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  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of King Penguins on South Georgia

    King Penguins on South Georgia by Nigel Wheatley. A trip to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands is possibly the ultimate wildlife experience on Earth, although there are many contenders!

    DESTINATIONS A-Z

    The destinations listed and linked below are the ones we believe are the best in the world. They have been chosen very carefully and for a multitude of reasons, but mainly based on personal experience of some of them and on dreams of visiting the rest, dreams resulting from what we have heard, read or seen.

    It is our intention to update this list regularly as we add destinations and it was last updated on the 13th of September 2016.

    If there are any other destinations you think should be on the list below then please Email us. Those that have not made it so far include the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada, Montana, French Guiana, The Comoros, Mali, Tunisia, Cyprus, Jordan and Armenia.

    The destinations are listed alphabetically with very brief, usually one-line, summaries for those linked to more detailed pages (to reach these pages click on the destination name). Those not linked to more detailed pages are described in a bit more detail here, in italics.

    For more information see Top 100 Birds, Top 100 Other Wildlife and Top 50 Other Natural Wonders.

    The List

    The first and arguably most important destination to consider is a Local Patch, somewhere a short walk from home where it is possible to see a wide range of birds and other wildlife any day of the year.

    A

    Abruzzo National Park - Italy
    A good chance of Brown Bear and a few birds such as Golden Eagle.

    Alaska
    Grizzly Bear, Beluga, Moose and millions of seabirds on the Pribilof Islands.

    Alaska - Southeast
    A chance to see Humpback Whales bubble-net feeding, as well as Grizzly and Black Bears.

    Alberta - Canada
    Black and possibly Grizzly Bears, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat and Pronghorn.

    Amazon (Brazil)
    The largest river in the world, flowing through the richest rainforest in the world.

    Photograph of Least Auklets

    Least Auklets, one of the nine species of alcid (auk) on the Pribilof Islands of Alaska, by Simon Colenutt.

    American Samoa (for Western Samoa see Samoa, below)
    American Samoa supports the powelli race of Fiji Shrikebill which some taxonomists believe to be a full species. It occurs on the islands of Ta'u and Ofu-Olosega. Other landbirds present include Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Many-coloured Fruit Dove, Wattled Honeyeater, Cardinal Myzomela, and Polynesian and Samoan Starlings. Many seabirds nest on Rose Atoll NWR including Red-tailed Tropicbird, boobies, frigatebirds, noddies, and Sooty and White Terns.

    Angola
    Angola has a massive list of over 980 bird species, of which about 17 are endemic; Grey-striped and Swierstra's Francolins, Red-crested Turaco, Red-backed Mousebird, Gabela Akalat, Angola Cave Chat, Pulitzer's Longbill, Hartert's (Green-backed) Camaroptera, Angola Slaty Flycatcher, Montane (Ludwig's) Double-collared Sunbird, White-fronted Wattle-eye, Braun’s and Gabela Bushshrikes, Gabela Helmetshrike, Golden-backed Bishop, Landana (Pale-billed) Firefinch and Angola (Swee/Yellow-bellied) Waxbill. There are many near-endemics too, including Finsch's Francolin, Damara Tern, Anchieta's Barbet, White-headed Robin-Chat, Angola and Margaret's Batises, Bocage's Akalat, Damara Rockjumper (Rockrunner), Bocage's Sunbird, White-tailed Shrike, Bocage's, Gorgeous (Perrin's) and Monteiro’s Bushshrikes, and Cinderella Waxbill, while widespread spectacular species include Greater and Lesser Flamingoes, Palm-nut Vulture, Great Blue Turaco, Giant Kingfisher, Black, Blue-breasted and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Blue-throated and Lilac-breasted Rollers, Yellowbill (Blue Malkoha) and Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye. Don't expect to see any grazing mammals or their predators though - they are all shot for food in this very poor country. There are a few monkeys and they include the tiny Angolan (Southern) Talapoin. The best time to look for birds is September, usually before the rainy season kicks in.

    Antarctica - Emperor Penguins
    Fly in (at great expense) to spend a few days at an Emperor Penguin colony.

    Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands
    Whales, penguins, albatrosses in the most amazing settings on Earth make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Arctic Canada and Greenland
    Polar Bear, Walrus, Narwhal, Bowhead Whale, Beluga and Musk Ox make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Arctic Russia
    The richest tundra in the world, and birds such as Siberian Crane and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

    Argentina - Northern
    Andean Condor, Rufous-throated Dipper and a brilliant hummingbird called a Red-tailed Comet.

    Argentina - Southern
    Killer Whales 'beaching' in pursuit of sealion pups, Southern Right Whale and Southern Elephant Seal.

    Photograph of Elegant Trogon

    A beautiful male Elegant Trogon by Michael McKee.

    Arizona (Southeastern) - USA
    Southeastern Arizona supports a greater variety of breeding birds than any other area of comparable size in North America (about 190 species). Several Central American species have ranges which extend north into the area, including Zone-tailed Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee, Painted Redstart, and Grace's, Olive and Red-faced Warblers. It is also the best place for nightbirds in North America with over ten species of owl and at least three of nightjar usually present and best looked for during May, including Western and Whiskered Screech Owls, Elf and Flammulated Owls, Northern (Mountain) Pygmy Owl, Mexican Whip-poor-will and Common Poorwill. May is also a good time to look for some of Southeastern Arizona's 15 species of hummingbird although late July-early August, during the 'second spring' which follows the beginning of the rainy season, is even better. Many can be seen at the numerous feeding stations, including Blue-throated, Magnificent and Violet-crowned. Most of the hummingbirds (and trogons) leave during the winter when many Sandhill Cranes, raptors and longspurs are present and there is a chance of the nomadic Lawrence's Goldfinch. Southeastern Arizona is also a great place for vagrants from Mexico, with anything from Eared Quetzal to Aztec Thrush possible.

    Northern Arizona is a beautiful part of the world thanks to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and other Red Rock formations, and therefore great country to bird in, in search of high-desert and mountain specialities, many not normally encountered in Southeastern Arizona, including California Condor, which was reintroduced to the Grand Canyon in 1996, Lewis's Woodpecker, Mountain Bluebird, Clark's Nutcracker and Pinyon Jay. A top site for mammals is the Aubrey Valley west of Seligman where spotlighting at night may reveal Black-footed Ferret, American Badger, Collared Peccary (Javelina), Gunnison's Prairie Dog, Pronghorn, Coyote and Ord's Kangaroo Rat.

    Armenia
    Landlocked Armenia is dominated by the lofty Lesser Caucasus mountains which rise to 4090 m (13,420 ft) at Mount Aragats although there is also some semi-desert and a large area of fish ponds at lower elevations. Situated at the junction of Europe, the Middle East and Asia there is a superb selection of birds to be seen in a very small area just a quarter the size of England, especially during May when the possibilities include Pygmy Cormorant, Marbled and White-headed Ducks (Armash fish ponds), Levant Sparrowhawk, Caspian Snowcock (Gndasar Mountain), Caucasian Grouse (Tsaghkunyats Mountains), White-tailed Lapwing (Armash fish ponds), Armenian Gull, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Bimaculated Lark, White-throated Robin, Finsch's and Red-tailed Wheatears, Sombre Tit, (Western) Rock and Eastern Rock Nuthatches, Green, Menetries's, Moustached and Upcher's Warblers, Rose-coloured Starling, Radde's Accentor, Crimson-winged Finch and Grey-necked Bunting. During the autumn, especially early September, large numbers of Demoiselle Cranes pass through Lake Sevan.

    Photograph of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters

    Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters nest in Armenia. Image by Michael McKee.

    Atlantic Odyssey
    Whales, dolphins and 40 seabird species from Antarctica via South Georgia to Ascension Island.

    Australia - Eastern (Queensland)
    Platypus, Koala, the Great Barrier Reef and numerous birds including Southern Cassowary.

    Australia - Northern
    Saltwater Crocodiles in Kakadu and endemic birds such as Gouldian Finch and Rainbow Pitta.

    Australia - Northwestern
    Tens of thousands of shorebirds at Broome, and Black Grasswren in the Kimberley.

    Australia - Outback
    Red Kangaroo and birds including Malleefowl and Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo.

    Australia - Southeastern (Victoria-Tasmania)
    Platypus, Koala, Tasmanian Devil, kangaroos, wombats and birds such as Plains-wanderer.

    Australia - Western
    Dugong, Whale Shark, Manta Ray and birds such as Malleefowl.

    Austria
    Pygmy Cormorant, Great Bustard, possibly Saker and fine alpine scenery.

    Azores
    Sperm and other whales, Striped and other dolphins, and the rare endemic Azores Bullfinch.

    B

    Baffin Island - Canada
    The best place in the world for Narwhal, plus a chance of Walrus, Beluga and Bowhead Whale.

    Bahamas
    One of the best places in the world to swim with dolphins, as well as sharks and Sting Rays.

    Baja California - Mexico
    Whales and dolphins galore, including Blue Whale and confiding Grey Whales.

    Photograph of Red-billed Tropicbirds

    Baja's not all about whales. The birds include Red-billed Tropicbirds. Image by Dave Barnes.

    Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick-Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada)
    Fin, Northern Right and a chance of Humpback Whales, seabirds, shorebirds and warblers.

    Beidaihe and Happy Island, China
    One of the best places to experience bird migration on the planet, just 280 km east of Beijing. The passage migrants, many in summer plumage during spring, include many species which are rarities in Europe and Alaska, notably cuckoos, pipits, thrushes, flycatchers, warblers and buntings, some of which turn up in astonishing numbers when there has been a fall (for example, 250 Siberian Blue Robins in one day on Happy Island!). Regular other species include Chinese Egret, Schrenck’s Bittern, Pied Harrier, Amur Falcon, Baillon’s Crake, shorebirds such as Asian Dowitcher and Grey-tailed Tattler, Relict and Saunders’s Gulls, White-throated Needletail, Black-capped Kingfisher, Black-naped Oriole, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Chinese Nuthatch, Siberian Rubythroat, Rufous-tailed and Siberian Blue Robins, Forest Wagtail and Chinese Grosbeak. A lot of good habitat is being destroyed around the expanding seaside resort of Beidaihe, which is not as good as it used to be, but Happy Island, about 4 km by 2km and accessible via a 20-minute ferry ride, is still an exciting place to bird, and arguably the best to find many of the most exciting migrants. The first half of May is the peak time for species diversity during spring but spring passage begins in March when four species of crane pass over. The peak time in autumn is late September-early October although the cranes pass over south from mid-October to early November.

