Tour Overview - Birding in Gujarat
Gujarat offers a dazzling display of wildlife and birds like no other. The tour in the pride of India encompasses endemics and endangered species that build a coveted bucket list for bird nerds and enthusiasts alike. With Flamingos, Cranes, Waders and Raptors galore, this tour is sure to keep you on your toes when it comes to seeking remarkable winged wonders that congregate in this ecological paradise. Teaming up with some of the special mammals of India, this journey is bound craft some incredible experiences that will leave an indelible dent on one’s memory.
Detailed Itinerary - Birding in Gujarat
Meet and greet on arrival at New Delhi airport by our representative. He will transfer you to the hotel, assist you in check-in at the hotel, handover and explain all travel-related documents. Overnight stay at the Hotel in New Delhi.
Wake up for an early breakfast and depart for New Delhi Airport for your flight to Ahmedabad. On Arrival, our drive to Velavadar National Park takes approximately 3 Hours/156 km. After checking in and a satiating lunch, we will proceed for our very first Afternoon drive via open jeeps. The park is known for massive herds of Blackbucks that thrive better here than most places in India. The park is also famous for other mammals such as the Jungle Cat, Golden Jackal, Indian Fox and Indian Grey Wolf. However, our primary focus while seeking these magnificent mammals would be to keep a look for most of its feathered beings. The park entails species such as Chestnut-bellied and Spotted Sandgrouse, Painted Francolin, Sirkeer Malkoha, Red-rumped Swallows hawking for insects, larks such as Rufous Tailed and the coveted Syke’s and Desert and Variable Wheatears. The park also has a fair raptor population with the likes of Montagu, Marsh and Palid Harriers, accipiters such as Shikra, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Laggar, Peregrine and Red-necked Falcon, Eurasian Sparrow Hawk can be seen along with the rare but occasional Norther Goshawk.
A few others with larger wingspans include the Short Toed Snake Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Tawny Eagle and the Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagle. After an eventful evening, we will return to our accommodation for dinner and rest.
Our Morning Safari on this day is to seek species that we may have missed out from the previous day. Post lunch, we will depart for Sasan Gir which is currently the only home of India’s Asiatic Lions. It will take us close to 4 Hours/ 202 km to reach our accommodation. On arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure, followed by dinner and rest.
Our days consist of Morning and Afternoon Safaris at Gir National Park, a dry deciduous forest which harbours over 400 individuals of the Asiatic Lions. It possesses the largest concentration of big cats in the country with close to 300 Leopards as well. Apart from the carnivores, the park boasts a healthy population of Spotted Deer, Nilgai (Blue bull), Wild Boar, Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) and the world’s only four-horned antelope, the Chousingha.
The habitats here include woodlands, grasslands and rivers which are conducive for the thriving avifauna. Some of the key species include White Bellied Minivet, Painted Francolin, Painted and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Marshall’s Iora, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Rufous Fronted Prinia, Great Tit, Rufous-bellied and Yellow-eyed Babblers, Blackheaded Cuckooshrike, Black Hooded Oriole, Brown Capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Lesser Goldenback, and Plum Headed Parakeets to name a few. It’s also well known for the owls and birds of prey such as Mottled Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Eagle Owl, Spotted and Jungle Owlet, Bonelli’s Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Tawny Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle.
Post Breakfast, we depart for Jamnagar early in the morning. On arrival, we shall visit Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, a well-known site to spot the Indian Skimmer. It is also a popular nesting zone for many species of birds that do not breed anywhere else in peninsular India. Some of the highlights to look out for are Great-crested Grebe, Black-necked Stork, Caspian Tern apart from many others. We return to our hotel for dinner and rest.
On this day, we will visit the coastline along the Gulf of Kutch, which is a treasure trove for any birder. Here, we get a chance to see waders, gulls, terns such as Crab-Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Kentish plover, Oystercatcher, the stunning Ruddy Turnstone, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Pallas’ Gull, Temminck’s Stint, Lesser-Crested Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black-bellied Tern, Whiskered Tern, Darters, Western Reef Egret and other birds that we encounter on this route. We return to our accommodation for supper and a night’s rest.
In the morning, we will depart from Jamnagar and drive towards the Kutch peninsula passing a few pristine wetlands and scrubland for birding. On reaching our destination called Moti Virani, which takes approximately 6 Hours/ 310 Km, we will check-in at Cedo Camp.
