Discover India's versatility
When one thinks of India, it is sure to send a kaleidoscope of images racing through the mind’s eye: delicious cuisine, captivating cultural dances, stunning traditional garments and a history rich with religious influences.
What most people tend to miss, though, is India’s outlandish natural beauty. Trying to list every habitat you can find in India would be folly, but this naturally rich country offers scenes unspoilt and untouched.
Southern India is a land of endless valleys, breath taking highland vistas, roadside temples and shrines, and rolling hills and grasslands. This scenery not only pleases the eye, but also plays host to a range of highly localised endemic birds, along with some truly special mammals. Just some of the top birds here include the odd-looking Sri Lanka Frogmouth, the gorgeous Indian Pitta, exquisite Malabar Trogon and the scarce White-bellied Minivet. Amongst the special mammals are Indian Elephant, Gaur (Indian Bison) and Smooth-coated Otter.
North India stands in a league of its own when it comes to beauty. Whether you are enjoying the staggering views of unbroken forests with the backdrop of the Himalayas, or marvelling at the architectural complexities of the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib), one cannot help but be left in a pure state of awe. The beauty of this region is only aggrandised by its list of birds. Sarus Crane, the monotypic Wallcreeper, Painted Sandgrouse and a litany of pheasants are just a few special birds that highlight an exploration of this area.
National Parks in India provide a prominent "stepping stone" for seeing some of the country’s most desirable birds and animals.
North-eastern India is a stronghold for a wealth of varied habitats. From lush broad-leaved forests and vast wetlands to mixed woodlands, grasslands and lower altitude forests, as well as beautiful swathes of montane and hill forests and boulder-strewn Himalayan rivers. The birds in the area stun the mind, and just a handful of specials here include the recently discovered Temminck’s Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, incredible Grandala, Snow Partridge, the gaudy Blood Pheasant and the dazzling Fire-tailed Myzornis.
Ranthambore’s rich woods, chaurs and dry thickets offer some excellent birding. Resplendent Indian Peafowl, uncommon White-naped Woodpecker, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher and Black-rumped Flameback are just a few of the avian possibilities here. However, the quality of birds here maybe be outshone by only one thing: the mythical Bengal Tiger – this is one of the best places to see this spectacularly powerful cat!
The world-famous waterbird sanctuary of Bharatpur offers wetlands that are literally brimming with waterfowl, pelicans, herons, storks, cranes, waders, raptors and even migrant passerines.
Along with this, the park’s arid Acacia-dominated woodland and dry grasslands are home to Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, localised Marshall’s Iora, Indian Silverbill, Red-breasted Flycatcher and even Siberian Rubythroat.
Even though not every National Park will receive a mention, it would be remiss not to mention India’s newest: the Great Himalayan National Park. This park remains virtually unexplored, holding vast tracts of wilderness and unbeatable scenery. A reason to visit the park is simply because it is one of the strongholds for Western Tragopan – arguably the most attractive and sought-after of all the pheasants. According to local legend, the Western Tragopan was created by using the most beautiful and colourful feather of each bird in the universe!
The biggest thing that makes India such an awesome birding hotspot, is that wherever you go – north or south, east or west – there will always be something new for you to see. This magnificent place will truly never provide a dull moment!
Experience Nature in India with our partner Rockjumper Birding Tours.