    Belarus
    Azure Tit, Aquatic Warbler, Great Snipe and Great Grey Owl in some really wild places.

    Belize
    Whale Sharks, possibly West Indian Manatee and great coral reef fish.

    Bhutan
    Where Golden Langurs and so many brilliant birds are part of the Gross National Happiness.

    Photograph of Satyr Tragopan

    Satyr Tragopan in Bhutan by Paul Noakes.

    Borneo - Malaysia
    Orang-utan, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Gibbon and many top birds make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Bolivia
    Several spectacular macaws including the endemic Blue-throated.

    Bosque del Apache (New Mexico) - USA
    Tens of thousands of Snow Geese and thousands of Sandhill Cranes wintering.

    Botswana
    Many mammals including African Wild Dog and many waterbirds in the Okavango Delta.

    Brazil - Amazon
    The largest river in the world, flowing through the richest rainforest in the world.

    Brazil - Carajas
    Carajas National Forest in southeastern Para state, northeast Brazil, is one of the richest areas for birds in Amazonia and the very long list includes Peruvian Recurvebill, Black-chested Tyrant and Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, as well as Bare-faced Curassow, White-crested Guan, Red-throated Piping Guan, Chestnut-headed Chachalaca, Harpy Eagle, Cryptic Forest-Falcon, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Marbled Wood-Quail, Blue-and-yellow, Hyacinth, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, Jandaya and Pearly Parakeets, Red-fan and Vulturine Parrots, Hoatzin, Dot-eared Coquette, Blue-cheeked (Yellow-billed) Jacamar, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Red-necked Aracari, Banded and Wing-banded Antbirds, Black-bellied and Chestnut-belted Gnateaters, Fiery-capped and Opal-crowned Manakins, Purple-breasted, Spangled and White-tailed Cotingas, the wallacei race of White Bellbird, Sharpbill, Slaty-headed Tody Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, White-naped Jay, Rose-breasted Chat, Para (Guianan) Gnatcatcher, Spotted Tanager and Red-billed Pied Tanager. In the same region, around the town of Caxias in Maranhao state are restricted-range birds such as Buff-browed Chachalaca, Kaempfer’s Woodpecker, Moustached Woodcreeper and Hooded Gnateater, along with Crescent-chested Puffbird, Curl-crested Jay, and Blue and Coal-crested Finches, with a chance of Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. The best time to visit is August-September.

    Brazil - Central (Minas Gerais)
    Some tour companies tie a trip to the Pantanal with the Campo and Cerrado Region of Minas Gerais state in Central Brazil where the main sites are: Serra da Canastra National Park, where it is possible to see Brazilian Merganser, one of the rarest birds in the world with an estimated population below 250, as well as Giant Anteater, Black-ear-tufted Marmoset, Red-legged Seriema, Aplomado Falcon, Golden-capped Parakeet, Toco Toucan, Campo Miner, Grey-backed Tachuri, Cock-tailed, Sharp-tailed and Streamer-tailed Tyrants, Collared Crescentchest, Helmeted Manakin, White-rimmed and White-striped Warblers, Blue Finch and Yellow-rumped Marshbird; Serra do Cipo National Park, where the main attractions are Hyacinth Visorbearer, possibly Horned Sungem, Cipo Canastero and Cipo (Long-tailed) Cinclodes, along with Cinereous Warbling Finch and Pale-throated Pampa Finch; Serra do Caraca National Park, where there is a chance of Maned Wolf on the monastery steps and Black-ear-tufted Marmoset, as well as Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Serra Antwren, Rufous Gnateater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Swallow-tailed Cotinga and Pin-tailed Manakin; and Caratinga National Park, where Buffy-headed Marmoset, and Brown Howler and Woolly Spider Monkeys occur, and there is a chance of Three-toed Sloth and Giant Helicopter Damselfly. The best time to visit is the dry season, July to October.

    From Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais state it is not far east to the state of Espirito Santo where the adjacent Rio Doce Private Forest Reserve and Sooretama Biological Reserve protect one of the largest remnants of Atlantic coastal lowland rainforest and support Red-billed Curassow, White-necked Hawk, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Black-headed Berryeater and White-winged Cotinga. Not far from there is the town of Santa Theresa where the hummingbird feeders at the home of the late Dr Augusto Ruschi attract a whirl of hummers, including Frilled Coquette. Santa Theresa city park is a good place to see Masked Titi Monkey, Geoffroy’s Marmosets and Common Opossums (on the bird tables at night) and Santa Lucia Reserve near Santa Theresa supports Cinnamon-vented Piha, Bare-throated Bellbird, Sharpbill and many tanagers.

    Photograph of Toco Toucan

    Brazil is the best place to see Toco Toucan. Image by Chris Townend.

    Brazil - Alta Floresta
    This luxurious Cristalino Lodge is about an hour by road and half an hour by river from Alta Floresta which is accessible by air in one and a half hours from Cuiaba, the gateway to the Pantanal, hence the two destinations are often combined by tour operators. Cristalino is situated in southern Amazonian rainforest, the richest place for birds on Earth, hence nearly 600 bird species have been recorded. Many are thin on the ground and/or shy and skulking though so a stay of at least a week is recommended to stand a chance of seeing some of the numerous specialities such as Razor-billed Curassow, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Zigzag Heron, Harpy Eagle, White-browed Hawk, Cryptic Forest Falcon, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Crimson-bellied and Santarem (Painted) Parakeets, Kawallʼs Parrot, Pavonine Quetzal, Tapajos Hermit, Black-bellied Thorntail, Brown-banded, Rufous-necked and (Eastern) Striolated Puffbirds, Blue-necked Jacamar, Black-girdled Barbet, Curl-crested and Red-necked Aracaris, Gould's Toucanet, Glossy Antshrike, Bare-eyed Antbird, Alta Floresta (Spotted) Antpitta, Zimmerʼs Tody-Tyrant, Flame-crowned and Snow-capped Manakins, Slaty-capped Shrike Vireo, Tooth-billed Wren and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak, as well as more widespread species such as Agami Heron, Sunbittern, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, Great and Paradise Jacamars, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Pompadour, Purple-throated and Spangled Cotingas, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Amazonian Umbrellabird, White-browed Purpletuft, Band-tailed Manakin, Musician Wren and Paradise Tanager. There are two 50 metre high canopy towers, lots of trails and boat trips along the blackwater rivers are available to seek out the birds and mammals, which include Red-handed Howler and several other monkeys. The best time to visit is October-November at the start of the rainy season when more birds are in song and there are more antswarms. Similar species occur at Rio Azul Jungle Lodge, three hours by road from Alta Floresta, including Tapajos Hermit and the forest here is a good place to see the rare Bald Parrot.

    Photograph of Blue Manakin

    A beautiful image of a male Blue Manakin by Lee Dingain.

    Brazil - Northeastern
    Over 15 new species have been described from this part of Brazil in the last 20 years, even though the main habitat is caatinga not rainforest: arid, badly degraded, low thorny scrub and woodland. It is possible to see a hundred Brazilian endemics in this part of the country where the Boa Nova area in the state of Bahia supports the greatest concentration of endemics in Brazil, although many are rare and highly localised in remnant patches of suitable habitat. They include Lear’s Macaw, only about 600 of which survive in the wild, the brilliant Hooded Visorbearer and the beautiful Araripe Manakin, as well as White-collared Kite, Giant Snipe, Grey-breasted (Maroon-faced) Parakeet, Pygmy Nightjar (Boa Nova), Tawny-browed Owl (Boa Nova), White-winged Potoo, Hook-billed Hermit, Racket-tailed Coquette, Stripe-breasted Starthroat, Ruby Topaz, Gould’s and Spot-billed Toucanets, piculets, spinetails, Great Xenops, Pink-legged Graveteiro, several range-restricted antbirds, Black-cheeked, Ceara (Rufous) and Rufous Gnateaters, Collared Crescentchest, many tyrant flycatchers, Bare-throated Bellbird, Black-headed Berryeater, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Banded and White-winged Cotingas (both in Catitu Reserve, Itacare), Buff-throated Purpletuft, Sharpbill, Band-tailed and Blue Manakins, White-naped Jay and lots of tanagers including Seven-coloured. Mammals include White-tufted-ear and Wied's Black-tufted-ear Marmosets, and Coimbra-Filho's Titi Monkey. The best time for birding is January at the start of the rainy season when more birds are vocal.

    Brazil - Southeastern
    There are more endemic birds in this corner of South America than anywhere else on the continent; 170-180 or more of them, and on a thorough trip lasting nearly a month and including Rio Grande do Sul during the southern spring, October-November, it is possible to record over 550 species, including virtually all of the regional endemics and nearly 100 Brazilian endemics (out of 230 or so). Most of the endemics and localised birds are confined to mostly tiny fragments of remaining Atlantic Forest (2-7% of the original forest cover) and adjacent areas in the states of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Parana, and they include Black-fronted Piping Guan (in the very birdy Intervales State Park), Red-billed Curassow (Reserva Natural Vale, Linhares), Red-legged Seriema, Red-and-white Crake (coming out of the forest to corn at Intervales SP), Rufous-sided Crake (Curitiba), Giant Snipe (Reserva Ecologica de Guapiacu (REGUA)), Long-trained Nightjar, Surucua Trogon, Saw-billed Hermit (Ilhabela Island State Park, Ubatuba), Festive Coquette (Ubatuba area), Frilled Coquette (one of many hummingbirds which can be seen at feeders in the grounds of the Vita Verde Pousada near Santa Teresa, one of several great hummingbird feeding stations), Emerald-crested and Violet-crested Plovercrests, Rufous-capped Motmot, Three-toed Jacamar, Ariel (Channel-billed) and Red-breasted Toucans, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets, lots of woodpeckers, over 30 antbirds including some very large antshrikes, Variegated Antpitta and Black-hooded Antwren (Pereque), Canebrake Groundcreeper (Barigui Park, Curitiba), Black-cheeked and Rufous Gnateaters, Sharpbill, Bare-throated Bellbird, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (scutatus subspecies, Intervales SP), Black-and-gold, Grey-winged (both at Itororo Lodge, Tres Picos SP and Pico da Caledonia, Nova Friburgo), Swallow-tailed and White-winged Cotingas, Brazilian Laniisoma (Shrike-like Cotinga), Black-headed and Hooded (Itororo Lodge) Berryeaters, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Buff-throated Purpletuft (Ubatuba area), manakins such as Pin-tailed, Black-capped (Agulhas Negras road, Itatiaia National Park) and Wing-barred (Intervales SP) Piprites, Black-legged Dacnis, and numerous fabulous tanagers, not least Black-backed, Brassy-breasted, Brazilian, Chestnut-headed, Diademed, Gilt-edged, Green-headed, Red-necked and the very rare Cherry-throated (Fazenda Caetes). There are plenty of mammals too, including marmosets, monkeys and Maned Sloth (Santa Maria de Jetibá Northern Muriqui Reserve).

    Farther south via a short flight, off the beaten track in the state of Rio Grande do Sul out of Porto Alegre it is possible to see a wide range of different mainly wetland and open country birds, including Southern Screamer (Tramandai), Chilean Flamingo, South American Painted Snipe (Lagoa do Peixe National Park near Mostardas), Snowy-crowned Tern (Lagoa do Peixe NP), Red-spectacled Parrot, Crested Doradito (Tramandai) and Many-coloured Rush Tyrant (Tramandai).

    Photograph of Red-necked Tanager

    Red-necked Tanager by Jon Hornbuckle, one of many colourful tanagers in Southeast Brazil.

    Brazil - Southern (Pantanal-Iguassu)
    Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Hyacinth Macaws and Iguassu Falls make this A Top Ten Destination.

    British Columbia (Western Canada)
    Grizzly Bears fishing for salmon and Killer Whales make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Bulgaria
    Wallcreeper inland, a migration flyway along the coast, especially good for waterbirds.

    Burma
    See Myanmar, below.

    C

    California (Northern) - USA
    The tallest, largest and oldest trees in the world, Humpback and possibly Blue Whales, and Yosemite.

    Photograph of California Condor

    The USFWS recorded a population of 268 California Condors living in the wild in December 2015, many of them in California where they are being reintroduced into the mountains north of Los Angeles and the Big Sur area of the central coast. Image by Chris Townend.

    California (Southern) - USA
    A wide range of habitats in a small, often scenic, area means Southern California is a top birding destination. Mountains, pine-oak woods, chaparral, deserts, shoreline and ocean combine to support a great diversity of birds including two endemics (Island Scrub Jay and Yellow-billed Magpie) and several specialities; Black-vented Shearwater (off La Jolla Cove), Brown Booby (on cliffs at La Jolla - now breeding on Los Coronados Islands south of San Diego), Scripps’s (Xantus's) Murrelet, Yellow-footed Gull, Allen’s Hummingbird, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, California Thrasher, California Gnatcatcher (San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve), Wrentit, the nomadic Lawrence's Goldfinch, California Towhee and Tricoloured Blackbird, while other spectacular species include Heermann's Gull, Black Skimmer, Burrowing Owl and Greater Roadrunner. The best times to look for these birds are late April-early May and during the winter when there are thousands of Snow Geese (with Ross's Geese), hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and lots of Mountain Plovers around the southern end of the Salton Sea which is the only regular location for Yellow-footed Gull in the United States, although they are rare in winter (numbers usually peak during late summer). 'Desert' Bighorn Sheep occur in Anza-Borrego SP along with Dulzura and Merriam's Kangaroo Rats.

    Cambodia
    Irrawaddy Dolphin, Yellow-cheeked Gibbon and rare South East Asian birds like Giant Ibis.

    Cameroon
    Several monkeys and lots of birds, including a few endemics, Quail Plover and Red-headed Picathartes.

    Canada - Alberta
    Black and possibly Grizzly Bears, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat and Pronghorn.

    Canada - Arctic, and Greenland
    Polar Bear, Walrus, Narwhal, Bowhead Whale, Beluga and Musk Ox make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Canada - Baffin Island
    The best place in the world for Narwhal, plus a chance of Walrus, Beluga and Bowhead Whale.

    Canada - Eastern (Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick-Nova Scotia)
    Fin, Northern Right and a chance of Humpback Whales, seabirds, shorebirds and warblers.

    Canada - Manitoba
    The greatest concentration of Polar Bears in the world, during October.

    Canada - Newfoundland
    Humpback Whales and spectacular seabird colonies.

    Canada - Point Pelee (Ontario)
    A migration bottleneck in spring, great for up to 30 species of New World warblers.

    Canada - Quebec
    See Quebec, below.

    Canada - Western (British Columbia)
    Grizzly Bears fishing for salmon and Killer Whales make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Photograph of Blue Chaffinch

    Blue Chaffinch, one of the five endemic birds on the Canary Islands, by Michael McKee. This species, which exists mainly on seeds of the Canary Island Pine, is up to 2-4 cm bigger than Chaffinch with a much stouter, conical, bill.

    Canary Islands
    The seven Canary Islands support five endemic bird species: Bolle's (Tenerife and other western islands) and Laurel (Tenerife, Gomera and La Palma) Pigeons, Canary Islands Chat (Fuerteventura), Canary Islands Chiffchaff (Tenerife and other western islands) and Blue Chaffinch (Tenerife and Gran Canaria); near-endemic Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit, African Blue Tit and Island Canary; and many endemic subspecies of more widely distributed birds, including Houbara Bustard (fuertaventurae on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) and Goldcrest (teneriffae on Tenerife and Gomera). Tenerife supports the greatest diversity of endemic and near-endemic birds but Canary Islands Chat occurs only on Fuerteventura where it can be seen at several sites. Also present on Fuerteventura are Egyptian Vulture (majorensis), Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Lesser Short-toed Lark and Trumpeter Finch, with the bustard, courser, lark and finch also on Lanzarote where it is also possible to see Eleonora's Falcon. On ferry crossings - such as between Gran Canaria and Tenerife, and Tenerife and Gomera - it is possible to see Cory's and Little Shearwaters, Bulwer's Petrel and even White-faced Storm-Petrel (especially in July when seabird numbers and diversity usually peaks), as well as Short-finned Pilot Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin and Loggerhead Turtle.

    Cape May, New Jersey - USA
    Cape May is one of the best places on Earth to experience visible bird migration. During the autumn/fall birds from a huge area of northern North America pass through this peninsula at the southern end of the state of New Jersey, 160 miles south of New York, before continuing south. Small bird migration usually peaks during the middle two weeks of September and the main period of migration for all species usually lasts between mid-September and mid-October and includes waterbirds, shorebirds, raptors, warblers, vireos, sparrows and buntings. They may occur in astonishing numbers if there has been a 'fallout', usually after wet cold fronts sweep across the cape from the northwest. During such times there are also likely to be lots of Northern Flickers, Blue Jays and Tree Swallows, and plenty of Belted Kingfishers, while the freshwater and saltwater marshes and beaches also support a few Bald Eagles and hundreds of Black Skimmers. The best sites, crowded with birders during peak season, are Higbee Beach WMA (especially for passage migrant passerines early morning, in what is known as the 'morning flight' when nocturnal migrants flit north and west over the dike in search of roosting and foraging sites for the day), Cape May Point SP (for waterbirds, shorebirds, migrating raptors (the Cape May Bird Observatory's hawk watch platform is here) and the 'morning flight' over the dunes), and Edwin B. Forsythe (formerly Brigantine) NWR, about 50 miles north of Cape May (for waterbirds, shorebirds and raptors).

    Although most famous for the autumn/fall migration it is also worth considering visiting Cape May during the spring, when: the spawning of tens of thousands of Horseshoe Crabs in Delaware Bay takes place, their eggs in turn providing food for thousands of passage migrant shorebirds (the spawning usually peaks during the last week of May); over 20 species of warbler may be seen, with nesting and passage migrant species both singing (the greatest variety of warblers and other small migrants usually occurs during the first half of May, especially on overcast days with southwesterly winds); and freshwater and saltwater marshes and beaches support the rare Piping Plover, as well as Bald Eagle and Black Skimmer.

    For information on Cape May Bird Observatory, the annual Cape May Autumn Birding Festival (usually held in late October) and the annual 24-hour fundraising birdrace known as the World Series of Birding (usually held in early May) see the New Jersey Audubon website.

    Cape Verde Islands
    This windy archipelago about 450 km west of Senegal supports just 36 breeding species, nine of which are seabirds. There are four endemic landbirds; Cape Verde Swift, Raso Lark, Cape Verde Warbler and Iago Sparrow, and endemic subspecies of Purple (Bourne's) Heron, Common (Cape Verde) Buzzard, Common (Alexander's and Neglected) Kestrel and Barn (Cape Verde) Owl (the endemic subspecies of Peregrine is very rarely recorded and the endemic subspecies of Black Kite is thought to be extinct). Amongst the seabirds there is Fea's Petrel, which is almost an endemic breeding species (it also breeds on Bugio in the Desertas Islands off Madeira) and three endemic breeding subspecies; Little (Boyd's) Shearwater, Cory's (Cape Verde) Shearwater and Madeiran (Cape Verde) Storm Petrel, as well as Bulwer's Petrel and White-faced Storm Petrel (which can be seen during an overnight stay on Ilheu dos Passeros, off Boa Vista). Other birds present include Red-billed Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Grey-headed Kingfisher (which occurs nowhere else in the Western Palearctic), Bar-tailed and Greater Hoopoe Larks, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark and Brown-necked Raven. To see the endemic species and subspecies, some of the seabirds and the Western Palearctic specialities it is necessary to visit the following islands; Santiago, the most bird rich island, mainly for Bourne's Heron (at the reservoir Barragem de Poilao which is also good for vagrant waterbirds), Cape Verde Buzzard (rare), Grey-headed Kingfisher and Cape Verde Warbler; Sao Nicolau, mainly for Neglected Kestrel, access to Raso Island for Raso Lark and the boat trip there and back which is good for Fea's Petrel, and Boyd's and Cape Verde Shearwaters (all three of which may also be seen at one of the best places for seawatching in the archipelago, Ponta do Barril Lighthouse); and Boa Vista, where the Ilheu de Curral Velho, just offshore, supports a breeding colony of Brown Boobies and the last breeding pair of Magnificent Frigatebirds in the Western Palearctic. The best time to visit is during the driest time of the year, December to June, especially March-April, when Humpback Whales can also be seen on whale-watching trips.

