India is home to about 12.5% of the world’s bird population. The National Parks of India are home to nearly 1300 species of birds, which includes resident species as well as migratory birds. Avid and novice bird-watchers get the opportunity to witness the avifauna riches thriving in the different terrains of the parks during birdwatching tours. Waxpol Hotels and Resorts organises birdwatching tours at Pench National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Chapramari National Park and Sundarban National Park during the winter months from November to March.
Pench Birdwatching Tour
Pench National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers and photography enthusiasts. The landscape of the park is a mix of open hilly terrain, teak forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, tropical dry deciduous forest, open grassy patches and jungle streams. The park is home to over 300 varieties of birds and the forest is filled with a cacophony of bird calls. Some of the popular species are Indian Scops Owl, Jungle Owlet, Spotted Owlet, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Grey Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Parakeets, Kingfishers, Barbets, Minivets, Orioles and Wagtails. Predatory bird species like Osprey, Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle and White-eyed Buzzard can also been seen during the tour. Four species of the endangered vulture, namely White-rumped, Long-billed, White Scavenger and King vulture can be seen thriving in good numbers in the Pench Tiger Reserve. During winter, a host of migratory birds like the Brahminy Duck, Pochards, Barheaded Geese, Coots, etc, visit the park for breeding and nesting.
The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Pench organises birdwatching tours thrice a day: morning, afternoon and night. The morning tours start at sunrise and go on till 9am. The afternoon birdwatching tours usually begin around 4pm and end at sunset. The night birdwatching tours commence around 6pm and end around 9pm. During the night tours, nocturnal birds such as the Indian NightJar, Jungle NightJar, Scops Owl, Barn Owl, Jungle Owlet and Spotted Owlet can be observed.
Guests will be accompanied by a naturalist or trained forest guide who will spot and identify the different species of birds during the birdwatching tours.
Dooars Birdwatching Tour
Dooars, home to over 200 species of birds, is a very popular destination amongst bird watchers in India and globally. The rolling forest and riverine grasslands of Gorumara National Park, the dry mixed forest and thick bower of greenery of Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and the dense bamboo groves, virginal natural forest and green valley of Neora Valley National Park form the lush, green landscape of Dooars. Major bird species that can be spotted in Dooars include the Indian Peacock, Abbott’s Babbler, Alexandrine Parakeet, Barn Owl, Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Black-throated Sunbird, Cattle Egret, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Great Indian Hornbill, Green Bee-eater, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Eagle Owl, Indian Shag, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Egret, Lapwing, Blue Whistling Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, etc. During winter, migratory birds like the Brahminy Duck, Stork, Ibis, Teal, etc arrive in thousands to breed and nest.
Special watchtowers have been erected in Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and Neora Valley National Park to allow visitors to observe the abundant avifauna and wildlife. The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Dooars has built a pond that attracts migratory birds, thus making it a popular spot amongst bird watchers staying at the resort.
Sundarban Birdwatching Tour
Sundarban National Park is an aviary enthusiast’s dream come true. The entire forest is surrounded by water and the terrain is characterized by low-lying alluvial islands and mud banks, with sandy beaches and dunes along the coast. The park is home to over 230 species of birds. Sunderban Tiger Camp organises daily boat safaris that allow bird lovers and photography enthusiasts to witness the avifauna thrive in this ideal habitat for waterfowl. Our expert boatmen and the forest guide navigate their way through the creeks and rivers and stop at spots which offer the best opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local avifauna.
Besides the boat safaris, the embankments, villages and places outside the national park are popular spots for birdwatching and are favored by both Indian and international guests. Jatirampur and Tibligiri Bazaar, located half an hour away from the Sunderban Tiger Camp, are known nesting areas for migratory birds during the winter month.
Unlike other regions of India, birdwatching is a year long activity in the Sundarbans. The year is divided into the following periods:
- November to February (Winter)
- March to May (Summer)
- June to October (Monsoon)
November to February (Winter)
November heralds the arrival of winter in India. The period from November to February witnesses the arrival of thousands of migratory birds to the forest for the dual purposes of breeding and nesting. Some of the migratory bird species that can be sighted are Northern Shoveller, Eurasian Carlew, Ruddy Shellduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Purple Heron, etc. Brown Winged Kingfisher and Black Capped Kingfisher are endemic to the region.
March to May (Summer)
The mangrove trees in the Sundarban National Park start to bloom from March onwards. Our naturalists and forest guides will help you spot and identify different bird species that flock to the park. Visitor can view birds like Lesser Adjutant Stork (Madan tak), Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike, Plaintive Cuckoo, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Oriental White Eye, Minivet, Long Tail NightJar, Ashy Wood Swallow, Flying Fox, Indian Roller, Grey Headed Lapwing, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Buffy Fish Owl, Mangrove Whistler, and many more.
June to October (Monsoon)
The start of the monsoon season in June also marks the beginning of the breeding season for a majority of bird species in the Sundarbans. This period offers birdwatchers the opportunity to witness some rare birds like Mangrove Pitta , Indian Pitta, Goliath Heron, Gray Heron, Ruddy Kingfisher, Barn Owl, Collared Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White Throated Kingfisher, Stork Billed Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Blue Eared Kingfisher etc.
Things to carry for Bird watching
- Binoculars with either a neck strap/harness, but we prefer a neck harness.
- Field Guide.
- Spotting scope
- Notebook and Pencil
- Birding App
- Bird Checklist
- Neutral coloured clothing