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  • Photograph of River Chat

    The striking River Chat or White-capped Redstart by Dubi Shapiro, easily seen in Corbett National Park.

    NORTHERN INDIA

    Best Wildlife in Northern India

    Mammals
    Tiger, Asian Elephant, (Northern Plains and Terai) Grey Langur(s), Rhesus Macaque, Nilgai, Sambar and Chinkara. Also a chance of Sloth Bear, Ganges River Dolphin, Blackbuck, Gaur, Jungle Cat, Indian (Crested) Porcupine and Yellow-throated Marten, and an outside chance of Leopard and Dhole (Asian Wild Dog).

    Birds
    Indian Peafowl, Sarus Crane, Lammergeier, Black-necked and Painted Storks, Brown and Tawny Fish Owls, Crested Kingfisher, (Red-billed) Blue Magpie, White-crested Laughingthrush, Indian Skimmer (mostly Nov-Mar), and two of India's 40 or so endemics; Painted Spurfowl and Marshall's Iora, as well as Bar-headed Goose (mostly Nov-Mar), Cotton Pygmy Goose, Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, Oriental Darter, Eurasian Spoonbill, Lesser Adjutant, Lesser Fish Eagle, Great Spotted (mostly Nov-Mar), Indian Spotted and Steppe (mostly Nov-Mar) Eagles, Collared Falconet, Great Thick-knee, River and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Black-winged Stilt, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Small Pratincole, Greater Painted Snipe, Great Black-headed Gull (mostly Nov-Mar), Black-bellied and River Terns, Painted Sandgrouse, Plum-headed Parakeet, Dusky Eagle Owl, Crested Treeswift, kingfishers including Stork-billed, bee-eaters including Blue-bearded, Indian Roller, Hoopoe, hornbills including Great, barbets including Coppersmith, woodpeckers including Great Slaty and White-naped, minivets, shrikes, fantails, Black-headed Jay, Green Magpie, Black-throated Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, bulbuls, warblers, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Rufous-bellied and Small Niltavas, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Siberian (mostly Nov-Mar) and White-tailed (mostly Nov-Mar) Rubythroats, (Himalayan) Red-flanked Bluetail, Golden Bush Robin, Plumbeous and White-capped Redstarts, White-rumped Shama, forktails, laughingthrushes, Nepal Wren Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Blue-winged Minla, Rufous Sibia, starlings and mynas, leafbirds, Crimson and Green-tailed Sunbirds, and White-capped Bunting (mostly Nov-Mar). Also a chance of Ibisbill (mostly Nov-Mar), Wallcreeper (mostly Nov-Mar), Cheer and Koklass Pheasants, Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans (both mostly Nov-Mar), Black Bittern (mostly Nov-Mar), Pallas's Fish Eagle, (Eastern) Imperial Eagle (mostly Nov-Mar), White-tailed Plover (mostly Nov-Mar), Indian Courser, Brooks's Leaf Warbler (mostly Nov-Mar), Hodgson's Bushchat (mostly Nov-Mar), Orange-headed Thrush, Green and White-browed Shrike Babblers, and Altai, Black-throated and Rufous-breasted Accentors (all three mostly Nov-Mar).

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Gharial and Mugger Crocodile. Also a chance of Indian (Rock) Python.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Northern India

    Best Times for Wildlife in Northern India

    The best times to look for Tiger are between mid-October and mid-November, and February to May, and the peak times for birds are late November to early December and late January to mid-March.

    Recommended Books etc. for Northern India

    Indian Mammals: A Field Guide by V Menon. Hachette, 2014.

    Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent by K K Gurung and R Singh. Helm, 1998.

    Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 2012.

    A Field Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by K Kazmierczak. Helm, 2008.

    Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 1999.

    Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide Volumes 1 and 2 by P C Rasmussen and J C Anderton. Lynx Edicions and Smithsonian Institution, 2012.


    Apps etc.

    eGuide to Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.

    Where to watch birds in Asia by N Wheatley. Helm, 1996.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Asia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Northern India

    Many trip reports, some for Northern India, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Northern India. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Northern India' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Northern India

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Northern India

    Some Organized Tours to Northern India

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Northern India include the following.