    Photograph of Brown Booby

    A great image of a Brown Booby captured in the Cape Verde Islands by Steve Rogers.

    Cayman Islands
    There are no endemic bird species on these three islands south of Cuba although they do support Vitelline Warbler which otherwise occurs only on the Swan Islands off Honduras. There are many endemic subspecies though including two of Cuban Parrot (caymanensis on Grand Cayman and hesterna on Cayman Brac) and Vitelline Warbler (vitellina on Grand Cayman and crawfordi on Little Cayman). Other specialities include West Indian Whistling Duck, Antillean Nighthawk, West Indian Woodpecker (Grand Cayman), Loggerhead Kingbird, Caribbean Elaenia, La Sagra's Flycatcher, (Western) Red-legged Thrush, Thick-billed Vireo, Yucatan Vireo (Grand Cayman), Bananaquit (sharpei), Western Spindalis (Grand Cayman), Cuban Bullfinch (Grand Cayman) and Greater Antillean Grackle, while more widespread spectacular species include White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby (one of the largest breeding colonies on Earth (about 3500 pairs) is on Little Cayman), Magnificent Frigatebird (which also has a breeding colony on Little Cayman), and passage migrant and wintering warblers such as Black-throated Blue. Most resident breeding species nest from late May to July. The endemic fauna includes the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana while rich coral reefs, calm seas and warm, clear water make snorkelling and scuba-diving delightful, the most notable larger species being Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Southern Stingray, Spotted Eagle Ray, Green Turtle and Atlantic Tarpon.

    Central African Republic
    Lowland Gorilla, monkeys and spectacular birds such as Red-headed Picathartes.

    Chile
    Puma, a chance of Blue Whale and birds which include Magellanic Woodpecker.

    China - Beidaihe
    See Beidaihe and Happy Island, above.

    China - Central
    Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and a slim chance of Giant Panda in the wild.

    China - Eastern (Poyang Hu)
    The 'Birds of Heaven', that is cranes, lots of wintering cranes, including Siberian.

    Photograph of Spoon-billed Sandpiper

    A lovely shot of a Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Michael McKee, possible in Eastern China and Hong Kong.

    China - Hong Kong
    Thousands of summer-plumaged shorebirds possibly including Spoon-billed Sandpiper in April.

    China - Sichuan
    Many superb birds, not least colourful pheasants and Firethroat, and a good chance of Red Panda.

    China - Yunnan
    Black-crested Gibbon, Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey and lots of superb birds and flowers.

    Christmas Island
    Million of migrating Red Crabs in November-December, giant Coconut Crabs, and seabirds.

    Colombia
    Birds, birds, birds, nearly 1900 species of them, more than any other country in the world.

    Colorado - USA
    Seven species of displaying grouse in spring, plus Elk, Bighorn Sheep and Pronghorn.

    Cook Islands
    It is only necessary to visit three of the 15 widely scattered Cook Islands to see the six endemic bird species: the island of Atiu for the endemic Atiu Swiftlet (which can be seen at the nest in Anatakitaki Cave, one of several spectacular caves on the islands) and Lilac-crowned Fruit Dove (which also occurs on Rarotonga but is much scarcer there), as well as Kuhl's Lorikeet, which otherwise occurs only on remote Rimatara in the Austral Islands, and has been reintroduced to this island, Chattering Kingfisher, the range of which extends beyond the Cook Islands to the Society Islands, and the more widespread Pacific Imperial Pigeon; the island of Rarotonga for the endemic Rarotonga Monarch in Takitumu Conservation Area (a bird which has also been introduced to Atiu) and Rarotonga Starling; and the island of Mangaia for the endemic Mangaia (Mewing) Kingfisher and Cook Islands Reed Warbler. In addition, Blue (Violet) Lorikeet has been introduced to Aitutaki where there is also a chance of seeing Bristle-thighed Curlew, mainly from November to March. Seabirds present throughout the Cook Islands include Herald Petrel (most likely on and around Rarotonga), Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, Red-footed Booby, Black and Brown Noddies, and White Terns. It is usually dry and cool from June to October, the best time to visit, with most rain falling during the cyclone season between December and May.

    Corsica
    This scenic, sparsely populated, French island nearer the northwest coast of Italy than France supports the endemic Corsican Nuthatch, the near-endemic Marmora's Warbler and Corsican Finch (both of which occur only on Corsica and Sardinia), and the restricted-range Moltoni's (Subalpine) Warbler and Italian Sparrow. In addition there are several endemic subspecies, including the corsa race of Treecreeper. More widespread species include Lammergeier (rare and most likely at Haut Asco), Red Kite, Golden Eagle (scarce), Hoopoe, Alpine Chough, Dartford and Sardinian Warblers, Firecrest and Spotless Starling, with summer visitors such as European Bee-eater and Woodchat Shrike (the badius subspecies which breeds on Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands). Around the coast and on some etangs it is possible to see a few Audouin's Gulls and offshore, Scopoli's (Cory's) and Yelkouan (Balearic) Shearwaters. The few mammals include Mouflon (most likely at Haut Asco) but there is a rich flora which includes many orchids and those usually in flower during early May (the best time to look for birds) include Sword-leaved Helleborine, Violet Limodore, Yellow Ophrys, Heart-flowered Serapias, and Barton’s, Man, Milky, Pink Butterfly and Tongue Orchids.

    Photograph of Marmora's Warbler

    A singing male Marmora's Warbler by Michael McKee, endemic to the western Mediterranean.

    Costa Rica
    Resplendent Quetzal, Red-eyed Tree Frog, sloths, monkeys and nesting turtles. Costa Rica's got the lot!

    Croatia
    The limestone islands, cliffs, gorges and craggy mountains of Croatia support Rock Partridge, a bird which is endemic to Europe and very difficult to see anywhere else, as well as (Eastern) Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Sombre Tit, (Western) Rock Nuthatch, (Eastern) Orphean and (Eastern) Subalpine Warblers, Alpine Accentor (near Veti Jure in Biokova Nature Park) and Black-headed Bunting, while at wetlands like Lake Vrana it is possible to see a wide range of waterbirds including Pygmy Cormorant. During the winter Wallcreeper is possible. Mammals in Biokova Nature Park include Chamois and Mouflon, both of which are elusive. Butterflies are easier to see and there are about 190 species in Croatia, 130 of which have been recorded in the Velebit Mountains on the Dalamatian coast, including Clouded Apollo. The rich flora, including lots of orchids, is a fine sight in April and May which are also the best months to look for birds.

    Cuba
    Over 20 endemic birds including a tody, a trogon and the world's smallest; Bee Hummingbird.

    Photograph of Cuban Tody

    The delightful Cuban Tody by Dave Irving, one of the world's five species of tody which occur only in the Caribbean on the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (where two species can be seen in the Dominican Republic).

    Czech Republic
    It is possible to see all ten European woodpeckers in the Czech Republic. The best three areas for birds are: (i) the Sumava Mountains on the border with Germany, which, together with neighbouring Bavaria, support the most extensive forest remaining in Central Europe, home to some great but scarce and very elusive birds such as Black and Hazel Grouse, Eurasian Pygmy and Ural Owls, and Black, (Eurasian) Three-toed and White-backed Woodpeckers, most of which are best looked for on Mount Boubin where Ring Ouzel (alpestris) and Eurasian Nutcracker also occur; (ii) the five hundred fish ponds in the Trebon area which support White-tailed Eagle, as well as a few White Storks, Red-crested Pochard, Red Kite, Bluethroat, Collared Flycatcher, Reedling and Penduline Tit; and (iii) South Moravia where there is a possibility of seeing Barred Warbler, as well as Saker Falcon and Eastern Imperial Eagle (both most likely in the Hohenau area just across the border in Austria). The best time to look for birds is the middle of May when most of the summer migrants have usually arrived and some owls and woodpeckers are still nesting.

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    Dakota, North - USA
    See North Dakota, below

    Dominica
    Sperm and other Whales, dolphins and two endemic parrots.

    Dominican Republic
    One of the few places in the world where it is possible to swim with Humpback Whales.

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    Emperor Penguins - Antarctica
    Fly in (at great expense) to spend a few days at an Emperor Penguin colony.

    Ecuador - Northern
    More birds per square mile than any other country in the world.

    Photograph of Jocotoco Antpitta

    Jocotoco Antpitta by David Sewell. A unique antpitta which occurs only in Southern Ecuador.

    Ecuador - Southern
    A high degree of regional endemism with lots of very local and little known birds including over 40 species shared only with adjacent northern Peru (the Tumbesian Endemics) together with the incredibly bird-rich eastern Andean slope forests and more widespread birds means it is possible to amass a huge list of birds on a trip to Southern Ecuador; easily over 400 species in two weeks and 650 in three weeks, including over 60 hummingbirds, many of which can be seen at several superb feeding stations, and many tanagers. The star birds include El Oro Parakeet, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Jocotoco Antpitta (now coming out of the forest to feed on worms supplied by local guides, along with Chestnut-naped and Undulated Antpittas), Tumbes Tyrant (at Zapotillo, the only known site for this species in Ecuador), White-tailed Jay and Orange-throated Tanager, while more widespread spectacular species include Horned Screamer, Oilbird (along the old Loja-Zamora road), Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Club-winged Manakin, Giant Conebill, Tit-like Dacnis, Plushcap, and Golden-crowned and White-capped Tanagers. Possible mammals include Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth and Mantled Howler Monkey. The best time to look for birds is during January to March because this period usually coincides with the annual rains when resident birds start singing making it easier to find the many skulkers. Make sure you book Jocotoco Foundation’s excellent birding lodges at Buenaventura (El Oro Parakeet and Long-wattled Umbrellabird), Jorupe (Pale-browed Tinamou at feeders) and Tapichalaca (Jocotoco Antpitta) well in advance, as well as Copalinga Lodge, near the Bombuscara entrance to Podocarpus National Park (where Grey Tinamou and Wire-crested Thorntail visit the feeders) and Yankuam Lodge (near where Orange-throated Tanager is easiest to see, and where Spangled Cotinga and White-browed Purpletuft occur).

