Home > 8 of the World’s Best Bird Watching Holidays

Bird watching holidays are one of the most popular wildlife experiences offered by tour operators and companies listed within the Blue Sky Wildlife collection.

Bird watching holidays and tours range from simply relaxing at an eco lodge or retreat, a short trek and tropical birding tour into a rainforest close by, to 30-day mega bird tours.

Why watch birds?

With no other creature has our relationship been so constant, so varied, so enriched by symbol, myth, art and science, and so contradictory as that with birds. Since earliest record, birds have served as symbols of peace and war, as subjects of art, as objects for study and for ‘sport’. Birds and their eggs range from the most exotic to the commonplace: the food on our table. Their command of our imagination is not surprising because they are astonishing creatures, most notably for their versatility, their diversity, their flight and their song.

Birds are conspicuous and are found everywhere. We find Snowy Owls within the Arctic Circle and sandgrouse in the deserts of the Middle East, the White-winged Diuca Finch at the highest elevations of the Peruvian Andes, Emperor Penguins diving hundreds of metres beneath Antarctic seas, parrots in the rainforest of Brazil and Ostriches in the arid plains of Southern Africa.

These highly mobile creatures are travellers of the long-distance and short. Some birds, like the Nicobar Pigeon in Indonesia, move incessantly from island to island, while others are master navigators, travelling phenomenal distances. The Sooty Shearwater migrates from New Zealand to the coast of Japan, the Arctic Tern migrates from the Farne Islands to the Antarctic and the Rufous Hummingbird migrates from Alaska to Mexico.

Furthermore, birds please the eye. Little in nature is more extravagant than the Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise, more subtly beautiful than the Evening Grosbeak, more stylish than the Horned Sungem or more improbable than the Javan Frogmouth. All these qualities seem to have provoked wonder and a sense of mystery since the dawn of human existence.

Blue Sky Wildlife has numerous bird watching holidays that allow you to admire these various qualities.

Click on the “View all listings” link below to view the complete collection of birding tours and holidays on offer prior to contacting the relevant tour operator and company directly.

Here are 8 of the world’s best Bird Watching Holidays to consider:

1). Manú National Park, Peru

Stake out a clay lick at Manú National Park and you may be treated to a multi-coloured melee of macaws as hundreds flock to the riverbank for their daily nibble of mineral salts. Scarlet, Blue-and-Yellow and Red-and-Green species are often seen amongst the 1000 species that occur in just 15,000 square kilometres. Green Tours do an incredible 18-day bird watching journey to the heart of the Amazonian lowlands of South Peru. The tour includes guided bird tours to Machu Picchu and its fantastic birds, Polypepis woodlands, the montane humid forests of the Manú Andean foothills, the incredibly diverse pristine forests of Manú National Park and the famous Macaw Clay Lick.

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Macaws - Green Tours Peru - Blue Sky WildlifePhoto credit: Green Tours Peru, Macaws

2). Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

As well as Giant Tortoises and Marine Iguanas, the Galápagos Islands hold American Flamingos and seabird colonies with confiding Waved Albatrosses, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Blue-footed, Red-footed and Nazca Boobies, Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds, as well as Swallow-tailed Gulls. Over twenty endemic bird species include Galápagos Penguin, Flightless Cormorant and several mockingbirds and finches. Join Elm Wildlife Tours for the ultimate combination of Andes and wildlife with a 25-day ‘Peru and Darwin’s discovery’ bird watching holiday. You will start with an exciting week of acclimatisation in Arequipa, Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. Then it’s off on the ancient Inca Trail for the trek of a lifetime. After that submerge yourself in the wildlife heaven of the Galápagos Islands. 

3). Sinharaja Forest, Sri Lanka

This reserve is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the noisy Orange-billed Babbler. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the twenty rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Sri Lanka bird watching tour operator Walk With Jith will endeavour to show travellers more than 200 birds including all the endemics. This is one of the best Sri Lanka guided bird tours you will find at an attractive competitive price.

Sri Lanka Bird Watching HolidayPhoto credit: Prasanjith Caldera, Walk With Jith, Red-faced Malkoha

4). Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Taking into account its small size, Uganda is Africa’s richest country for birds. Over a thousand bird species have been recorded and it is possible to see half of them in just a fortnight, including some of Africa’s and the world’s most spectacular, not least the African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, African Grey Parrot, Great Blue Turaco and Hamerkop. Birding in Paradise Safaris do 8-day Uganda bird watching holiday that will take you to Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Parks. Lake Mburo National Park itself is home to 320 bird species and 68 mammal species, all of which can be found on a game drive.

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Uganda Birding TourPhoto credit: Livingstone African Safaris, Saddle-billed Stork

5). Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Colombia has over 1900 species of bird, more than any other country in the world, with over 25 endemics in the Santa Marta region alone makes it a fantastic destination for bird watching travel. Manakin Nature Tours run popular 16-day bird watching tours in Colombia to the Magdalena Valley and Santa Marta Mountains. The lowlands of the Magdalena Valley are the perfect habitat to see over 500 different species. Visit the Santa Marta Mountains and this trip will increase your wish list providing the opportunity to see amazing species. You will visit other fantastic ecosystems such as the Guajira Peninsula, where you will see birds limited only to these Colombian dry forest locations.

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Photo credit: Chris Calonje, Colombia Birdwatch, Santa Marta Mountains

6). Doñana National Park, Spain

The superb setting of the marismas of the Doñana National Park is home to 127 species of breeding bird. Wild Doñana offer bird tours to both the northern and southern halves of the park. Northern Doñana birding is one of the best bird watching holidays in Spain and Spoonbill Trips has designed brilliant guided bird watching tours to produce an extensive bird list and focus on a number of special species located in this region. The other Doñana birding tour will take you to the south where you will visit the Asperillo, a scrubland on old dunes, to look for warblers. Then the tour will go close to the river La Rocina which enters the ‘Marsh Mother’ at El Rocio, an astonishing birding spot when it is wet.

Western Doñana Walking TripPhoto credit: Wild Doñana, European Bee-eater

7). Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia

Letaka Safaris run a 13-day ‘Bats and Birds’ bird watching holiday which is an annual pilgrimage to northern Zambia to find the bizarre Shoebill and experience the natural phenomenon of ten million migrating Straw-coloured Fruit Bats. The safari starts with the spectacular Victoria Falls, before heading northwards into Zambia towards the remote wilderness areas of Zambia’s great north. The tour is timed to coincide with the arrival of the African Pitta and the fruit bats, as well as the end of the breeding season of the Shoebill. Expect to record 400 plus species during a tour whose highlights include Victoria Falls, Zambia’s vast Miombo woodlands, Kasanka National Park, Bangweulu Swamps and Mutinondo Wilderness.

Photo credit: Grant Reed, Letaka Safaris, Shoebill

Further Reading

8). Caprivi Strip, Namibia

The Caprivi Strip is by far the “birdiest” part of this otherwise predominantly dry country, with many birds present here but not elsewhere in Namibia. Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris do an epic 19-day road trip and bird watching tour that takes one through the heart of Namibia, into the Caprivi Strip, Botswana’s Okavango Panhandle region, finishing at Victoria Falls, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. The bird list is bound to be massive, while the mammal list is sure to be impressive too.

Montiero's HornbillPhoto credit: Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris, Montiero’s Hornbill

Are you interested in a bird watching holiday?

Click on the “View all listings” link below to view the complete collection of birding holidays and tours on offer prior to contacting the relevant tour operator and company directly.