Our India birding and wildlife tour takes in Ranthambore National Park, where we search for the mythical Bengal Tiger, undoubtedly one of the greatest tiger tours in India and greatest wildlife experiences on earth! Other game abounds and we stand reasonable chances of observing Leopard, Sloth Bear and Dhole (Asian Wild Dog). The rich woods, chaurs and dry thickets of this scenically stunning park also offer excellent birding and species we will look for include Red Junglefowl and the resplendent Indian Peafowl, the uncommon White-naped Woodpecker, Black-rumped Flameback, Indian Scops Owl, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Crested Serpent-Eagle, migratory Long-tailed Shrike, Common Iora, White-bellied Drongo, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher that can often be located by its sweet song given from dense bamboo patches, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Small Minivet, the active White-browed Fantail, both Pale-billed and Thick-billed Flowerpeckers, Grey-breasted Prinia, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, and the endemic Painted Sandgrouse.
We visit the world-famous waterbird sanctuary of Bharatpur. From our fabulously luxurious hotel, we walk around the jam-packed wetlands that teem with waterfowl, pelicans, herons, storks, cranes, raptors, waders and migrant passerines. Some of the species we will look for include Sarus Crane (the world’s tallest flying bird), Red-crested Pochard, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Painted and Black-necked Storks, Asian Openbill, Black Bittern, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas and migratory White-tailed Lapwing. The marshy edges also attract migrant passerines such as Bluethroat, Blyth’s and Clamorous Reed Warblers, and Western Yellow, Citrine, Pied and White-browed Wagtails. Raptors are especially well represented at Bharatpur and include Eastern Imperial, Greater Spotted, Steppe and occasionally Golden and Indian Spotted Eagles, Egyptian Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier and Laggar Falcon. We will also search the park’s arid Acacia dominated woodland and dry grasslands for Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Indian Grey Hornbill, Greater Coucal, Oriental Skylark, Brahminy Starling, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Indian Silverbill, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Siberian Rubythroat, to name but a few. Nightbirds may include Dusky Eagle-Owl, Spotted Owlet and Large-tailed and Indian Nightjars.
The fabulous Taj Mahal allows us to marvel at the elegance of its design and the immense numbers of intricately carved and inlaid semi-precious stones that adorn its walls. We also visit the fabled Agra Red Fort that serves as a monumental reminder of the region’s fascinating history. A boat trip down the Chambal River, one of the last strongholds of the strange Gangetic Dolphin and Indian Skimmer. Other river specialists here include Black-bellied and River Terns, Dalmatian Pelican, Small Pratincole, River Lapwing and the bizarre Gharial. During our times in the Himalayan foothills, we explore the riches of Corbett Tiger Reserve. This scenically spectacular area affords some thrilling birding with excellent chances for Tawny and Brown Fish Owl, Pallas’s and Lesser Fish Eagles, Crested Honey Buzzard, Red Junglefowl, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, White-rumped Spinetail, Crested Treeswift, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Lineated and Brown-headed Barbets, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Rufous and Grey Treepies, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, beautiful White-crested Laughingthrush, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, stunning Rufous-bellied Niltava, Long-tailed Minivet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Wallcreeper, 3 species of elegant forktails, skulking wren-babblers and bird flocks often containing over 30 species!
Having ascended to the welcoming hill station of Nainital in the lofty Himalayas, we bird amidst endless forested vistas and towering snowcaps. Here we will seek pine forest specialities that include Kalij and Koklass Pheasants, Black-headed Jay, no less than five species of exciting Zoothera thrushes, the lovely Golden Bush Robin, Nepal Wren-Babbler, Chestnut-headed Tesia and much, much more. In Delhi we explore the surroundings of Okhla Island and the Yamuna River where we will enjoy the host of ducks, geese, gulls and waders on offer, in addition to new species such as Striated Grassbird, Red Avadavat and the localised White-tailed Stonechat.
This fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable birding and wildlife tour of Northern India is taken at a leisurely pace and its multi-faceted birding, wildlife and cultural focus means it can be enjoyed by both birders and non-birders alike.
