The wonderfully diverse nation of India is well-known for its verdant landscapes and the snow-capped Himalayas. It therefore surprises many people to learn that India is also blessed with some incredible deserts, and our tour showcases this much-underrated habitat by exploring some of India’s less frequented parks and reserves in the county’s dry, western parts. Desert National Park, Tal Chappar and the Great and Little Ranns of Kutch are amongst the most important of the protected areas of western India and we will visit all of them.  We will also pay a visit to the more verdant Mt Abu. 

Along the way we are going to see some of the most threatened and rare birds not only of India but of the whole world. Species we are searching for include the Great Indian Bustard which sadly teeters on the brink of extinction, the almost equally rare White-browed Bush Chat, along with Indian Spotted Creeper, Yellow-eyed Pigeon, Green Avadavat, Sociable Lapwing, Macqueen’s Bustard, White-naped Tit and Marshall’s Iora. We also stand a great chance at picking up two of the more difficult monotypic families in the world, namely Crab-Plover and Grey Hypocolius. The general birding is excellent with lots of breeding specialties supplemented by vast numbers of overwintering northern migrants including famous congregations of cranes, impressive flocks of waterfowl and waders and several interesting passerines. Mammals are yet another interesting feature of this trip and along the way we can expect to see Blackbuck, Indian Gazelle, and Indian Wild Ass amongst others!


Top Birds

Great Indian & Macqueen’s Bustards; Grey Hypocolius; Crab-plover; huge numbers of Demoiselle & Common Cranes; Dalmation & Spot-billed Pelicans; Green Avadavat; Indian Spotted Creeper; Sociable Lapwing; Indian Courser; Red-headed, Cinereous & White-rumped Vultures; Eastern Imperial Eagle; White-eyed Buzzard; Laggar Falcon; Painted, Spotted & Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse; Sykes’s & Savanna Nightjars; White-naped & Indian Black-lored Tits; Marshall’s Iora; Brown Rock Chat; Pied & White-browed Bush Chats; Bimaculated, Rufous-tailed & Sykes’s Larks; Desert Whitethroat; Bay-backed Shrike; Rufous-fronted Prinia; Eastern Orphean & Asian Desert Warblers.

Top Mammals

Asiatic Wild Ass; Blackbuck; Nilgai; Chinkara (Indian Gazelle); with chances for Golden & Grey Wolves; Bengal and the desert subspecies of Red Fox; Striped Hyena; Jungle & Wild Cats.

Habitats Covered

semi-desert scrub, salt-flats, seasonal wetlands, grassland, scrubland, dry deciduous forest, coastline

Expected Climate

warm during the day, with cooler nights and cold to very mornings

Max Group Size

8 with 1 Rockjumper leader & local birding leader

Tour Pace & Walking

target orientated, some very long drives / travel days


mostly good, basic but comfortable around Zainabad

Ease of Birding

mostly unchallenging

Photographic Opportunities

very good

What our clients say about us

Clayton Burne
PWN, India 2013

Clayton was friendly, informative and fun.... Very athletic and cheerful. Find him to be a wonderful guide.

David Erterius
FH, Southern India

I thought David was an excellent guide. He certainly knows his birds and was very passionate and I also found him to be very keen to discuss birds and pass on knowledge; I enjoyed being able to share his passion. I also found him to be friendly and I had the impression that he was always trying to make sure that the group was generally satisfied. He was certainly very thorough at making sure that everybody had seen all the birds.

David Erterius
CH, Northern India II 2014

RBT has landed a rising young star in the bird guide business; his temperament is a hidden asset…yes, he knows the birds well, but the manner in which he carries out his day-to-day duties and responsibilities as leader in a foreign land instills confidence, calm and discipline, without losing focus or patience. We enjoyed traveling with him and will look to his future trips for our travel.

David Hoddinott
CH, India 2018

David Hoddinott is simply outstanding: Calm, focused, truly excellent knowledge of the birds, their calls and habits. He has a wonderful sense of humour, too.

David Erterius
KT, Birds & Tigers I

David Erterius is an absolute delight. Our group was unanimous in its respect for his exceptional birding skills, tirelessness, even temper and sense of humour. I especially appreciated that he always let us know what the plans were, and was most considerate of our needs (birds and otherwise), and our comfort. I look forward to an opportunity to travel with him again.

India - Western: Desert Specials 2024

24 Jan 2024 - 05 Feb 2024 (13 days)

USD4,395 - 4 Spaces Available


Tour Leader: Dušan Brinkhuizen

Tour price (Per person): USD4,395 * GBP3,618 * EUR4,162 * AUD6,886

Single Supplement: USD620 * GBP510 * EUR587 * AUD971

Flight costs: USD390 * GBP321 * EUR369 * AUD611

Can be linked with: India - Western: Forest Owlet Extension 2024

India - Western: Desert Specials 2025

17 Feb 2025 - 01 Mar 2025 (13 days)

USD5,000 - Spaces Available


Tour Leader: André Bernon

Pricing notes : *Prices are estimated and dates may change*

Tour price (Per person): USD5,000 * GBP4,116 * EUR4,735 * AUD7,834

Can be linked with: India - Western: Forest Owlet Extension 2025

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Route Map

Tour Route Map