    Egypt
    The main tourist attractions in Egypt are the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, the Egyptian Museum which hosts Tutankhamun’s treasures, the Temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, but visitors interested in birds may wish to turn their eyes elsewhere, especially those interested in birds which are difficult or impossible to see elsewhere in the Western Palearctic, birds such as White-eyed Gull (which is difficult to see anywhere else in the world!), Goliath and Striated Herons, Yellow-billed Stork, Brown Booby, Pink-backed Pelican, Lappet-faced Vulture, Sooty Falcon, Greater Painted Snipe, Senegal Thick-knee, Crab, Kittlitz’s and Three-banded Plovers, Sooty Gull, African Skimmer, Chestnut-bellied and Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, African Collared and Namaqua Doves, Senegal Coucal, Hume's Owl, Hooded Wheatear, African Pied Wagtail, Nile Valley and Palestine Sunbirds, Sinai Rosefinch, Red Avadavat and Streaked Weaver. There is even an outside chance of seeing the elusive Yellow Bitterns which were discovered breeding in mangroves along Egypt's southern Red Sea coast south of Marsa Alam in 2012-2013! The spring (especially mid-April to early May) and autumn (September-October) migration periods are the best times to visit, with the possibility of large numbers of storks, raptors, shorebirds and passerines, especially at the migration bottlenecks of Suez, Hurghada and Zaranik. The Red Sea is rich in marine life and there are many places where scuba-diving and snorkelling can be spectacular experiences.

    Photograph of White-eyed Gull

    Egypt is the best place in the world to see White-eyed Gull. Image by Michael McKee.

    El Triunfo, Mexico
    The cloud forest in this reserve in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas is one of the few accessible sites in Chiapas and neighbouring Guatemala where Horned Guan occurs, and this is also a good place to see other range-restricted highland specialities such as Highland Guan, White-breasted Hawk, Fulvous Owl, Resplendent Quetzal (the subspecies with the longest tail), Blue-throated Motmot, Green-throated Mountaingem, Emerald-chinned and Wine-throated Hummingbirds, Black-throated Jay, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia and Hooded Grosbeak. At lower altitudes the major speciality is Azure-rumped (Cabanis's) Tanager (most likely at Canada Honda), while others include Rufous Sabrewing, Sparkling-tailed Woodstar, Tody Motmot, Giant Wren (Tapachula area) and White-eared Ground-Sparrow. Other birds include Turquoise-browed Motmot (Paval area), Black-crested Coquette, Grey Silky and Long-tailed Manakin, and mammals present include Central American (Geoffrey's) Spider Monkey, Collared Peccary and Southern Ringtail (Cacomistle). Visitors must have permission from the Instituto de Historia Natural in Tuxtla Gutiérrez which can also help with the logistics in reaching the basic bunkhouse, which involves an uphill hike of about 11 km (6.5 miles), camping lower down, food and so on. The best time to visit is March when Horned Guans are usually calling.

    Estonia
    Arguably the widest variety of birds in Europe, during spring migration.

    Ethiopia
    Ethiopian Wolf, Gelada Baboon and 30 or so endemic birds including Stresemann's Bushcrow.

    Extremadura - Spain
    The best place in western Europe for bustards and raptors, including Spanish Eagle.

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    Falkland Islands
    King Penguins, Black-browed Albatross colonies and Southern Elephant Seals.

    Fiji
    Quintessential tropical islands with outrageous birds and fantasy fish on the coral reefs.

    Photograph of Orange Dove

    The uniquely beautiful Orange Dove is endemic to Fiji where this image was taken by Simon Colenutt.

    Finland and Arctic Norway
    A good chance of Brown Bear, a chance of Wolverine, owls and other birds.

    Florida - USA
    West Indian Manatee, waterbirds, Swallow-tailed and Snail Kites, and the endemic Florida Scrub Jay.

    France - Southern
    A wonderful combination of wetland and mountain birds in the Camargue and Pyrenees.

    French Polynesia
    Lots of seabirds including White Tern, and endemic birds such as Tuamotu Sandpiper.

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    Gabon
    Lowland Gorilla, a chance of Chimpanzee and Mandrill, and great birds like African River Martin.

    Galapagos
    Giant Tortoise, Marine Iguana and tame nesting seabirds such as Waved Albatross.

    Gambia
    Easy birding in a small country with Egyptian Plover, plus possibly Patas Monkey.

    Photograph of Abyssinian Roller

    This stunning image of an Abyssinian Roller was taken in Gambia by Nick Cobb.

    Georgia
    Caucasian Grouse, Caucasian Snowcock, Guldenstadt's Redstart and Caucasian Great Rosefinch.

    Ghana
    Several monkeys, and Upper Guinea Forest birds including Yellow-headed Picathartes.

    Goa, India
    Goa is India’s smallest state, just 130 km (80 miles) from north to south and 80 km (50 miles) wide. Situated on the tropical west coast, the white, palm-fringed beaches are a major tourist attraction, but the state is also a great place for birds, from the coast where the lakes, marshes, mudflats and mangroves support a wide range of waterbirds to the foothill forests of the Western Ghats at the eastern end of the state where it is possible to see over 30 of Southern India's endemic and near-endemic species. Water and open-country birds along the coast include Oriental Darter, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Indian Peafowl, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Greater Painted Snipe, Great Black-headed Gull, Plum-headed Parakeet, Black-capped and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, Wire-tailed Swallow, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Orange-headed Thrush and Long-tailed Shrike. To see the specialities however it is necessary to spend at least a few days in the Western Ghats, at places such as the famous Backwoods Camp for example, where it is possible to see Southern Indian endemics such as Grey Junglefowl, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar (Crimson-fronted) and White-cheeked Barbets, Flame-throated (Black-crested) Bulbul, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher and Malabar Whistling Thrush, near-endemics shared with Sri Lanka, including Blue-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Orange (Scarlet) Minivet and Indian (White-browed) Scimitar Babbler, and other spectacular species such as Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Indian Pitta (also possible elsewhere), Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Forest Wagtail, Golden-fronted Leafbird (also possible elsewhere), Indian Blue Robin, White-rumped Shama, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. The best time to look for birds is during the northern winter and in two weeks it is possible to see well over 250 species.

    Photograph of Brahminy Kite

    Brahminy Kite. One of the many spectacular birds easily seen at Goa. Image by Michael McKee.

    Greece
    Greater Flamingo, Pygmy Cormorant, pelicans and vulture feeding station. Also see Lesvos, below.

    Greenland and Arctic Canada
    Polar Bear, Walrus, Narwhal, Bowhead Whale, Beluga and Musk Ox make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Guatemala
    Although Guatemala is little more than one-twentieth the size of Mexico it has a birdlist of about 700, almost two-thirds of the Mexico total. Down south, Central American specialities include Crested and Highland Guans, Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds such as Rufous and Violet Sabrewings, Blue-throated and Tody Motmots, Chestnut-sided Shrike Vireo, Bushy-crested and Unicoloured Jays, Pink-headed Warbler and the rare Azure-rumped (Cabanis's) Tanager (Finca Los Andes), mostly in patches of remnant forest in and around shade-coffee plantations, and on the highest, steepest slopes of the dramatic volcanic landscape, at places such as El Espinero. On the high slopes of Volcan San Pedro around the beautiful crater lake Lago de Atitlan (where the endemic grebe became extinct in the early 1980s) it is also possible to see the localised, rare and spectacular Horned Guan, above 2500 m on the notoriously steep El Sendero de Lagrimas (The Trail of Tears). Up north is the Classic Mayan site of Tikal where the birdlife includes several Yucatan endemics such as Ocellated Turkey, Ocellated Poorwill and Grey-throated Chat, with numerous other spectacular birds, not least King Vulture and Keel-billed Toucan, as well as Black (Yucatan) Howler Monkey, Central American (Geoffrey's) Spider Monkey and confiding White-nosed Coatis. The peak time to look for birds is January to April.

    Photograph of Horned Guan

    The extraordinary Horned Guan by Jon Hornbuckle. It is only possible to see this bird in Guatemala or at remote El Triunfo in adjacent southern Mexico.

    Guyana
    Guianan Cock-of-the-rock and possibly Crimson Fruitcrow, plus Grey-winged Trumpeter.

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    Halmahera (and Sulawesi) - Indonesia
    Tarsier, Bear Cuscus and spectacular birds such as Wallace’s Standardwing and Knobbed Hornbill.

    Hange Tham - Nepal
    Himalayan forests where Red Panda is probable not possible!

    Hawaii
    Humpback Whale, Manta Ray, Bristle-thighed Curlew, seabirds and the endemic honeycreeper family.

    Hebrides (Outer) - Scotland
    Corn Crake, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, and a chance of Otter.

    Holland
    Hundreds of thousands of geese, as well as swans and Smews wintering.

    Honduras
    Whale Sharks, coral reef fish and birds such as Tody and Keel-billed Motmots.

    Hong Kong - China
    Thousands of summer-plumaged shorebirds possibly including Spoon-billed Sandpiper in April.

    Hungary
    Saker, tens of thousands of Cranes in November and Red-footed Falcons in summer.

    Photograph of Red-footed Falcon

    A great shot of a female Red-footed Falcon by Michael McKee.

    I

    Iceland
    Killer and Minke Whales, and birds such as Harlequin Duck,in great scenery.

    India - Goa
    See Goa, above.

    India - Northern
    Tiger, Asian Elephant, Gharial and many birds including Sarus Crane make this A Top Ten Destination.

    India - Northeastern
    Indian Rhinoceros, Hoolock Gibbon and some stunning birds like Himalayan Monal.

    India - Northwestern
    The best place in the world to look for Snow Leopard, high up in the high mountains of Ladakh.

    India - Southern
    Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque and endemic birds like Black-and-orange Flycatcher.

    India - Western
    Lion, Wild Ass, Blackbuck, thousands of Demoiselle Cranes and other birds such as Hypocolius.

    Photograph of Indian Courser

    The handsome Indian Courser is most likely to be seen in Western India. Image by Simon Colenutt.

    Indonesia - Java
    Javan Gibbon, leaf monkeys and lots of endemic birds including a trogon and a cochoa.

    Indonesia - Komodo
    Komodo Dragon, rich coral reefs with Green Turtles and birds such as Yellow-crested Cockatoo.

    Indonesia - Lesser Sundas
    See Lesser Sundas, below.

    Indonesia - Sulawesi and Halmahera
    Tarsier, Bear Cuscus and spectacular birds such as Wallace’s Standardwing and Knobbed Hornbill.

