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India Birding Tour in Northeast Region - 16 Days

India Birding Tour in Northeast Region
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Northeast Indian Birdwatching Tour

This 16-day India Birding Tour in Northeast Region (small-group) is a moderately paced trip available as a set departure (or available on request) focusing on the birds of the Brahmaputra floodplain and a range of altitudes in the Eastern Himalayas. Expect to see around 420 species of bird including numerous sought-after Eastern Himalayan specialties, plus approximately 20 mammals, during this Northeast India birdwatching tour.

This India Birding Tour takes us to the country’s richest birding area in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We explore a cross-section of elevations and habitats, from swamp forests and wetlands in the Brahmaputra Valley through dense montane rainforests at the border with Bhutan, to one of the highest motorable passes in the Himalayas. As well as providing superb birding, it offers superb encounters with several iconic Indian mammals in some of India’s best wildlife reserves.

Our birdwatching tour in India begins in the outskirts of Guwahati, where we will look for the range-restricted Greater Adjutant before moving on to Nameri National Park. Here, we will explore superb tracts of the sub-Himalayan forest looking for Abbott’s Babbler, Wreathed Hornbill and Pied Falconet, the elusive White-winged Duck in secluded forest pools, and Ibisbill along the Jia Bhorelli River.

Leaving Assam, we will drive up into the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh to the hill town of Dirang. From our base at Dirang, we’ll visit Sangthi Valley, where we will look for Black-tailed Crake and Long-billed plovers. We will also spend a day exploring a range of elevations and habitats along the Mandala Road, where an extensive list of potential Himalayan specialities comprises enticing species such as Fire-tailed Myzornis and Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler.  A highlight of the tour will be the morning we spend birding at Se La Pass, one of the highest accessible parts of the Himalayas, looking for high altitude birds including the stunning Grandala and Himalayan Monal.

We will spend the next five days birding at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, perhaps one of India’s best birdwatching sites. From the sanctuary jeep track, we will explore conifers, rhododendrons, subtropical broadleaf forest and bamboo, enjoying the incredible birdlife of primary forests that extend from mid-elevations down into the plains. Birding here will be immensely enjoyable and productive as we focus on some of the most sought-after birds of the Eastern Himalayas, including Ward’s Trogon, Himalayan Cutia, and the recently discovered (2006) Bugun Liocichla.

Finally, we return to the plains of Assam to spend our last few days birding at Kaziranga National Park. In the fertile grasslands and extensive wetlands that flank the Brahmaputra River, we will look for Bengal Florican, Striated Grassbird and Pied Harrier. As we explore the reserve from open jeeps, we will also encounter an abundance of iconic Indian mammals such as Indian Rhinoceros and Asian Elephant, with the chance of Tiger.

India Birding Tour in Northeast Region Highlights includes:

  • Experience spectacular birding in Northeast India, in the country’s richest birding area at the border with Bhutan.
  • Visit a wide variety of habitats, from the picturesque grasslands and swamp forest of the Brahmaputra floodplain to atmospheric, moss-draped montane rainforest in the Eastern Himalayas.
  • Drive up to one of the highest accessible passes in the entire Himalayan chain, in search of sought-after high-altitude Himalayan specialties.
  • Encounter an incredible diversity of species, with highlights that include numerous Eastern Himalayan birds and the mixed-species feeding flocks that sweep through mid-altitude forests.
  • Big cats and more - the chance of Bengal Tiger at Kaziranga National Park, plus Indian Rhinoceros, Asian Elephant, and a fine selection of smaller mammals.

Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry for your preferred dates, route, and tour refinements.

If you have a little more time to spend on your holiday, maybe you’d consider a longer North India Birding and Wildlife Tour like this one.

Alternative Tour Name: Northeast India: Assam Plains and the Eastern Himalayas
Day 1
Day 1 - Guwahati to Nameri National Park

Arrivals into Assam’s Guwahati airport this morning. We halt briefly on the outskirts of the city for Greater Adjutant before spending the remainder of the day driving northeast to Nameri for a three-night stay, with time for some late afternoon birding around our lodge.

