Birding Tour India: The West – Forest Owlet Extension
Dates and Costs
26 February – 01 March 2021
Price: US$1,195 / £906 / €1,052 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants.
Single Supplement: US$198 / £150 / €174
* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.
24 – 27 February 2022
Price: US$1,315 / £998 / €1,158 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants.
Single Supplement: US$218 / £166 / €192
23 – 26 February 2023
Price: US$1,445 / £1,096 / €1,273 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants.
Single Supplement: US$240 / £182 / €211
Duration: 4 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: Mumbai
Tour End: Mumbai
All accommodation (as described above)
Meals (from lunch on day 1 until breakfast on day 4)
Drinking water – two bottles of mineral water per day per person from our tour vehicle, please
bring a refillable water bottle (if taken from the hotel this will be at your own cost)
Expert tour leader
Local bird and wildlife guide fees
National park/birdwatching reserve entrance fees
All ground transport and tolls while on tour, including airport pick-up and drop-off
Flights to/from Mumbai International Airport
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts, laundry, internet access, phone calls, etc.
Optional tours (e.g. monument entrance fees and associated additional travel expenses)
Any pre- or post-tour accommodation, meals, or birding/sightseeing/monument excursions
Camera (still/video) permits
Personal travel insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)
Featured Guide:Andrew Walker
Malabar Grey Hornbill
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Brown Fish Owl
Tawny Fish Owl
Birding Tour India: The West – Forest Owlet Extension
On this short (four-day) tour we will look for the enigmatic and highly sought Forest Owlet near Mumbai. Discovered in 1872, with six specimens collected until 1884, the species was then not seen again until 1997, a full 113 years later! Over the last 23 years the bird has since been discovered in three Indian states: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra (where we will be looking for it). The population of this endemic bird is considered low and globally threatened with less than 999 birds; the species is considered ‘Endangered’ by BirdLife International and IUCN.
Forest Owlet went ‘missing’ for over 100 years. Luckily, since its rediscovery you can now go and look for it with us (photo G. Adhikari).
The lush deciduous forest in which we will be birding for the Forest Owlet is at the northern tip of the Western Ghats mountain range and is therefore also home to many other interesting and localized species. During our stay in the area we also hope to find some of the following species: Malabar Trogon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Blue-winged (Malabar) Parakeet, Red Spurfowl, Indian Grey Hornbill, Jungle Bush Quail, Jerdon’s Leafbird, White-cheeked Barbet, White-spotted Fantail, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Mottled Wood Owl, Jungle Owlet, Indian Scops Owl, White-bellied Drongo, and Vigor’s Sunbird. However, with our limited time here and with our main focus being on the owlet one should not necessarily expect to see all of the above!
This short extension has been designed to run after our exciting Birding Tour India: The Northwest – Lions and Desert Birding in Gujarat or before our equally exciting and very different Birding Tour India: The Northeast – Spectacular Birds and Mammals. We have several other tours in India, which all combine to give you an incredible range of birding and wildlife-watching options in this wonderful country. See the full range of our Indian tours here.
We can also arrange this trip to fit before or after any of our other India tours, though the costs for this may vary from the costs provided for the dates given here.
Itinerary (4 days/3 nights)
Day 1. Arrival in Mumbai and travel to the Tansa area
After your morning arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, either as an international arrival or if coming from our Birding Tour India: The Northwest – Lions and Desert Birding in Gujarat, we will meet for lunch near the airport. After lunch we will commence our journey to the Tansa area, a couple of hours to the northeast of Mumbai, where, time permitting, we will start our search for the main target bird of this tour, Forest Owlet (which is a diurnal species, in the Athene genus).
Overnight: Tansa area
Day 2. Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary
We will spend the full day birding within and around the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, where we will look, primarily, for Forest Owlet. The deciduous forest in which we will be birding also holds numerous birds that warrant looking for, such as several Western Ghats specialties at the northernmost tip of their ranges, namely Red Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, Malabar Trogon, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Vigors’s Sunbird, and Blue-winged (Malabar) Parakeet.
Malabar Trogon occurs in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, and we will look for this stunning species while searching for Forest Owlet.
We will also likely see a number of more-widespread Indian species in the forest, such as Jerdon’s Leafbird, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Grey Hornbill, Black-rumped Flameback, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Alexandrine Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Rufous Treepie, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Indian Roller, Indian Golden Oriole, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Mottled Wood Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Jungle Owlet, Spotted Owlet, Indian Nightjar, Savanna Nightjar, Jungle Nightjar, and Crested Treeswift. It is certain to be a great day.
Overnight: Tansa area
Blue-winged (formerly Malabar) Parakeet is a southern endemic at the northern limit of its range here.
Day 3. Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary to Mumbai
The morning will be spent birding within and around the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, hopefully getting further views of Forest Owlet or some of the other species listed above. After lunch we will transfer back to Mumbai, where we will have our final group evening meal of this short trip.
Day 4. Departure from Mumbai
Departure from Mumbai, either international departure for home or to New Delhi in order to join our Birding Tour India: The Northeast – Spectacular Birds and Mammals.
Overnight: Not included
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.
I had an awesome two weeks’ trip in northern India in January 2016 with Andy Walker of Birding Ecotours. Total bird species seen by the group was 401. Highly recommended for life birds, “collecting” bird families and beautiful scenery. Some highlights included: Hill Partridge, Painted Spurfowl, Koklass and Cheer Pheasants, Black Bittern, Himalayan Vulture, Sarus Crane, Barred Buttonquail, Ibisbill, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Indian Courser, Painted Sandgrouse, Sirkeer Malkoha, Crested Treeswift, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Himalayan Flameback, Collared Falconet with prey (Cinereous Tit), Chestnut-headed Tesia, Striated Laughingthrush, White-rumped Shama, White-tailed Rubythroat, Golden Bush Robin, Brown Dipper, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Crested Bunting and Altai Accentor. The group total also included 10 owls and 17 woodpeckers, all seen.
Lisl van Deventer — Pretoria, South Africa