After breakfast, we take an excursion to a village called Fulay. It is one of few sites in Gujarat where one can spot the elusive Grey Hypocolius and our primary objective is to scour the roosting site of this remarkable bird. Post lunch, we will tour the Banni region, which is hosts the country’s largest grassland, spread over an area of 2600 km. This enormous habitat enjoys great concentration birds of prey, in other words, it is the ideal raptor paradise to spot species such as the Long-legged Buzzard, Black-winged Kites, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles. It also has vultures such as the Red-Headed, Cinereous, Griffon, White Rumped apart from the Long-billed and Egyptian. In the drier reaches of the land, we have a great chance to spot Cream-coloured and Indian Coursers along with the rarely seen White Tailed Lapwing. Cranes such as the Sarus, Demoiselle and Common too throng here along with a wide array of waterfowl species in and around pools of water. We return to our accommodation after a productive day.
In the morning, along with a local naturalist, our excursion begins in Lala Bustard Sanctuary with a Morning and Afternoon Safari. We will keep our eyes peeled for the endangered Lesser Florican that breeds here, although the chances are slim as it is rarely seen beyond the monsoon during which as it springs above the vegetation to display. Some of the other notable highlights include White-browed Bushchat, White-naped Tit and Rufous-fronted Prinia in the thorn forests of Phot Mahadev, Marshall’s Iora, Grey-necked Bunting, Indian and Cream-colored Coursers, Red-tailed Wheatear, Southern Grey Shrike, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, various waterfowl in Banni’s Chhari Dhand, and a variety of gulls and waders in the Jakhau mangrove swamps and Pingleshwar coastline. The mammals of the region include the coveted Desert Cat, Chinkara or Indian Gazelle, Long-eared and Pallas’s Hedgehogs, and Indian Desert Jird. After an eventful day, we return to our accommodation at Cedo Camp.
On this day, we depart Moti Virani in the morning and head east to the Little Rann of Kutch which should take us roughly 7 hours/ 385 Km. On arrival, we will check in to our lodge followed by dinner and rest. The Little Rann of Kutch is a marvellous, seemingly empty vast land of Salt flats. But don’t let the looks of this barren like land fool you as it is teeming with wildlife. There are enough sources of water in the area to attract a majority of migratory birds and water birds such as the Lesser Flamingos that travel from the African Subcontinent. Along, with them are there bigger relatives, which are the Greater Flamingos. One can even see Pelicans of the Dalmatian and the White. The place also exhibits an excellent medley of raptors, wheatears and larks.
Demoiselle Cranes also flood the land with their presence. In addition to these species, here we have, Spoonbills, the Yellow Wattled Lapwing, and the Sociable Lapwing, the Indian Courser, a variety of duck species, White-eyed Buzzards, Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse, Booted Eagles and Common Buzzards. Over here, we will also keep a lookout for the elusive Macqueen’s Bustard.
Another gem of an animal that we find here is the Indian Wild Ass which is endemic to this region. There are also sights of Golden Jackals, Striped Hyena, Grey Wolf and Jungle and Asiatic Wild Cat.
Morning & Afternoon birding excursions in the Little Rann of Kutch for the next couple of days.
On our final day, we drive towards Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary with our packed breakfast. The time taken to reach our destination is 4 Hours/ 142 Km. Nalsarovar which is a shallow lake that occurs over a flat, extensive low-lying stretch of land in Gujarat. The area of the lake is about 115 sq. km. More than 250 species of birds may be seen here, including large species of waterfowl. These include local residents and winter migrants. A wide array of waterfowl includes flamingos, pelicans, storks, ducks, egrets and herons that throng at the lake in winter. Kingfishers and darters also make themselves feel very much at home here. We may stumble upon cormorants fishing in the lake with their dagger-like beaks or snipes and godwits probing in the mud for food. Jacanas, Moore Hens, grebes, coots, and partaking in a mass feeding frenzy. Post our excursion, we will drive to Ahmedabad. Lunch and stay at a hotel in Ahmedabad. The rest of the day is at leisure.
In the morning, after breakfast, we will proceed to the Domestic Airport for our onward flight to New Delhi. Our tour ends here. You can either check in to a hotel for another night’s stay or fly onwards to your destination.