Birds & Mammals of Assam

Cattle Egret and Rhino

This short tour, a precursor to our Amazing Amurs tour, visits one of the most beautiful parks in India’s Northeast, followed by the best-known. Manas National Park, named after the Manas River, is a tiger reserve on the Bhutan border, and part of an important elephant corridor. It has a fantastic selection of mammals including the gorgeous Golden Langur. For birds it is a prime site for the critically endangered Bengal Florican, and we will also look for Swamp Francolin, Wreathed Hornbill, Red-headed Trogon, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Slender-billed Babbler, Sultan Tit and Black-breasted Parrotbill.

Kaziranga National Park is world-famous, in particular as the number one site for the endangered Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. This is also one of the best places to see wild Water Buffalo and Asian Elephants, and there is a chance of seeing a Tiger, as well as several localised and endangered birds such as Swamp Francolin, Greater Adjutant, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, Great Hornbill, Indian Grassbird and Finn’s Weaver.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Delhi or Kolkata and on to Guwahati

Depending on flight arrival time, today will either include a flight on to Guwahati or a stay overnight, with a late morning flight the following day.

Day 2: Guwahati to Manas National Park

We will drive to Manas National Park and check in to our lodge in time for an afternoon jeep safari. The Manas River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, passes through the middle of the Park and gives it its name. In the foothills of the Himalaya, its varied landscape of grassland and forest is one of the most pristine and stunning in India. The National Park extends into Bhutan as the Royal Manas National Park, and is a sanctuary for various endangered species, including Golden Langur, Hispid Hare, Pygmy Hog and Clouded Leopard. Other mammals here include Indian Elephant, Indian Rhinoceros, some of the few remaining wild Asian Water Buffaloes, Asian Golden Cat, Capped Langur and Hoolock Gibbon.

Day 3: Manas National Park

Our full day in Manas will mean jeep safaris morning and afternoon, in search of both mammals and birds. We will particularly look for the critically endangered Bengal Florican, although outside of the breeding season it rarely strays out of the deep grass and in to the open so we will require some luck to get good views, probably from one of the park’s viewing towers.

Other grassland birds to look out for include Pied Harrier, White-eyed Buzzard, Collared Falconet, Swamp Francolin, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Finn’s Weaver, Bengal Bush Lark, Hodgson’s Bush Chat, Black-breasted Parrotbill, and Indian (Rufous-rumped) Grassbird.

The surrounding forest has equally good birding, with Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Great Hornbills, Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle, Orange-breasted, Pin-tailed and Ashy-headed Green Pigeons, Barred Cuckoo-dove, Green-billed Malkoha, Red-headed Trogon, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Lineated Barbet, Long-tailed and Silver-breasted Broadbills, Crested Kingfisher, Assam, Greater Necklaced and Rufous-necked Laughingthrushes, Scaly Thrush, Sultan Tit, Slaty-backed Forktail, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker and Chestnut-eared Bunting all possibilities.

Day 4: Manas to Nameri Nameri National Park

We will drive to Nameri National Park and Tiger Reserve and get some late afternoon birding in. If we have time, we will cross the Jia Bhoreli river by boat and approach quietly to some of the swampy pools to hopefully get a glimpse of the endangered White-winged Duck. Nameri is the best place in India to see this species, although they are shy forest-dwelling ducks and often fly off at the slightest noise on approach to one of the other many, inaccessible, pools deep within the forest.

Day 5: Nameri to Kaziranga National Park

A further morning in the lowland forest of Nameri should produce an excellent variety of species, potentially including White-cheeked Partridge, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Lesser Coucal, Great Thick-knee, Ibisbill, River Lapwing, Long-billed Plover, Small Pratincole, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White-rumped and Slender-billed Vultures, Great and Wreathed Hornbills, Crested Kingfisher, Pied Falconet, Oriental Hobby, Maroon Oriole, Sultan Tit, Scaly Thrush and Siberian Rubythroat.

We then leave on the relatively short drive to Kaziranga National Park, where we will spend the next two days.

Days 6 – 7: Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park extends over 480 sq km with the great Brahmaputra River as its northern boundary and the Karbi Hills fringing the southern. The name Kaziranga means means ‘where the mountain goat drinks water’ in the language of the Karbi tribe. It used to be an inaccessible swampy land covered with tall elephant grass and jheels (water bodies). Now a National Park, it is famous for its 1,000-strong population of Indian Rhinoceros, wild Water Buffalo and wild Elephants.

Kaziranga is divided into three ranges. The central range is usually the best to see Rhinos, Water Buffaloes and Elephants in the water. The eastern range offers some of the most exciting and varied wildlife watching, with a possibility of seeing Otters and, with luck, a Tiger. A great variety of waterfowl should be present at Sohola Bheel, where we also hope to see Greater Adjutant Stork, Pallas’s and Grey-headed Fishing Eagles and Spot-billed Pelican. Overall an impressive list of species could also include Falcated Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican, Lesser Coucal, Plaintive Cuckoo, Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Blue-naped Pitta, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Great Myna, Pale-chinned Blue Flycatcher, Crimson Sunbird and Finn’s Weaver.

Day 8: Kaziranga to Khonoma for Nagaland extension

A long drive today takes us from Assam into Nagaland, and Khonoma, the starting point for our tour to take in the amazing Amur Falcon migration.

Target Species

  • Swamp Francolin 
  • Greater Adjutant
  • Pallas's Fish Eagle
  • Bengal Florican
  • Red-headed Trogon
  • Great Hornbill
  • Wreathed Hornbill
  • Silver-breasted Broadbill
  • Sultan Tit
  • Indian Grassbird 
  • Slender-billed Babbler 
  • Black-breasted Parrotbill 
  • Finn's Weaver 
  •   Endemic
  •   Near Endemic

Species Checklist

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Important information

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As with all Bubo Birding tours, your booking is handled by Asian Adventures. This tour is guided by Mike Prince, plus local birding guides.

Prices quoted are approximate prices per person, assuming an exclusive 2 person tour. Larger group sizes attract a discounted per person price, e.g. at least 25% cheaper for 4 persons. International flights are excluded. The final price and itinerary will be confirmed before booking and depending on your expected arrival and departure plans.

See Asian Adventures for full tour details, including accommodation, what's included, other exclusions, prices for larger groups, single room supplements, and booking details.

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