EAST INDIA: The Andaman Islands
A 5-day birding tour that focuses on the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago endemics available on the easily accessible tropical idyll of South Andaman Island.
Our tour is an enjoyable exploration of the easily accessible island of South Andaman, the third largest island in the Andaman and Nicobar chain. Swathed in tropical forest, this archipelago of more than 500 remote islands forms part of a submarine mountain range extending from Myanmar to Sumatra, dividing the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The considerable number of endemic species they hold have evolved out of sheer isolation, and with only very few islands inhabited they are afforded considerable protection due to inaccessibility and the extensive cover of natural vegetation. On South Andaman, we will focus on the 21 of 30 Andaman and Nicobar endemics and near-endemics available in the coastal rainforests and mangroves of this tropical island paradise, including Andaman Crake, Andaman Teal, Andaman Woodpecker and Andaman Boobook. These islands still retain affinities to Myanmar, to which they were once connected, and among the rich and varied avifauna we’ll also find several species, such as Mangrove Whistler and Asian Glossy Starling, more commonly associated with Southeast Asia than India.
Enjoyable relaxed yet productive birding in an idyllic tropical island setting.
Realistic chances of 21 Andaman and Nicobar endemics available on South Andaman, including Andaman Teal, Andaman Crake, Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Cuckooshrike, Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, Andaman Treepie, Andaman Boobook, Hume's Boobook, Andaman Masked-Owl, Andaman Scops Owl and Walden's Scops Owl.
An interesting selection of birds more usually associated with Southeast Asia, such as Mangrove Whistler, Pied Imperial Pigeon and Asian Glossy Starling.
Day 1: Arrive Port Blair, South Andaman
Arrivals into Port Blair airport this morning. Port Blair will be our base for a four-night stay on South Andaman, and this afternoon we can expect a good introduction to the islands’ more widespread birds, such as Dusky Warbler, Long-tailed Parakeet, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Pacific Reef-Heron, a selection of waders and our first endemic, perhaps Andaman Drongo or Andaman White-headed Starling.
Days 2-4: South Andaman, Mount Harriet, Chidiya Tapu and more
We have three full days to explore further afield. North of Port Blair, the dense tropical rainforest of Mount Harriet National Park hosts most if not all of island’s available endemics, including Andaman Treepie, Andaman Shama and Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, and in the evenings we hope to locate Andaman Nightjar, Andaman and Hume’s Boobooks, Andaman Scops Owl and the endemic 'Walden's' race of Oriental Scops Owl. We will also visit the coastal rainforest of Chidiya Tapu to the south, looking for endemic Andaman Serpent-Eagle, Andaman Woodpecker and the elusive Andaman Crake. Elsewhere on the island, mangrove-lined creeks, marshes and flooded fields host Andaman Teal, Long-toed Stint, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Ruddy and Collared Kingfishers, Chinese Pond-Heron, Mangrove Whistler.
Day 5: Depart Port Blair
Departures from Port Blair by midday.