    Indonesia - Sumatra
    Orang-utan, Siamang, White-handed Gibbon and endemic birds including Sumatran Cochoa.

    Indonesia - West Papua
    Fantastic birds-of-paradise including Wilson's, and the richest coral reefs in the world!

    Iran
    There are some great birds in Iran, not least the endemic Pleske's Ground Jay which can be seen in the Dasht-e-Kavir Desert in the northeast. There are also a few regional endemics and specialities such as Sind Pied Woodpecker (southeast), Grey Hypocolius (southwest), Mesopotamian (Hooded) Crow (southwest), Afghan (Common) (south) and Iraq (southwest) Babblers, Caspian (Sombre) Tit (north), Black-headed Penduline Tit (north) and Basra Reed Warbler (southwest), plus Indian Pond Heron, Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Caspian Snowcock, See-see Partridge, Crab Plover, White-tailed Plover, Great Stone Plover, Indian Roller, several wheatears, White-throated Robin, Bay-backed Shrike, Asian Desert and Menetries's Warblers, Radde's Accentor, Purple Sunbird, Dead Sea Sparrow and Crimson-winged Finch, as well as a chance of Goliath Heron and Macqueen's Bustard. The best time to look for birds is April-May. Mammals include Asian Wild Ass (northeast), Mouflon, Ibex (Wild Goat), Golden Jackal, Goitered Gazelle and Chinkara (Indian Gazelle). About fifty (Asiatic) Cheetahs are thought to survive in the deserts of Iran, mainly around Dasht-e Kavir in the northeast, but like (Persian) Leopard, Caracal and Striped Hyaena they are rarely seen by visitors.

    Israel
    A migration bottleneck, especially for raptors and storks, plus some localised landbirds.

    Photograph of Masked Shrike

    The smart Masked Shrike is a regular spring migrant in Israel. Image by Michael McKee.

    Italy - Abruzzo National Park
    A good chance of Brown Bear and a few birds such as Golden Eagle.

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    Jamaica
    This small tropical island supports a staggering 30 endemic bird species (including the endemic nana subspecies of the widespread Olive-throated Parakeet, and Jamaican Oriole which occurs only on Jamaica and the remote island of San Andres). Many endemics are widespread. There are three hummingbirds, including two stunning streamertails, two parrots, a tody, an owl and Arrow-headed Warbler, as well as Ring-tailed Pigeon, Crested Quail Dove (most likely like several endemics along Ecclesdown Road in the John Crow Mountains), a lizard cuckoo (most likely at Hardwar Gap in the Blue Mountains), Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, a woodpecker, an elaenia, a pewee, two other flycatchers, a becard, two thrushes, a crow, two vireos, a tanager, a euphonia, a grassquit, Orangequit and a blackbird (most likely at Hardwar Gap). Twelve more widespread Caribbean endemics present include West Indian Whistling Duck, Vervain Hummingbird and Rufous-throated Solitaire, and other, more widespread, spectacular species include White-tailed Tropicbird (at Hector's River), Magnificent Frigatebird, Northern Potoo (the endemic jamaicensis race) and wintering warblers from North America, including Black-throated Blue, Cape May and Prairie. There are some spectacular butterflies too, not least the rarely reported endemic Giant Swallowtail (Papilio homerus) which with a wingspan of up to 15 cm is the largest swallowtail butterfly in the Americas. The best time to look for birds is February to early May, later for butterflies.

    Japan
    ‘Snow Monkey’ (Japanese Macaque), Steller’s Eagle and Red-crowned Cranes ‘dancing’ in the snow.

    Java
    Javan Gibbon, leaf monkeys and lots of endemic birds including a trogon and a cochoa.

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    Kamchatka (and the Kuril and Commander Islands) - Russia
    Whales, Brown Bear and zillions of seabirds possibly including Short-tailed Albatross.

    Kazakhstan
    Ibisbill, White-browed Tit Warbler, Black and White-winged Larks, and Great Gerbil.

    Kenya
    The best overall wildlife experience in the world and therefore A Top Ten Destination.

    Photograph of Africa Pygmy Kingfisher

    Pygmy Kingfisher by Martin Goodey, one of nine species of kingfisher possible on a trip to Kenya.

    Komodo - Indonesia
    Komodo Dragon, rich coral reefs with Green Turtles and birds such as Yellow-crested Cockatoo.

    Korea - South
    See South Korea, below.

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    Ladakh - Northwestern India
    The best place in the world to look for Snow Leopard, high up in the high mountains of Ladakh.

    Lesser Sundas
    East of Bali, the islands of Komodo (where the world's largest lizard lives), Flores, Sumba and Timor in Wallacea support more than 80 endemic bird species, including Sumba Buttonquail (Sumba), Citron-crested (Sumba) and Yellow-crested Cockatoos, Wallace's Hanging Parrot (Flores), pigeons, fruit doves, owls, Sumba Hornbill (Sumba), Cinnamon-banded and Glittering (White-rumped) (Flores, Sumbawa and Lombok) Kingfishers, Elegant Pitta, Chestnut-backed, Chestnut-capped and Orange-banded (Timor and Wetar) Thrushes, flycatchers including the very handsome Black-banded (Timor), Bare-throated Whistler (Flores and Sumbawa), Buff-banded Bushbird (Timor), Russet-capped Tesia (Flores and Sumbawa), dark-eyes, white-eyes, flowerpeckers, Apricot-breasted (Sumba) and Flame-breasted Sunbirds, Tricoloured Parrotfinch and Timor Sparrow (Timor). More widespread spectacular species include Lesser Frigatebird, Green Junglefowl, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Javan and Malaysian Plovers, Black-naped Tern, Rainbow Bee-eater, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Pygmy Cupwing (Wren Babbler) (subspecies on Flores and Timor). The best time to look for birds is mid-August to October.

    Lesvos
    The Greek island of Lesvos is situated in the Aegean Sea to the east of mainland Greece, although it is actually next to the west coast of Turkey. It is a very popular destination with birders during the northern spring when large numbers of a wide variety of birds migrate through the island, including herons, Pallid Harriers, Eleonora's and Red-footed Falcons, Little Crakes, shorebirds including Collared Pratincoles, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Rollers, Red-throated Pipits, Collared Flycatchers, warblers and shrikes. The numbers of passage migrant birds usually peak in the second half of April which coincides with the usual arrival period of breeding summer visitors such as Short-toed Eagle, European Bee-eater, Isabelline Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Rufous Bush Chat), Masked Shrike, Olive-tree, Eastern Orphean and Ruppell's Warblers, and Black-headed, Cinereous and Cretzschmar's Buntings. These join resident species such as Ruddy Shelduck, Greater Flamingo, White and Black Storks, Long-legged Buzzard, Sombre Tit, and Kruper's and Rock Nuthatches to make a fine selection of birds which may also include rarer migrants such as Levant Sparrowhawk, Baillon's Crake, Spur-winged Plover and Great Snipe, while around the coast there is a chance of Audouin's Gull (a rare resident) and offshore a better chance of Scopoli's (Cory's) and Yelkouan (Balearic) Shearwaters.

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    Madagascar
    Lemurs like Indri, chameleons and about 100 endemic birds including five Ground Rollers.

    Photograph of Blue Vanga

    Blue Vanga by Dubi Shapiro, one of many unique and stunning birds on the island of Madagascar.

    Madeira
    Bulwer's, Fea's and Zino's Petrels, Madeiran and White-faced Storm Petrels, and dolphins.

    Maine
    From late May to late June in Maine (and New Hampshire), the peak of the breeding season where many species reach their northernmost or southernmost limits, it is possible to see thousands of seabirds such as Great Shearwater, Leach's and Wilson's Petrels (all three as well as Fin Whales in 'the Ballpark', a rich area of upwelling accessible, along with Petit Manan Island, on half-day boat trips out of Bar Harbor), and Atlantic Puffin (on Machias Seal and Petit Manan Islands), Ruffed and Spruce Grouse, Bald Eagle, 'Eastern' Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Blue-headed Vireo, lots of flycatchers, Blue and Grey Jays, Boreal Chickadee, several thrushes including Bicknell’s (at Jefferson Notch/Mount Washington in the White Mountains, just across the state border in New Hampshire) and up to 25 species of warbler including Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided and Magnolia, as well as, possibly, American Woodcock, Piping Plover and Black-backed Woodpecker, while other mammals include Moose, Eastern Chipmunk and Snowshoe Hare, with a chance of Atlantic White-sided Dolphin (especially in September) out of Bar Harbor.

    Malaysia - Borneo
    Orang-utan, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Gibbon and many top birds make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Malaysia - Malay Peninsula
    A chance of Malayan Tapir, Siamang and White-handed Gibbon, and many lovely birds.

    Malawi
    Pel's Fishing Owl, Boehm's Bee-eater, White-winged Apalis and some mammals.

    Maldives
    Whales and dolphins, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays, and fanastic fish.

    Manitoba - Canada
    The greatest concentration of Polar Bears in the world, during October.

    Manu (Southern Peru)
    Clay-licks which attract many macaws, and many other birds such as Pale-winged Trumpeter.

    Massachusetts - USA
    Humpback Whales and seabirds during the summer.

    Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues
    Since Mauritius was discovered by modern man in the late 1500s all but 3% of the natural vegetation has been destroyed and several species have become extinct, notably the Dodo which was wiped out by the 1660s. Most of the surviving endemic birds are endangered too, especially the kestrel, the pigeon and the parakeet, while the other five endemics are all declining; a rare cuckoo shrike, a rare bulbul, a rare white-eye, a relatively 'common' white-eye and a rare fody. Other birds present on the island include Mascarene Swiftlet, Mascarene Martin, the rare Mascarene (Mauritius) Paradise Flycatcher (which also occurs on Reunion) and several introduced species. One of the best places to see the endemic landbirds is Black River Gorges National Park although Bras d'Eau National Park is better for the paradise flycatcher. Seawatching is arguably best from La Roche qui Pleure on the south coast where the possibilities include Barau's, Herald/Trinidade/Round Island and Mascarene Petrels. From the north coast it is possible to telescope Gunner's Quoin Island although it is better to hire a boat to visit the island and the surrounding waters in order to see both tropicbirds and Masked Booby. Other possible seabirds around the island include Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Brown and Lesser Noddies, and Sooty Tern. Offshore, Round Island, which can be viewed by boat, supports nesting Herald/Trinidade/Round Island Petrels, the largest colony of Red-tailed Tropicbirds in the Indian Ocean (2000-2500 pairs), lesser numbers of White-tailed Tropicbirds and large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, as well as an endemic boa and skink.

    The heavily degraded island of Rodrigues supports two endemic landbirds; a warbler and a fody, both of which are rare in some high vegetated gulleys, as well as Rodrigues (Golden) Flying Fox.

    The forested volcanic mountains of Reunion are where Barau’s and Mascarene (Reunion Black) Petrels nest, and they also support six endemic landbirds; a harrier, a cuckoo shrike, a bulbul, a stonechat and two white-eyes, all of which can be seen in remnant natural forest along the trail from La Roche Ecrite, about half an hour by road from St Denis. Other landbirds present there include Mascarene (Reunion) Paradise Flycatcher, while seawatching near dusk from the the St. Etienne rivermouth area may reveal Barau's and Mascarene Petrels, and Audubon's (Tropical) Shearwaters, massing before flying inland to their nesting sites high among the volcanic peaks. The best time to visit these islands is October-November.

    Mexico - Baja California
    Whales and dolphins galore, including Blue Whale and confiding Grey Whales.

    Mexico - Central (Michoacan)
    Millions of Monarch butterflies at their winter roosts make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Mexico - El Triunfo
    See El Triunfo, Mexico, above.

    Photograph of Red Warbler

    The one-and-only Red Warbler can be seen only in Mexico, where this image was taken by Simon Colenutt.

    Mexico - Oaxaca
    See Oaxaca, Mexico, below.

    Mexico - Southern (Yucatan-Chiapas)
    One of the best places in the world to swim with Whale Sharks.

    Mexico - Veracruz
    The best raptor migration in the world, with 4-6 million birds each autumn/fall.

    Mexico - Western (including the Durango Highway, San Blas, and Colima and Jalisco)
    The spectacular endemic Tufted Jay can be seen in the Sierra Madre Occidental, accessible along the Durango Highway, along which also occur the rare Sinaloa Martin, Red-headed Tanager and Mexico's famous flocks of warblers which here contain Crescent-chested, Olive, Red and Red-faced. Lower down, specialities include Military Macaw, Purplish-backed Jay and wintering Black-capped Vireos. At the coast, on the Gulf of California, rocky islets viewable (with telescopes) from Mazatlan support breeding Red-billed Tropicbirds and Blue-footed Boobies. Further south along the Pacific coast lies the small holiday resort of San Blas where it is possible to see 250 species in a week, less than a thousand miles south of the U.S. border, including about 30 endemics (such as Citreoline Trogon and San Blas Jay), as well as Rufous-necked Wood Rail, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Collared Forest Falcon, Northern Potoo, Military Macaw, Russet-crowned Motmot, Fan-tailed Warbler and Rosy Thrush Tanager. Humpback Whales spend the northern winter in Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, where on organised whale-watching trips it is also possible to see Bottlenose and Spotted Dolphins. Not much further south is the small state of Colima which together with parts of neighbouring Jalisco supports about 40 endemics including San Blas Jay, Aztec Thrush, Red Warbler and Orange-breasted Bunting, as well as Grey Silky, Chestnut-sided Shrike Vireo, many warblers including Colima and Golden-browed, and Red-breasted Chat. The smoking Volcan de Fuego is one of the best sites, although the vast flocks of Yellow-headed Blackbirds winter on the Ciudad Guzman Marshes. At the coast, boat trips can be arranged out of Manzanillo to a big rock called Piedra Blanca where Red-billed Tropicbirds breed. The best time to bird Western Mexico is January-February.

    Micronesia - Palau and Yap
    One of the best places in the world to snorkel or scuba-dive with Manta Rays.

    Minnesota
    The boreal bogs and forests of northern Minnesota, especially Sax-Zim Bog and the Superior National Forest north of Duluth, are famous for Great Grey Owls, although there are not many of them and they can be difficult to find. It is probably easier to find them during the extremely cold winter months when it is also possible to see Boreal (Tengmalm's), Hawk and Snowy Owls, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, and Hoary (Arctic) Redpoll, as well as white Short-tailed Weasel (Stoat) at some of the several feeding stations. Looking for them in early June it is also possible to see over 20 species of warbler including Blackburnian, Canada, Cape May, Connecticut, Golden-winged, Magnolia and Mourning, all in full song and breeding plumage, as well as Sandhill Crane and Blue-headed Vireo. Resident species include Ruffed Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Grey Jay and Boreal Chickadee. Elsewhere in the state Maplewood State Park is a particularly good place for Golden-winged Warbler and out west in the Felton prairies Greater Prairie Chicken is possible. To the west lies North Dakota, described below.

    Photograph of Pine Grosbeak

    Pine Grosbeak in a snowy Minnesota winter by Chris Townend.

    Mongolia
    One of the last wild places, with Relict Gull, Oriental Plover and Great Gerbil.

    Morocco - Southern
    The richest birdlife in North Africa, from the Atlantic to the edge of the Sahara.

    Mozambique
    Manta Rays, Whale Sharks and spectacular birds such as African Pitta.

    Mull (and Scottish Highlands) - Scotland
    Otter, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, and Puffin.

    Myanmar (Burma)
    Myanmar (Burma) has four endemic bird species; Burmese Bushlark, White-throated Babbler, Hooded Treepie and White-browed Nuthatch, eight including Jerdon's (White-bellied) Minivet, Burmese (Black-browed) Bushtit, Davison's (Stripe-throated) Bulbul and Mount Victoria (Chinese) Babax. The bulbul occurs in Hlawga Park near Yangon (Rangoon), the lark, minivet, babbler and treepie on the plains along the banks of the Irrawaddy River (‘the road to Mandalay’) near Bagan (along with the rare White-rumped Falcon), and the tit, nuthatch and babax not far away in Natmataung (Mount Victoria) National Park near Kanpetlet in the Chin Hills, steep mountains which form a southern extension of the Himalayas, where several other birds which are very difficult to see elsewhere also occur, including Buff-breasted (Black-throated) Parrotbill, Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Chin Hills (Long-tailed) Wren Babbler, Brown-capped and Striped Laughingthrushes, Streak-throated Barwing, Grey Sibia and Grey-sided Thrush, as well as more widespread spectacular species such as Hodgson's Frogmouth, Black-eared, Black-headed and Green Shrike Babblers, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Magpies, Himalayan Cutia, Red-tailed Minla, and Fire-tailed and Gould's Sunbirds. In the east the virtually endemic Burmese Yuhina can be seen near Kalaw in the hills of Shan State along with, at Inle Lake, Jerdon's Bushchat, Chinese (Rufous-rumped) Grassbird (Babbler) and Collared Myna. Down south it is possible to see Spoon-billed Sandpipers on their wintering grounds and in the process promote ecotourism as an alternative to hunting the birds which are now on the brink of extinction. Most of the remaining population (perhaps less than 200) winters on the Myanmar coast where the vast mudflats support thousands of other shorebirds. The best place is near Moulmein on the Gulf of Martaban. Another very rare bird, Gurney's Pitta, is now virtually impossible to see in Southern Thailand, but it does occur in far south Myanmar, in Tenasserim, along with (Malayan) Banded, Blue-winged and Garnet Pittas, and Plain-pouched Hornbill. The best time to search for pittas is mid-March to mid-April when the birds are normally at their most vocal. Back in Yangon there is a roost of half a million or so Asian Wrinkle-lipped Bats at the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda and they can be seen leaving the temple at dusk. The best time for most birds 'up north' is November to March.

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    Namibia
    Mammals including Black Rhinoceros, birds like White-tailed Shrike and some stunning desert scenery.

    Nebraska (Platte River) - USA
    A resting and refuelling place for half a million migrating Sandhill Cranes during March.

    Nepal
    Indian Rhinoceros, Gharial, many amazing birds and the fantastic Himalayas.

    Nepal - Hange Tham
    Himalayan forests where Red Panda is probable not possible!

    Netherlands
    Hundreds of thousands of geese, as well as swans and Smews wintering.

    New Brunswick-Nova Scotia (Eastern Canada)
    Fin, Northern Right and a chance of Humpback Whales, seabirds, shorebirds and warblers.

    New Caledonia
    The unique Kagu and other endemic birds including a tool-using crow.

    Photograph of Kagu

    The unique Kagu by Simon Colenutt, endemic to the island of New Caledonia.

    Newfoundland - Canada
    Humpback Whales and spectacular seabird colonies.

    New Mexico (Bosque del Apache) - USA
    Tens of thousands of Snow Geese and thousands of Sandhill Cranes wintering.

    New Zealand
    Sperm Whale, dolphins, close-up seabirds and over 45 endemic birds including kiwis.

    New Zealand - Subantarctic Islands
    Millions of marine mammals and birds, notably Royal Penguin and Shore Plover.

    North Carolina
    During the summer, especially late May to early June, up to 40 miles off Cape Hatteras, where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream meet the cool waters of the Labrador Current, there is a considerable upwelling of nutrients which in turn provide a rich food supply for a wonderful selection of seabirds. Regular species are Black-capped Petrel, Audubon's, Cory’s (borealis and diomedea) and Great Shearwaters, Band-rumped (Grant's), Leach's and Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Bridled Tern and Pomarine Jaeger (Skua), less regular species include Manx Shearwater, South Polar Skua, Long-tailed Jaeger (Skua) and Sooty Tern, and rare species include Bermuda, Fea's and Herald (Trinidade arminjoniana race) Petrels. Whales, dolphins, turtles, flying fish and even Blue Marlin are also possible. The all-day pelagics are run by Seabirding. Along the coast and inland there are some great birds too, including Brown Pelican, a wide variety of herons, Clapper Rail, shorebirds including Piping Plover, Black Skimmer, Blue Jay and Seaside Sparrow, as well as Southeastern United States specialities such as Wilson’s Plover, Red-cockaded (Croatan NF) and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Swainson’s and Prothonotary Warblers, Summer Tanager, Bachman’s Sparrow and Painted Bunting.

