India: birds, mammals and the Taj Mahal


Dates: 9-21 February 2025
Price: £3,295 including estimated international flights £600 (single room supplement £420)
Deposit: £600

Combining the world-famous Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with the spectacular Ranthambore National Park (home to a completely different avifauna and Tigers), this tour to Rajasthan offers many potential highlights. Some of the superb birds that we hope to see include Indian Courser, Sarus Crane, Indian Skimmer, Sri Lankan Frogmouth, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Vulture and Tickell's Blue Flycatcher. We will also visit the unique Taj Mahal, the Red Fort in Agra, the city of Jaipur and take a boat trip on the Chambal River.

We fly into Delhi and transfer to our accommodation for a week of exploring the amazing Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Originally used for hunting by the Maharajas, these days it is a reserve that attracts and protects many thousands of waterbirds. We can expect to encounter around 100 species in a day, and should see huge Sarus Cranes and several species of stork wandering through flocks of Bar-headed and Greylag Geese, numerous duck species, a fine selection of waders and both Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas. The concentration of waterfowl attracts up to 10 species of eagle, including Crested Serpent Eagle, and Bonelli's, Eastern Imperial, Greater Spotted, Indian Spotted, Steppe and Tawny Eagles, while the most regular vulture is now Red-headed Vulture. Most species of owl and nightjar can be seen at their daytime roosts and target species include Dusky Eagle-Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl, Spotted Owlet and Large-tailed Nightjar. There will be plenty of passerines to look for too and we will aim to track down classic Asian specialities including Orange-headed Thrush, the beautiful Small Minivet and the much-desired Siberian Rubythroat. 

Next, we transfer to Chambal for a two-night stay. En route we will visit both the spectacular Taj Mahal and the Red Fort in Agra. We will then spend a day around the Chambal River area, which includes a relaxing and bird-filled boat trip on the river. This will give us the opportunity to get close views of Black-bellied and River Terns, Indian Skimmers and many other waterside birds including Great Stone-curlew and Sand Lark. Additionally, we should see both of the Indian subcontinent's crocodiles – Muggar and Gharial – and there is also the possibility of seeing the endangered Ganges River Dolphin.

Finally, we will transfer to Ranthambore. This is another former hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur. We have a good chance of seeing a Tiger during our stay, and may also find a Leopard or Sloth Bear. This is a spectacular reserve comprising deep ravines and steep cliffs with thorn and dry deciduous forests, all overlooked by an impressive 11th-century fortress. The different habitat types here will provide us with a new range of bird species to look for. Highlights may include Indian Peafowl, Alexandrine and Plum-headed Parakeets, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Large Cuckooshrike, Rufous Treepie, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Roller, Indian Grey Hornbill and Greater Coucal. Good numbers of raptors are also here and we will keep a watchful eye out for Crested Honey Buzzard, White-eyed Buzzard, White-rumped Vulture and Black Eagle, while Shikras sit inconspicuously close to the tracks. We may find a roosting Brown Fish Owl and will try to see Savanna Nightjar one evening.

We return to Delhi via a tour of Jaipur, birding en route, in preparation for our return flight to London the following day.


More info

This tour is operated for Birdwatch and BirdGuides by Birdfinders, which is fully compliant with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. Price includes return scheduled flights between the UK and Delhi, accommodation in twin-bedded rooms, all meals including packed lunches, all transport in India, entrance fees to parks, still camera fees (video cameras are extra) and guiding services throughout. Excluded are insurance, visas, alcoholic drinks, gratuities and items of a purely personal nature.

For more information or to make a reservation: