 at Coconut Lagoon.
GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula)
A total of 26 were seen at road-side pools during drives to Bandipur, Ooty and Chinnar.
INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha)
About 20 at Kokkare Bellur and Kokkorahally Lake, and 25 on the way to Nagarhole, 6 on the way to Chinnar, and 2 at Coconut Lagoon.
INDIAN PEAFOWL (Pavo cristatus)
Widespread in the low country; with a total of about 80.
RED SPURFOWL (Galloperdix spadicea)
We saw two singles of this normally shy species at Jungle Hut and Periyar.
GRAY JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus sonneratii) [E]
Nice looks at about 5 at Nagarhole, 1 at Jungle Hut, 1 at Dodda Betta, and 2 at Periyar.
GRAY FRANCOLIN (Ortygornis pondicerianus)
One on the way to Nagarhole, and then 2 in the reserve there.
JUNGLE BUSH-QUAIL (Perdicula asiatica)
Good looks at a female near Jungle Hut.
PAINTED BUSH-QUAIL (Perdicula erythrorhyncha)
Great looks at this hard to find species high in the Nilgiri Hills – a beautiful male!
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Three near Kokkare Bellur, 5 in the Nagarhole area, and 4 on the way to Chinnar.
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
Widespread at towns and villages throughout the tour.
ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis)
One near Jungle Hut.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)
Five in a farm field near Bandipur.
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)
Common away from the coastal lowlands; in all we saw about 450.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis)
Six near Bandipur, and 4 in the Jungle Hut– Bandipur area.
GRAY-FRONTED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron affinis) [E*]
Heard in the forest at Urulanthanni.
YELLOW-FOOTED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron phoenicopterus)
Good looks at about 8 feeding in a fruiting fig tree at Ranganathittu, and 1 at Nagarhole.
GREEN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula aenea)
Two 2 singles at Nagarhole, and another couple near the Tapovan Hotel, Thattekad.
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis)
Two seen and others heard in the Nagarhole area, 5 at Thattekad, and 4 at Coconut Lagoon.
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
Singles at Ranganathittu and Kokkorahally, 4 at Nagarhole, 1 at Periyar, and 8 in the Thattekad–Coconut Lagoon area.
GRAY-BELLIED CUCKOO (Cacomantis passerinus)
We saw a single hepatic bird at Nagarhole.
COMMON HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx varius)
Three singles at Nagarhole.
COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus)
One on the way to Bandipur, and 1 at Periyar.
SRI LANKA FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus moniliger)
Great close looks at a female right in the open at Urulanthanni Forest.
GREAT EARED-NIGHTJAR (Lyncornis macrotis)
Eight to ten over an open field at dusk at Thattekad.
JERDON'S NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus atripennis)
Great looks at 1 calling and flying around us at Jungle Hut.
INDIAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus unicolor)
About 30 in the Jungle Hut area, 8 at Periyar, and about a dozen at Thattekad.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis)
About 20 flying around a bridge (a frequently used nesting site) at Thattekad.
CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata)
Some of the group saw 1 in flight at Jungle Hut.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)
About 10 at Kokkorahally.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)
Two near Kokkare Bellur, a dozen at Nagarhole, about 30 on the way to Bandipur.
GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus)
One near Kokkare Bellur, about 40 at Kokkorahally, 12 on the way to Bandipur, 1 on the way to Chinnar, and 50+ at Coconut Lagoon.
WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Two at Ranganathittu, 1 on the way to Nagarhole, and heard at Thattekad.
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
Fifteen at a roadside pool on the way to Chinnar.
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus)
Small numbers in a variety of open farmland and forest clearings throughout the tour; in all we saw about 45.
PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)
Four at a roadside pool in the lowlands on the way to Chinnar, and 3 at Coconut Lagoon.
BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus)
We saw an immature near Kokkare Bellur, then about a dozen on the way to Nagarhole, 4 near Bandipur, and 8 in The Backwaters.
PIN-TAILED SNIPE (Gallinago stenura)
Six in a flooded farm field at Periyar.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
One near Kokkare Bellur, 1 at Nagarhole, 1 on the way to Chinnar.
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus)
One on the way to Chinnar.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
One at the same pool as the Green Sandpiper on the way to Chinnar.
BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
One in flight in the Backwaters.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)
At least 40 in The Backwaters.
RIVER TERN (Sterna aurantia)
Two near Kokkare Bellur, and about 10 at Ranganathittu.
ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)
Ten at Ranganathittu, 7 in the Nagarhole area, and a flock of 45+ over The Backwaters.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus)
Recently split as Asian Woolly-necked Stork; we saw a pair mating on a nest at Periyar.
PAINTED STORK (Mycteria leucocephala)
One near Kokkare Bellur, and 1 on the way to Bandipur.
ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster)
One at Ranganathittu, about 10 at Kokkorahally, and 30 in The Backwaters.
LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger)
Common and widespread in wetlands throughout the tour, and at least 2000 in The Backwaters.
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
One on the way to Nagarhole, 1 at Periyar, and 2 in The Backwaters.
INDIAN CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
Great scope views of about 100 birds on nests at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, and 400+ in The Backwaters.
SPOT-BILLED PELICAN (Pelecanus philippensis)
Fifty were breeding in the village at Kokkare Bellur, 300+ were at Ranganathittu, and 5 at Kokkorahally.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)
One on the way to Nagarhole.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)
Two at Kokkorahally, and 4 on the way to Nagarhole, and 8 in The Backwaters area.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
Two singles at Nagarhole, 2 on the way to Chinnar, 4 along the road to Periyar, and about 30 in The Backwaters.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)
Three at Kokkorahally, 1 at near Nagarhole, 1 on the way to Periyar, and at least 200 in The Backwaters.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
Common and widespread at a variety of scattered wetlands; in all we saw abut 160.
WESTERN REEF-HERON (Egretta gularis)
One on floating vegetation at Brunton's Boatyard.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
Common and widespread.
INDIAN POND-HERON (Ardeola grayii)
Very common throughout the tour.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
We saw an immature near Kokkare Bellur, and 2 adults at Kokkorahally.
BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
About 20 in the Bangalore area, 300+ at Ranganathittu, 100+ in and around Nagarhole, and 2 at Coconut Lagoon.
RED-NAPED IBIS (Pseudibis papillosa)
Five near Kokkare Bellur, and 16 in and around Nagarhole.
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Three at Nagarhole, and 1 at Coconut Lagoon.
BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)
One in the farmlands near Nagarhole.
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
We saw both a light morph and a dark morph at Nagarhole.
WHITE-RUMPED VULTURE (Gyps bengalensis)
Two flying distantly at Jungle Hut.
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela)
Good looks at 4 adults at Nagarhole, and then an immature bird at Urulanthanni Forest.
CHANGEABLE HAWK-EAGLE (CRESTED) (Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus)
Two at Nagarhole, and 1 at Jungle Hut.
BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis)
Three in the Jungle Hut area, and 1 at Periyar.
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)
We saw both pale and dark morph birds at Nagarhole (1), and Jungle Hut (3).
BONELLI'S EAGLE (Aquila fasciata)
Two at Deshadan Hill, and 1 at Bodi Mett.
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)
We saw a female in a rice field in The Backwaters.
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)
One in flight at Jungle Hut, and 1 at Thattekad.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
About 300 in the Bangalore area, 30+ in and around Nagarhole, and 2 at Kochi.
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus)
Thirty at Kokkare Bellur and Ranganathittu, about a dozen at Nagarhole, 2 at Thattekad, and 150+ in The Backwaters.
SRI LANKA BAY-OWL (Phodilus assimilis)
Amazing, fantastic close looks at this rarely seen bird in the Urulanthanni Forest, Thattekad. And, many thanks to our two local guides too – without them no one would ever see this bird. Great job in finding this and many other super birds!
INDIAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus bakkamoena)
Good day time looks at 1 in a hole in a tree at Periyar.
SPOT-BELLIED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo nipalensis)
Great scope views of this magnificent eagle-owl near Jungle Hut.
BROWN FISH-OWL (Ketupa zeylonensis)
One along a well wooded stream in the Jungle Hut area.
JUNGLE OWLET (Glaucidium radiatum malabaricum)
Four seen at Periyar (and others heard there), and also heard at Thattekad.
SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama)
One in a large fig tree at Jungle Hut.
BROWN WOOD-OWL (Strix leptogrammica)
Thanks to our local guide we saw 1 in the thick forest above Jungle Hut.
MALABAR TROGON (Harpactes fasciatus)
Fabulous close scope views of a male in the forest at Periyar, and then a pair at Urulanthanni Forest.
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops)
One at Bandipur.
GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis) [*]
Heard at Urulanthanni Forest.
INDIAN GRAY HORNBILL (Ocyceros birostris)
Eight feeding in fig trees at Ranganathittu, and 2 at Nagarhole.