Day 2
Days 2 & 3 - Nameri National Park

Two full days exploring Nameri. In these incredible and largely undisturbed sub-Himalayan forests, which we will explore on foot, we will go in search of Pied Falconet, exceptional numbers of Wreathed and Great Pied Hornbills, White-browed Piculet, Abbott’s Babbler and the elusive White-winged Duck in secluded forest pools. We will also explore the Jia Bhorelli River by rubber dinghy in search of overwintering Ibisbill and hope to locate Oriental Scops-owl and Brown Hawk-owl around our lodge after dusk.

Day 4
Day 4 - Nameri to Dirang

An early start for the journey north into Arunachal Pradesh and the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, making our way to the small town of Dirang at 1495m, our base for a three-night stay. Birding en-route as we make the transition from the plains into the hills will provide a tantalising introduction to the diversity of this region. We will encounter a good selection of the Himalayan specialities, such as Brown Dipper, Crested Kingfisher, Bhutan and Grey-sided Laughingthrushes, Pale-billed Parrotbill and a variety of warblers, yuhinas, tits and sunbirds.

Day 5
Days 5 & 6 - Dirang

From our base at Dirang we will visit three sites at a range of elevations, including nearby Sangthi Valley where we hope to encounter Black-tailed Crake and overwintering Long-billed Plovers. Further afield, we will spend a day along the Mandala Road which cuts through a succession of habitats from temperate broadleaf forests to rhododendron and birch scrub towards Mandala Pass (3200m).

The list of potential species here is extensive, with many birds associating in waves that sweep through the forest. Key among these will be Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Bar-winged Wren-babbler, Golden Bush-robin, Brown-throated Fulvetta, White-collared Blackbird, Spotted Nutcracker, and a selection of finches and parrotbills.

The highlight of our stay will be the morning spent at Se La. At 4176m the pass is one of the highest accessible parts of the Himalayas and hosts an array of unequivocal montane specialties in alpine meadows and barren scree slopes. We will search for some of the most enticing birds of the tour in this spectacular setting, including Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Snow Partridge, Solitary Snipe, Snow Pigeon, Grandala, Spotted Laughingthrush, Himalayan Beautiful and Himalayan White-browed Rosefinches, Plain Mountain Finch, and Alpine Accentor.

Day 7
Days 7 to 11 - Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary

Today, after a final few hours around Dirang, we make our way back south to Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary for a five-night stay. At Eaglenest, a jeep track winds it ways through the primary forests of the sanctuary from Eaglenest Pass (2780m) down as far as 750m in the foothills. This allows unrivalled access to the entire range of elevations and our nights will be divided between two tented camps at 2350m and 1940m to enable a thorough exploration of both the coniferous forest and rhododendrons of higher elevations and subtropical broadleaf forest and bamboo of the foothills.

Birding here is exceptional with an extensive list of potential species that includes some of the most sought-after Himalayan specialities, and birdlife will vary noticeably as we move between elevations. Among our key targets will be the recently (2006) discovered Bugun Liocichla, still known solely from this area. Possibilities include Temminck’s and Blyth’s Tragopans, Chestnut-breasted Hill-partridge, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bay Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Ward’s and Red-headed Trogons, Beautiful Nuthatch, Himalayan Cutia, Coral-billed Scimitar-babbler, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Scaly Thrush, Himalayan Thrush, a host of bamboo specialists such as Pale-headed Woodpecker, and an impressive selection of laughingthrushes, wren-babblers and flycatchers.

Day 12
Day 12 - Eaglenest to Kaziranga National Park

We spend a final few hours in the outskirts of Eaglenest before driving back south into Assam and east into the alluvial plains of the Brahmaputra basin to Kaziranga National Park for a four-night stay.

Day 13
Days 13 to 15 - Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga is dominated by fertile grasslands and extensive wetlands known as beels. Birding from jeeps, we will go in search of grassland specialists including Bengal Florican, Striated Grassbird and Finn’s Weaver among numerous waders and waterfowl such as Greater Painted-snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Grey-headed Lapwing, Bar-headed Goose and Ferruginous Duck, scanning in search of rarities such as Falcated Duck.

