Endemic Birds of the Nilgiris

Black-and-orange Flycatcher

This tour focuses on the endemic birds of the Nilgiris in the Western Ghats of South India, one of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots due to its large amount of endemism and diversity. The area is important for wintering migrants too. Key bird species include lots with Malabar and Nilgiri in their name!

Starting from Bangalore in Karnataka, we head south to the state of Tamil Nadu, where we will split our birding time between Masinagudi, part of Mudumalai National Park, and nearby, but bird-wise very different, sites in the Ooty area.

The tour ends with a return to Bangalore, but alternatively can be combined with our short Kerala Birding tour. In this case an additional visit will be made to either Valparai or Top Slip, with two nights spent there, before joining the Kerala tour in Munnar. (Costs for this will be given upon enquiry.)

This tour will be led by Mike and local guides, and will be at a relaxed pace to concentrate on enjoying and understanding identification and behaviour of the birds we see. It is ideal for newcomers to birding, as well as those who have been birding for a longer time.

Target Species

  • Jungle Bush Quail 
  • Painted Bush Quail 
  • Red Spurfowl 
  • Grey Junglefowl 
  • Crested Treeswift
  • Indian Swiftlet 
  • Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo
  • Nilgiri Wood Pigeon 
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Common Emerald Dove
  • Grey-fronted Green Pigeon 
  • Green Imperial Pigeon
  • Mountain Imperial Pigeon
  • Barred Buttonquail
  • Red-naped Ibis 
  • Crested Honey Buzzard
  • White-rumped Vulture
  • Indian Vulture 
  • Red-headed Vulture
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Changeable Hawk-Eagle
  • Black Eagle
  • Crested Goshawk
  • Indian Scops Owl 
  • Oriental Scops Owl
  • Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl
  • Brown Fish Owl
  • Brown Wood Owl
  • Jungle Owlet 
  • Malabar Trogon 
  • Great Hornbill
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill 
  • Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
  • Blue-bearded Bee-eater
  • Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
  • Malabar Barbet 
  • Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 
  • White-bellied Woodpecker
  • Lesser Yellownape
  • Greater Flameback
  • Blue-winged Parakeet 
  • Indian Pitta 
  • Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
  • Malabar Woodshrike 
  • White-bellied Minivet 
  • Black-headed Cuckooshrike 
  • Brown Shrike
  • Bay-backed Shrike
  • White-bellied Drongo 
  • Bronzed Drongo
  • White-spotted Fantail 
  • Indian Black-lored Tit 
  • Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark 
  • Jerdon’s Bush Lark 
  • Malabar Lark 
  • Grey-headed Bulbul 
  • Flame-throated Bulbul 
  • Yellow-browed Bulbul 
  • Square-tailed Bulbul 
  • Hill Swallow 
  • Tytler’s Leaf Warbler 
  • Green Warbler
  • Large-billed Leaf Warbler
  • Thick-billed Warbler
  • Indian Scimitar Babbler 
  • Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
  • Nilgiri Laughingthrush 
  • Hume’s Whitethroat
  • Asian Fairy-bluebird
  • Indian Nuthatch 
  • Malabar Starling 
  • Orange-headed Thrush
  • Nilgiri Thrush 
  • Indian Blackbird 
  • White-rumped Shama
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher
  • Brown-breasted Flycatcher
  • White-bellied Blue Flycatcher 
  • Nilgiri Flycatcher 
  • Indian Blue Robin
  • Nilgiri Blue Robin 
  • Malabar Whistling Thrush 
  • Rusty-tailed Flycatcher 
  • Kashmir Flycatcher 
  • Black-and-orange Flycatcher 
  • Blue-capped Rock Thrush 
  • Jerdon’s Leafbird 
  • Nilgiri Flowerpecker 
  • Crimson-backed Sunbird 
  • Forest Wagtail
  • Nilgiri Pipit 
  •   Endemic
  •   Near Endemic

Itinerary

Day 1: Bangalore to Masinagudi, Mudumalai National Park

A 6-hour drive, partly through Bandipur and Mudumalai National Parks, provides lots of potential for en-route birds, although unfortunately we are not allowed to stop inside the National Parks. Outside though we will try a few brief stops, particularly where there is good dry scrub habitat which may produce species such as Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Jerdon’s Bushlark, Blue-winged (Malabar) Parakeet, Small Minivet, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark.

Our accommodation at Jungle Hut in Masinagudi has excellent birding in its grounds where we can relax before visiting another nearby scrub habitat later in the afternoon.

Days 2-3: Masinagudi, Mudumalai National Park

Malabar Lark
Malabar Lark

We have two full days of birding in the excellent scrub habitat of Mudumalai, particularly in the Masinagudi area. The regionally scarce White-bellied Minivet will be a key target here, whilst we will also be searching for birds such as Red Spurfowl, Brown Fish Owl, Blue-faced Malkoha, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-naped Woodpecker, Indian Pygmy Woodpecker, Indian Nuthatch and Malabar Lark.

Day 4: Masinagudi to Ooty, via Kalhatty Ghat

After a final morning birding session in Masinagudi, we head to our next destination: Udagamandalam, more commonly known as Ooty, situated at an altitude of about 2,200m. Ooty was originally occupied by various hill tribes of the region, and later became a popular destination during the British colonial period. We’ll stay in the 200-year-old Victorian Kluney Manor. After independence, Ooty has become a popular holiday destination due to its beautiful hills and forests, pleasant climate, and locally made chocolate!

Day 5: Ooty

Nilgiri Flycatcher
Nilgiri Flycatcher

We have a full day to bird various sites in the Ooty area, particular concentrating on remnant forest patches amongst the extensive tea estates. Key species here include Indian Blue Robin, Indian Blackbird, Nilgiri Sholakili (Nilgiri Blue Robin), Kashmir Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Tytler’s Leaf Warbler, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon and Painted Bush Quail.

Day 6: Ooty to Bangalore

The final day of our tour is likely to still include some good birding, depending on what we may have missed up to now, or would just prefer to see again! We then head back to Bangalore.

Alternatively, you may be interested in joining our short Kerala Birding tour. In this case we offer a brief extension to either Valparai or Top Slip, on Day 6, in time for afternoon birding there, and a 2-night stay. The following full day will be spent birding in this exciting area of the Tamil Nadu Western Ghats, before joining the Kerala tour in Munnar the next day.

 

Checklist

For all our bookings we provide the most accurate and useful printable checklists available, specific to the actual areas you are likely to visit. In the meantime, use our interactive state checklists, or view the species bar chart for this area on eBird:

eBird India logo

Important information

Asian Adventures logo

As with all Bubo Birding tours, your booking is handled by Asian Adventures.

  • We may change the itinerary described due to various reasons such as latest birding information, availability of accommodation, state of the roads, and other unexpected factors that, this being India, do pop up from time to time!
  • We would be happy to make any additional travel bookings, e.g. domestic flights, car and driver, that you require.
  • 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 different group sizes, single room supplements, and booking details.

Interested in Endemic Birds of the Nilgiris?

Please send a message below and we will reply soon to discuss further.

Chat or speak 9900585800 to Mike directly if you prefer.

Join the Bubo Birding Club

Receive occasional email updates about birds, birding, and wildlife tours, throughout India