Sarus Crane, Koklass Pheasant, Nepal Wren-Babbler, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Long-billed Thrush, Little Forktail, Painted Sandgrouse, Black Bittern, Dalmation Pelican, Indian Skimmer, Chesnut-headed Tesia, White-throated Bushchat
Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Hog Deer, Gangetic Dolphin, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat
wetlands, teak woodlands, rivers, sal (oak & rhododendron) forests, dry acacia woodlands
cool to mild in lowlands, cold in Himalayan foothills with a chance of snowfall
Taj Mahal, Kosi, Chambal and Yamuna Rivers, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Himalayan scenery
What our clients say about tours to India
Dear Erik, Thanks for the trip report of a fantastic tour. Wow, what an experience and I am so glad we did it – most importantly with Rockjumper. Everything was taken care of and we moved smoothly from one place to the next with no problems (well none that we knew of!)
All the best!
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…
Both David and Rajveer were excellent guides. In fact, it seemed at times as though they were able to summon animals.
I just have to write and tell you how much I enjoyed the N. India trip and how superb the leaders are… You know that, you only have world class guides. The last two days made the trip ‘beyond expectations’ with the birds we saw in Saital… Erik and Rich worked so well together and both are so funny, such a great combination. I especially have to thank Rich for taking pictures for me: I can immediately tell which ones he took: they make clear memories that are memorable…. With much gratitude to RBT for bringing birds and mammals into my life.
We really enjoyed both tours. The leader, Stephan Lorenz, was very helpful and worked hard to make the birding trips a success. We appreciated the local guides on both trips as well. They were all very good at getting the job done and making it all enjoyable and seamless. We always feel we are in…
Clayton was friendly, informative and fun…. Very athletic and cheerful. Find him to be a wonderful guide.
We had a wonderful trip with Rich Lindie and Stephan Lorenz, and we would certainly be happy to travel with either of them again. They were both excellent with the birds, had a great sense of humour, and were helpful and patient when individuals required extra assistance. In addition to the birding, we enjoyed a…
David Hoddinott was at his best even on new grounds full of lifers.
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.
The Andaman Islands were a first for RockJumper and a first for David Hoddinott. It was an incredible experience and also exciting to share the first of all new endemics with David .
RBT guide, David Erterius, and local guide, Ansar Khan, were excellent! Their birding skills were off the charts, and were always mindful that all participants saw the bird whenever possible. They were a great team and always made sure that all went smoothly.
This was a great trip. A terrific itinerary and we saw lots of birds and we saw tigers at Ranthambhore and Corbett. Glen and [the local leader] were excellent guides—great spotting skills, and they made sure everyone saw the bird. The logistics worked very well because Glen and [the local leader] were a great team.
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.
David was an excellent leader with exceptional birding skills. He was very attentive and helpful in handling both the birding and the logistics. In addition to his birding and guiding skills, David is also very personable and easy to talk to. I would definitely go on another trip with him as a guide.
To David Hoddinott with many thanks. In my book, you are still the best guide I’ve ever birded with. Please give my regards to the office team. I am very proud to be part of the Rockjumper Family.
We loved Glen Valentine! Very skilled, and not defensive if we questioned an ID. Liked that he continued to call out even the common birds throughout the tour, which meant we got a chance to really study each species. Good sense of humor, and fun to bird with!
Greg de Klerk and David Erterius were great – super knowledgeable and really kind. You can tell that they both care about birds and their guests. I hope I can go on a Rockjumper tour with them again.
I just have to write and tell you how much I enjoyed the N. India trip and how superb the leaders are… Erik and Rich worked so well together and both are so funny, such a great combination…. With much gratitude to RBT for bringing birds and mammals into my life.
The entire tour was truly excellent. David is an outstanding, world-class bird guide, talented, able-bodied, friendly and courteous. I would definitely travel with him again.
This was my first Rockjumper trip. I definitely will be a repeat customer. The booking process was easy and painless. The transport and hotel logistics during the trip were flawless. David Hoddinott and Ansar Khan were excellent guides and worked diligently to make sure we saw as many birds as possible.
David Erterius has an amazing memory for birds and bird calls. Our group had a variety of skills and interests, and he did a good job of balancing photographer’s and birder’s needs. As a birder with limited spotting skills, I especially appreciated his ability to get many of the birds in the scope and to give me special help when I was having trouble seeing the bird.