MALABAR GRAY HORNBILL (Ocyceros griseus) [E]
Four at Periyar, and then 20+ in the Thattekad area.
MALABAR PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros coronatus)
Nice looks at 6 at Nagarhole.
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis)
Two at Kokkare Bellur, 2 at Nagarhole, 1 at Jungle Hut, 1 at Spice Village, and 2 at Coconut Lagoon.
STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Pelargopsis capensis)
Scope views of an immature near the Tapovan Hotel, Thattekkad, and then 2 adults at Coconut Lagoon.
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Fairly common and seen almost daily throughout the tour; in all we saw about 60.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)
One at Nagarhole.
GREEN BEE-EATER (Merops orientalis)
Recently split from African and Arabian Green Bee-eaters and now known as Asian Green Bee-eater. We saw 2 at Kokkare Bellur, 2 at Nagarhole, and 1 on the way to Ooty.
BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus)
About 18 at Kokkorahally, 6 near the Tapovan Hotel, and 80+ in The Backwaters.
CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti)
At least 7 near the Tapovan Hotel and Thattekad area.
INDIAN ROLLER (Coracias benghalensis)
Singles on roadside wires near Nagarhole and then on the way to Chinnar.
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis)
Two singles in the Thattekad area.
MALABAR BARBET (Psilopogon malabaricus) [E]
One seen (and others heard) at Periyar, and several heard at Thattekad.
COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus)
Widespread with about 20 seen and many others heard.
BROWN-HEADED BARBET (Psilopogon zeylanicus)
Some of the group saw 1 at Kabini River Lodge.
WHITE-CHEEKED BARBET (Psilopogon viridis) [E]
Common and widespread with a total of 60 seen and many others heard.
HEART-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Hemicircus canente)
One at Periyar.
BROWN-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER (Yungipicus nanus)
Two at Kabini River Lodge, 1 at Jungle Hut, and 1 at Periyar.
YELLOW-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Leiopicus mahrattensis)
One at Jungle Hut for some of the group.
GREATER FLAMEBACK (MALABAR) (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus socialis)
We saw two pairs at Periyar, and 2 at Thattekad.
WHITE-NAPED WOODPECKER (Chrysocolaptes festivus)
We saw a pair of these uncommon woodpeckers in the open woodland next to Jungle Hut.
RUFOUS WOODPECKER (Micropternus brachyurus)
One for some of the group at Periyar.
COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense)
This is the 'uncommon' flameback; we saw a pair at Periyar.
BLACK-RUMPED FLAMEBACK (Dinopium benghalense)
Fairly widespread, with a total of 34.
LESSER YELLOWNAPE (Picus chlorolophus) [*]
Heard in the Urulanthanni Forest.
STREAK-THROATED WOODPECKER (Picus xanthopygaeus)
Four at Nagarhole, and 2 at Jungle Hut.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus javensis)
We saw 2 of these rather uncommon woodpeckers at a nest hole in the Urulanthanni Forest.
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)
One in flight at Bodi Mett.
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)
Common and widespread in the lower country; in all we saw about 200.
PLUM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula cyanocephala)
About 20 at Nagarhole, 4 at Jungle Hut, 6 at Periyar, and a dozen at Thattekad.
MALABAR PARAKEET (Psittacula columboides) [E]
Eight at Nagarhole, 20+ at Periyar, and about 40 at Thattekad.
VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis)
Three at Jungle Hut, and 15 at Periyar.
INDIAN PITTA (Pitta brachyura)
Fantastic close views of a calling perched bird at Jungle Hut.
SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)
Eight at Nagarhole, and 6 at Jungle Hut.
ORANGE MINIVET (Pericrocotus flammeus)
Three at Jungle Hut, 10 at Periyar, and about 6 at Thattekad.
LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina macei)
One near the Tapovan Hotel.
BLACK-HEADED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melanoptera)
Two (a female and then a male) at Jungle Hut.
INDIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus kundoo)
Two at Nagarhole, 1 on the way to Bandipur, 1 at Periyar, and 1 at Thattekad.
BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis)
Two of our group saw 1 at the Tapovan Hotel.
BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)
Nice looks at a close bird at Periyar, and then 3 in the Thattekad area.
ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus)
About 8 on some wires over a river in the Thattekad area.
MALABAR WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis sylvicola) [E]
Two of our group saw 1 at our lunch spot at Bandipur, and then we all had good looks at Periyar.
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus)
One at Jungle Hut, and then 6 on the way to the Tapovan Hotel.