These will be complemented by a selection of passerines in small patches of mature woodland, such as Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Himalayan Rubythroat, and a great diversity of birds of prey, with Eastern Imperial Eagle, Pied Harrier and both Black and Jerdon’s Bazas all possible here. Large mammals are abundant, most notably including Indian One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian Elephant, and with the chance of Tiger.

Day 16
Day 16 - Kaziranga to Guwahati, depart Guwahati

Before leaving for Guwahati we will have time for some final birding in the tea estates adjacent to our lodge, where we will search for Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Common Green Magpie, Siberian Rubythroat and the elusive Blue-naped Pitta. Departures from Guwahati airport this afternoon.

Wildlife species expect to see: 

Birds: Greater Adjutant, Bengal Florican, White-winged Duck, small numbers of overwintering Ibisbill along the Jia Bhorelli River, Black-tailed Crake, Long-billed Plover, Solitary Snipe, Snow Partridge, Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Monal, the chance of elusive Temminck’s and Blyth’s Tragopans, Snow Pigeon, Grandala, recently split Alpine and Himalayan Thrushes in their associated elevations, Himalayan Rubythroat, Bugun Liocichla, Bhutan Laughingthrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Long-billed Wren-babbler, Rufous-throated Wren-babbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Spotted Elachura, Brown-throated Fulvetta, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Himalayan Cutia, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward’s Trogon and more widely distributed Red-headed Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill in the hills with large numbers of Wreathed Hornbills at Nameri National Park, various parrotbills including Brown, Black-throated and Pale-billed, Hoary-throated Barwing, Beautiful Sibia, Grey Sibia, a selection of flycatchers including Pale-chinned and White-gorgeted, a variety of tits, sunbirds, flowerpeckers and warblers in foothill feeding flocks, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, White-browed Piculet, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch, Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch, Himalayan Owl, Mountain Scops-Owl, Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Pied Falconet, Pied Harrier, Himalayan Griffon.

Mammals: Bengal Tiger, Indian Rhinoceros, Asian Elephant, Asiatic Wild Buffalo.

What is included?

  • Accommodation in comfortable wildlife lodges, hotels and tented camps (15 nights; double occupancy)
  • Single occupancy available at additional cost (ask us about single supplements)
  • All meals (lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 16)
  • Bottled and/or filtered drinking water throughout the tour
  • All ground transport throughout the tour, including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Services of a professional English-speaking bird guide
  • All birding and wildlife activities as specified within the tour itinerary (including all jeep/boat charges)
  • All entrance fees to national parks and reserves
  • Tour information, travel notes, and checklists
  • Cost of regional permits (for entry into Arunachal Pradesh)
  • All currently applicable taxes

What is not included?

  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Any flights, international or domestic
  • Drinks other than water, snacks
  • Any activities not mentioned in the tour itinerary, or those provided by lodges/hotels at extra cost
  • Camera fees
  • Items of a personal nature (such as laundry, telephone bills etc.)
  • Optional tour extensions (ask us if you would like to extend your holiday)
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Anything that is not included in "what is included"
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. Excellent choice
    Susan and Gordon McAdam
    5
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    We have travelled to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, North India (Corbett/ Pangot), North East India and Goa using India Nature to arrange custom tours on each occasion. All the tours have gone very smoothly and we have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. The guides who work with India Nature can be highly recommended as they are very knowledgeable and personable. It is also worth mentioning that the drivers who were part of our trips made allowances for people who may have had concerns regarding safety in difficult road conditions. All of those essential conditions aside the most important part of any birding trip is finding and seeing the birds (with mammals, reptiles, etc a bonus!). On all our tours we were able to find and see - mainly with excellent views - most of the species that are considered the key species for each trip. Also, the guides are superb at finding and identifying "skulkers" by call and, most importantly, getting those of us without the visual and hearing acuity onto the birds too! With regard to the North East Tour in particular there are some inconveniences due to the remoteness, particularly Eaglenest. However, we can guarantee that you will not regret your decision should you choose that trip. The birding is absolutely superb and your return to Kaziranga will round off an experience you will never forget with the bonus of the large mammals the park is famed for - and you might even get to see a Tiger. What's not to like?