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia)
Nice looks in shrubbery along the shore at Nagarhole, and 1 at Jungle Hut.
SPOT-BREASTED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albogularis) [E]
Two for some of the group at Ranganathittu, and then great looks for everyone in the farm country below Ooty.
WHITE-BROWED FANTAIL (Rhipidura aureola)
Three at Jungle Hut.
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus)
Common and widespread in open country; with a total of about 70.
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
More of a woodland and forest species than Black Drongo, with a total of about 50.
WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO (Dicrurus caerulescens)
Two at Nagarhole, 6 at Jungle Hut, and 1 at Thattekad.
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus)
Five at Nagarhole, 1 at Jungle Hut, and 2 in the Thattekad area.
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus)
About 16 at Nagarhole, 40 at Periyar, 15 at Thattekad, and 4 at Coconut Lagoon.
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea)
One in the Urulanthanni Forest.
INDIAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone paradisi)
We saw 3 females at Nagarhole, a good looking male at Periyar (rufous morph) and a fabulous white morph male at Coconut Lagoon.
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus)
Three at Nagarhole, 2 at Periyar, and then a gray-crowned bird of the race 'lucionensis' (sometimes split as Philippine Shrike) at Coconut Lagoon.
BAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius vittatus)
Three in the Jungle Hut area.
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach)
Small numbers were widespread (mainly in the lowlands) where we saw about 16.
RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda)
Four at Nagarhole, 1 near Jungle Hut, 7 at Periyar, and about 20 in the Thattekad area.
WHITE-BELLIED TREEPIE (Dendrocitta leucogastra) [E]
Good close looks at Periyar, where we also had a flying flock of about a dozen, and then 3 more in the Thattekad area.
HOUSE CROW (Corvus splendens)
Common, widespread, and seen daily.
LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos)
Common, widespread, and seen daily.
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Two at Pettimudi, and another single in the Munnar area.
CINEREOUS TIT (Parus cinereus)
Widespread in small numbers; with a total of about 20.
INDIAN YELLOW TIT (Machlolophus aplonotus)
One at Deshadan Hill.
ASHY-CROWNED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix griseus)
Good scope views of a male (and a few others flying around) at Bandipur.
JERDON'S BUSHLARK (Mirafra affinis)
Two in an open hilly area near Jungle Hut.
MALABAR LARK (Galerida malabarica) [E]
One on the same open hill as Jerdon's lark near Jungle Hut.
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)
Small numbers were seen in a variety of scrub and thicket areas, with a total of about 12.
ASHY PRINIA (Prinia socialis)
Two on the way to Nagarhole, and 4 in the reserve there.
PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata) [*]
Heard at Coconut Lagoon.
SYKES'S WARBLER (Iduna rama)
One in the lantana scrub on the way to Ooty.
PADDYFIELD WARBLER (Acrocephalus agricola)
One at Coconut Lagoon.
BLYTH'S REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus dumetorum)
Two at Nagarhole, 1 at Jungle Hut, and 1 at Thattekad.
DUSKY CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne concolor)
One near Ooty for a couple of the group, and then 4 for everyone at Lockhart Gap.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
One at Nagarhole, about 50 on the way to Chinnar, and 200+ in The Backwaters.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)
One at Ranganathittu.
HILL SWALLOW (Hirundo domicola)
Good looks at two close perched birds near Ooty, and 6 at Lockhart Gap.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)
About 20 in the Jungle Hut area, 1 at Lockhart Gap.
FLAME-THROATED BULBUL (Rubigula gularis) [E]
Two at Periyar, and 1 on the way to Thattekad.
RED-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus cafer)
Common and widespread,
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus)
Very common, widespread, and seen almost daily.
YELLOW-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus xantholaemus) [E]
We saw this very localized endemic on the Bodi Mett escarpment.
WHITE-BROWED BULBUL (Pycnonotus luteolus)
Two in the shoreline scrub at Nagarhole, and 1 at Bandipur.
YELLOW-BROWED BULBUL (Iole indica)
One near Jungle Hut, 5 at Periyar, and 7 in the Thattekad area.
SQUARE-TAILED BULBUL (Hypsipetes ganeesa)
About 40 in the Munnar area.
TICKELL'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus affinis)
Good looks at 2 foraging together at Eravikulam.
GREEN WARBLER (Phylloscopus nitidus)
Heard frequently, and finally seen in the Urulanthanni Forest.
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 20.
LARGE-BILLED LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus magnirostris) [*]
Heard at Pettimudi, Periyar, and Thattekad.
INDIAN WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus)
One at Jungle Hut, and about a dozen in the Munnar area,
DARK-FRONTED BABBLER (Dumetia atriceps)
Three in thick road-side vegetation on the way to Thattekkad.
INDIAN SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus horsfieldii) [E]
Two at Jungle Hut kept to cover, but we then had excellent looks at Tea County Hotel (3).
PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps)
Good looks at a responsive pair at Nagarhole, and heard at Jungle Hut.
BROWN-CHEEKED FULVETTA (Alcippe poioicephala)
One for some of the group at Jungle Hut, and 1 for everyone at Urulanthanni Forest.
NILGIRI LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Montecincla cachinnans) [E]
Two at Dodda Betta near Ooty.
PALANI LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Montecincla fairbanki) [E]
Now split from Gray-breasted Laughingthrush, we saw 4 at Pettimudi, 12 at Eravikulam, and 1 at Lockhart Gap.
JUNGLE BABBLER (Argya striata)
Small flocks were seen at a variety of scattered locations; in all we saw about 400.
YELLOW-BILLED BABBLER (Argya affinis)
Four in the farmlands near Jungle Hut.
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis)
One at Jungle Hut, and 2 at Periyar.
SOUTHERN HILL MYNA (Gracula indica)
Good looks at about 80 at Nagarhole, 2 at Periyar, and 6 in the Thattekad area.
BRAHMINY STARLING (Sturnia pagodarum)
We saw these attractive starlings at Nagarhole (22) and Jungle Hut (20).
CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Sturnia malabarica)
Two at Periyar.
MALABAR STARLING (Sturnia blythii)
About 25 at Nagarhole, 30+ at Periyar, and 2 at Thattekad.
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)
Very common, widespread, and seen daily.
JUNGLE MYNA (Acridotheres fuscus)
Another common and widespread myna.
ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH (Geokichla citrina)
Singles at Nagarhole, Periyar, and Urulanthanni Forest.
INDIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus simillimus)
Some of the group saw a female at Ooty, and one of the group saw a male at Thattekad.
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica)
Two at Nagarhole, 1 at Jungle Hut, and 4 at Thattekad.
BROWN-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa muttui)
Three at Thattekad.
INDIAN ROBIN (Copsychus fulicatus)
Two at Bandipur, and 6 in the Jungle Hut area.
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis)
Widespread in small numbers; with a total of about 60.
WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus) [*]
Heard at Nagarhole.
NILGIRI SHOLAKILI (Sholicola major) [E]
We saw a close bird at dusk in the forest near Dodda Betta, Ooty.
WHITE-BELLIED SHOLAKILI (Sholicola albiventris) [E]
Always a real skulker, so we were lucky to see a perched bird in a shola at Eravikulam.
WHITE-BELLIED BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis pallidipes) [E]
One (a male) at Periyar.
BLUE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Cyornis rubeculoides)
We saw a female and then a male at Kabini River Lodge, another male at Periyar, and we heard birds singing at Thattekad.
TICKELL'S BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis tickelliae)
Two at Ranganathittu, 1 at Kokkorahally, 3 at Jungle Hut, and heard at Periyar.
NILGIRI FLYCATCHER (Eumyias albicaudatus) [E]
We saw singles of both sexes at Pettimudi, Eravikulam, and Deshadan Hill.
VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus)
Three in the Jungle Hut area.
INDIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora brunnea)
Heard at Jungle Hut, Eravikulam, and in the Urulanthanni Forest where we watched the rear end of one flicking its tail while singing.
MALABAR WHISTLING-THRUSH (Myophonus horsfieldii) [E]
Singles at Tea County, Spice Village, Periyar, and in the Thattekad area.
BLACK-AND-ORANGE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula nigrorufa) [E]
We saw 5 of these lovely little endemic flycatchers at three different locations in the Munnar area.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula parva)
One at Kabini River Lodge.
BLUE-CAPPED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola cinclorhyncha)
We saw a male at Tea County, and then another male and a female at Lockhart Gap.
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata)
Common and widespread outside forest areas at Nagarhole and also in the highlands.
NILGIRI FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum concolor) [E]
Singles at Pettimudi, Deshadan Hill, and Periyar.
PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD (Leptocoma zeylonica)
Not seen in the Periyar and Thattekad areas, but otherwise common and widespread with a total of about 120.
CRIMSON-BACKED SUNBIRD (Leptocoma minima) [E]
We saw a male at Deshadan Hill, and then at least 5 in the Thattekad area.
PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus)
Three at Bandipur, 1 near Jungle Hut and 4 at Coconut Lagoon.
LOTEN'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris lotenius)
Single females at Bodi Mett and Periyar, and then at least 5 of both sexes at Thattekad.
ASIAN FAIRY-BLUEBIRD (Irena puella)
Scope views of a female in the forest at Periyar, and heard in the Urulanthanni Forest.
JERDON'S LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis jerdoni)
Singles at Nagarhole, Jungle Hut, Periyar, and Urulanthanni Forest.
GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons)
Two at Jungle Hut, and 2 at Periyar.
BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus)
Two males were seen nest building at Kokkare Bellur, and we then saw about 80 in the reeds at Coconut Lagoon.
INDIAN SILVERBILL (Euodice malabarica)
Singles south of Mysore, at Bandipur, and near Jungle Hut.
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata)
Four were nest building on the office block at Nagarhole, then 6 at Jungle Hut and 4 more near there.
BLACK-THROATED MUNIA (Lonchura kelaarti)
Strangely we saw a flock of about 30 of these rather uncommon munias near Jungle Hut, and 13 near the Tapovan Hotel,
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata)
Two at Kokkare Bellur, and 2 at Bandipur.
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)
Common and widespread in towns and villages.
FOREST WAGTAIL (Dendronanthus indicus)
One of our group saw 1 near the Tapovan Hotel, while the rest of us had to be content with hearing it call.
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)
Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 40.
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava)
About a dozen near to our lodge at Nagarhole, and 1 at Jungle Hut.
WHITE-BROWED WAGTAIL (Motacilla maderaspatensis)
Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 30.
PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus)
One near Jungle Hut.
INDIAN FLYING-FOX (Pteropus giganteus)
About 250 were seen at various sites between Bangalore and Nagarhole, about 20 at Munnar, and 30+ at Coconut Lagoon.
BONNET MACAQUE (Macaca radiata)
Common and widespread in both forest, and towns and villages; in all we saw about 750.
COMMON LANGUR (Presbytis entellus)
We saw 120+ at Nagarhole, 60 in the Jungle Hut area, and a dozen in and around Munnar.
NILGIRI LANGUR (Presbytis johni)
At least 20 were at Spice Village, and another 60+ in the nearby Periyar Tiger Reserve.
INDIAN PALM SQUIRREL (Funambulus palmarum)
Very common and widespread throughout the tour.
INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL (Ratufa indica)
In this area these very attractive squirrels are also known as Malabar Giant Squirrel. We saw them at Nagarhole (4), Jungle Hut (3), Deshadan Hill (1), Periyar (5), and Thattekad (1).
DHOLE (Cuon alpinus)
Amazing luck to find 8 of these rare and often secretive canines near Jungle Hut – just fantastic!
STRIPE-NECKED MONGOOSE (Herpestes vitticolis)
Three at Nagarhole – great close looks too!
TIGER (Panthera tigris)
First we saw a hidden large male, but eventually got a nice look at his face, then we saw a female walking along a track, and finally a third! All at Nagarhole, and often very difficult to see in south India, so we were exceptionally lucky to see even one!
INDIAN ELEPHANT (Elephas maximus)
We saw about 20 at Nagarhole, including groups of females with young, and a couple of big 'tuskers'.
WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)
About 35 at Nagarhole, and 4 at Jungle Hut.
MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak) [*]
Heard at Nagarhole.
SPOTTED DEER (Axis axis)
Several thousand at Nagarhole, and 300+ in the Jungle Hut– Mudumalai area,
SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor)
Fourteen at Nagarhole, and 2 at Periyar.
GAUR (Bos gaurus)
Just magnificent this tour, with at least 40 at Nagarhole which included some huge males – the world's largest bovine.
NILGIRI TAHR (Hemitragus hylocrius)
Two were scoped on a distant mountain top at Eravikulam.
Reptiles seen on the tour included;
Marsh Mugger; about 20 including some huge ones at Ranganathittu.
Checkered Keelback; we saw 1 of these 'water snakes' swimming in the dam near Kokkare Bellur.
Indian Rock Python; fantastic to see a beautifully marked '12 footer' drinking at a pool at Periyar.
Indian Garden Lizard; a large colorful lizard we saw near Chinnar.
Flying Draco; we saw this 'flying lizard' at Thattekad.
Indian Water Monitor; at least 2 at Coconut Lagoon.
Totals for the tour: 230 bird taxa and 16 mammal taxa