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Why should I book with India Nature?

India Nature is a specialist travel company offering small group and private/custom bird tours and combined bird/wildlife holidays across India, all based around our own personal passions for birding and travel. We have been in operation for over a decade as India Nature, and beyond this have over 20 years of field, tour, and hospitality experience both within India and internationally. Concentrating on the destinations we ourselves know well, our tours are thoroughly researched and planned. We take great satisfaction from making sure you have a great time enjoying memorable wildlife experiences, and pride ourselves in our high level of repeat custom and personal recommendations. Between us, we personally handle all enquiries and are always available to offer advice so feel free to get in touch!

What is the group size of small group scheduled departure tours?

Our scheduled departure tours operate with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 participants. The tour price stated here is applicable to a group size of 6-8 participants. Please refer to the Group Discount Guide in the Price and Availability section for pricing details for smaller groups.

What is the standard of accommodation?

We carefully select all the accommodations we use on any tour, based on a variety of factors. On this tour, we stay in a comfortable, clean hotel and wildlife lodge of good standard at Dirang and Kaziranga National Park respectively, all rooms with private en-suite facilities. At Nameri National Park and in two sites within Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary we stay in tented camps. At Nameri, this is a permanent tented camp: tents here are simply but comfortably furnished, supplied with electricity and have attached bathrooms with hot water. At Eaglenest, we stay in temporary tented camps best described as basic. Here, the tents have no electricity (although a power supply is available in common areas for charging batteries and devices), and bathroom facilities are shared. This is the only available accommodation in the area, and the superb locations of both camps more than make up for the lower accommodation standard.

What is the food like?

Meals are often in the form of a buffet featuring both international and delicious local cuisines, at times served as a picnic in the field to better support our bird/wildlife activities. If you are concerned that foods may be too spicy, this is generally not the case and there are always plenty of options to choose from. Vegetarians are very easily catered for in India, and we can cater to most other special dietary requirements with advance notice.

Who can join this tour?

Anyone! We welcome beginners and experts alike. Our tours do not normally entail a large amount of strenuous activity, but you should be fit and in general good health, and able to complete moderate walks over varying terrain. The tour is quite intensive in terms of time spent in the field, with early mornings, some late returns to make the best use of each day, and quite fast-paced with limited time at each destination. Half of the tour takes place at moderate altitudes in the Eastern Himalayas, with our highest night’s halt at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (2,350m). We do ascend briefly to high altitudes while birding at Eaglenest Pass (2,780m), Mandala Pass (3,200m) and Se La Pass (4,176m). If you have any concerns about your participation based around your health or mobility, please contact us so we can offer our advice.

Are there any particular health/vaccine requirements?

We will send you full details to enable you to prepare in advance of your tour with us. In brief, there are no particular vaccine requirements for entry into India but (depending on your chosen tour and your own underlying health) you should be up to date with some recommended vaccinations, and may need to take anti-malarial medication before, during and after your tour.

What should I bring on the tour?

We will send you a full list of recommendations to enable you to prepare in advance of your tour with us.

Do you arrange airport pick up/drop off?

Yes, and this is included in the tour cost.

Can you book accommodation for us prior to the start of the tour?

Yes, we can arrange any accommodation you need at the start or end of the tour, to suit your international arrival and departure times. We can also arrange a tour extension, should you wish to extend your trip.

Can I book a private or custom tour?

Yes, we can arrange a private tour following any of our tour itineraries for any size group. We can also create a custom tour just for you, incorporating any special requests, specific targets or other interests. The best time to plan this tour would be November or March to May. If, having read the tour description and these FAQ’s you are concerned that this tour may not meet your requirements, please get in touch with us anyway. We may be able to reassure you, suggest amendments to the usual itinerary or propose a more suitable alternative.

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16 Days

Price & Availability

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USD3,110 / per person
Single Supplement USD 435
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: India Nature
5 based on 2 reviews

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5 Based on 2 reviews
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Tour Facts

  • Northeast India
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • 16 days
  • November and March to May
  • 16+ years
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English
  • Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (Guwahati)
  • Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (Guwahati)