    North Dakota
    The rolling grasslands and wetlands in prairie-pothole country near Jamestown in Kidder County on the Great Plains of eastern North Dakota are famous for nesting waterbirds, especially ducks (the region is often referred to as the 'Duck Factory' of North America), but also Western Grebe, American White Pelican (one of the continent's largest breeding colonies is at Chase Lake NWR), American Bittern, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, California and Franklin’s Gulls, and Black and Forster's Terns. The grasslands support the rare Sprague's Pipit and Baird's Sparrow, as well as Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ferruginous Hawk, Dickcissel, Grasshopper and Vesper Sparrows, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Bobolink and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Just to the east is Minnesota, described above. The peak time for birding is early June.

    Norway (Arctic, and Finland)
    A good chance of Brown Bear, a chance of Wolverine, owls and other birds.

    Nova Scotia-New Brunswick (Eastern Canada)
    Fin, Northern Right and a chance of Humpback Whales, seabirds, shorebirds and warblers.

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    Photograph of Rosita's Bunting

    Rosita's or Rose-bellied Bunting by Simon Colenutt. This beauty can be seen alongside another Mexican endemic and the equally stunning Orange-breasted Bunting in the state of Oaxaca.

    Oaxaca - Mexico
    There are probably more bird species in Oaxaca than any other Mexican state; nearly 700, and almost 100 of these are regional endemics. The area around the city of Oaxaca is also one of the richest regions in Mexico for endemic birds and many of these occur: on Cerro San Felipe (La Cumbre), notable for Dwarf Jay and lots of warblers including Red; along Route 175 North (the striking Slaty Vireo and, nearer the town of Valle Nacional, Tody Motmot); and at Monte Alban, home of the skulking Ocellated Thrasher. Other great birds around the city include Grey Silky and Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, with a chance of Aztec Thrush. Further afield, the Sierra Madre del Sur near Puerto Angel on the Pacific coast supports more endemics and Red-breasted Chat (most likely in Parque Nacional Huatulca), and on pelagic boat trips out of places such as Huatulca and Puerto Angel it is possible, on good days, to see Townsend’s Shearwater, as well as Audubon's (Galapagos) and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Black and Least Storm Petrels, and Nazca (Masked) Booby. At the far eastern end of the state, live two fantastic endemic birds; Orange-breasted and Rosita’s Buntings, which can be seen side-by-side in the Tapanatepec Foothills along with such birds as Citreoline Trogon, Russet-crowned Motmot and White-throated Magpie Jay. The endemic Giant Wren (a real giant!) occurs not far away, near the small town of Puerto Arista in the state of Chiapas, and beyond there in Chiapas lies the Biosphere Reserve Selva el Ocote (Nava's Wren), El Sumidero Canyon (Belted Flycatcher and a chance of Slender Sheartail) and the warbler-filled woods of San Cristobal de las Casas (Golden-cheeked and Pink-headed Warblers, and a chance of Blue-throated Motmot and Black-throated Jay). The best time to look for birds is January to April.

    Oman
    Crab Plover, Sooty Falcon and a chance of Hypocolius in some splendid desert scenery.

    Ontario (Point Pelee) - Canada
    A migration bottleneck in spring, great for up to 30 species of New World warblers.

    Oregon
    Because there are so many habitats in such a small area in Oregon there is a greater diversity of birds than in any other similar-sized area in the world at a similar latitude. The range of birds is impressive, whether it is the second half of May, the peak spring period when songbirds are singing and in spring plumage or the first two weeks of September when huge numbers of birds are passing through on southward migration, and includes Harlequin Duck, Mountain Quail, Bald Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Sandhill Crane, American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, several owls, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds, lots of woodpeckers and flycatchers, Clark's Nutcracker, Wrentit, Mountain Bluebird, Varied Thrush, Lazuli Bunting and Evening Grosbeak, with trickier species including Yellow Rail (Klamath Marsh NWR), Tufted Puffin (Cape Kiwanda SNA), Great Grey Owl (sometimes nesting on known nesting platforms in the Blue Mountains near La Grande) and Tricoloured Blackbird. Mammals include several chipmunks and ground-squirrels, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Pronghorn and Yellow-bellied Marmot. In addition, on full-day pelagic trips out of Newport in September it is possible to see Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel and other seabirds such as Laysan Albatross.

    Outer Hebrides - Scotland
    Corn Crake, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, and a chance of Otter.

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    (Western) Pacific Odyssey
    An incredible selection of seabirds including Short-tailed Albatross and New Zealand Storm Petrel.

    Palau (and Yap) - Micronesia
    One of the best places in the world to snorkel or scuba-dive with Manta Rays.

    Panama
    Resplendent Quetzal, sloths, monkeys, Manta Rays and turtles.

    Pantanal (Southern Brazil)
    Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Hyacinth Macaws and Iguassu Falls make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Papua New Guinea
    Fantastic birds-of-paradise, including Blue, and some of the richest coral reefs in the world.

    Photograph of Raggiana Bird-of-paradise

    Don't think fabulous birds like the Raggiana Bird-of-paradise can only be seen on TV. This image was taken just a comfortable couple of hours out of Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, before it and other males began displaying! Watching them in Varirata National Park was Mark Harper.

    Paraguay
    Not a single species of bird is endemic to the country of Paraguay, but the vast plains of chaco, cerrado and flooded grasslands, together with pantanal wetlands and remnant Atlantic Forest, do support many rare and restricted-range species, notably those endemic to the chaco, and they include Greater Rhea, Chaco Nothura, Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Southern Screamer, Spot-winged Falconet (Parque Nacional Teniente Agripino Enciso), Black-legged and Red-legged Seriemas, Giant Snipe (Laguna Blanca), Chaco Owl (PN Enciso), Sickle-winged (Isla Yacyreta) and White-winged (Laguna Blanca) Nightjars, Surucua Trogon, Violet-crested Plovercrest (at San Rafael, a very birdy area where about 430 bird species have been recorded), Rufous-capped Motmot, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets, lots of woodpeckers including Black-bodied and Helmeted (Mbaracayu Biosphere Reserve), lots of woodcreepers including Great Rufous and Scimitar-billed (both in PN Enciso), Crested Gallito (PN Enciso), Lark-like Brushrunner, Cock-tailed, Sharp-tailed, Strange-tailed and Streamer-tailed Tyrants, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, Bearded Tachuri, Rufous Gnateater, Chaco (Olive-crowned) and Collared Crescentchests, Sharpbill, Bare-throated Bellbird (Mbaracayu), Band-tailed Manakin (Mbaracayu), Wing-barred Piprites, Curl-crested Jay, seedeaters, and Saffron-cowled and Scarlet-headed Blackbirds. This is hard country to see mammals in - thick bush, few tracks - but persistence may pay off with Brazilian Tapir, Chaco Peccary (Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco), Plains Viscacha, Chacoan Mara, Black Howler, Dusky (Pale) Titi Monkey, Azara's Night Monkey, Black-tailed Marmoset, armadillos and even Jaguar, Puma, Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater, Giant Otter (pantanal) and Geoffroy's Cat. The best time to visit Paraguay is mid-September to the end of October.

    Peru - Central
    Spectacular birds in spectacular mountain scenery, with a chance of 50 highland endemics and many other high elevation specialities including the flightless Junin Grebe (on National Park zodiac boat trips), Andean Ibis, Junin (Black) Rail, Diademed Sandpiper Plover (Marcapomacocha), Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean and Puna Snipes, Grey-breasted and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes, ground doves, Oilbird (thousands in cave near Tingo Maria), hummingbirds such as Bronze-tailed Comet (Santa Eulalia Valley), Black-breasted Hillstar, Fire-throated Metaltail and Olivaceous Thornbill, Golden-headed Quetzal, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, White-bellied Cinclodes (Marcapomacocha and Ticlio Bog/Pass), Striated Earthcreeper, canasteros, Eye-ringed Thistletail, antpittas, tapaculos, chat tyrants, ground tyrants, tit tyrants, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant (Lake Junin), Bay-vented (Bosque Unchog) and White-cheeked (Andamarca Valley via Santa Eulalia Valley) Cotingas, Band-tailed, Barred, Green-and-black (Huanaco) and Masked Fruiteaters (all four along Paty Trail), White-eared Solitaire, White-collared Jay, brush finches, mountain tanagers including the endemic Golden-backed Mountain Tanager (Bosque Unchog), Golden-collared, Grass-green, Huallaga and Yellow-scarfed Tanagers, Rufous-browed Hemispingus (Bosque Unchog), Pardusco (Bosque Unchog), Giant Conebill, Tit-Like Dacnis, sierra finches, Plain-tailed and Rufous-breasted Warbling Finches, and Great and Rufous-backed Inca Finches. Not so many mammals though, probably Northern Viscacha and possibly Andean Fox, Andean Huemul and Vicuna. The best time to look for birds is June-July.

    Photograph of White-bellied Cinclodes

    A great photograph of a displaying White-bellied Cinclodes at Marcapomacocha by Dubi Shapiro. This photograph won the Critically Endangered Birds category in the 2013 international photo competition run by The World’s Rarest Birds project which aims to support BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Programme.

    Peru - Manu - Southern
    Clay-licks which attract many macaws, and many other birds such as Pale-winged Trumpeter.

    Peru - Northeastern (Iquitos)
    Over 600 bird species in a small area of Amazonia including Black-necked Red Cotinga.

    Peru - Northern
    Many hummingbirds including Marvellous Spatuletail and a chance of Long-whiskered Owlet.

    Photograph of Marvellous Spatuletail

    Marvellous Spatuletail by Ian Merrill, arguably the world's most spectacular hummingbird, found only in a few places in Northern Peru.

    Philippines
    Dugong, Manta Ray, Whale Shark, fabulous fish and around 200 endemic birds.

    Platte River (Nebraska) - USA
    A resting and refuelling place for half a million migrating Sandhill Cranes during March.

    Point Pelee (Ontario) - Canada
    A migration bottleneck in spring, great for up to 30 species of New World warblers.

    Poland
    Ancient lowland forest and the largest inland wetland left in Europe.

    Polynesia
    Lots of seabirds including White Tern, and endemic birds such as Tuamotu Sandpiper.

    Portugal
    Greater Flamingo, Azure-winged Magpie, bustards and Black-shouldered Kite.

    Poyang Hu - Eastern China
    The 'Birds of Heaven', that is cranes, lots of wintering cranes, including Siberian.

    Puerto Rico
    This small island supports 16 endemic bird species. There is a tody and the brilliant Elfin-woods Warbler, as well as a lizard cuckoo, a nightjar (difficult to see), two hummingbirds, a woodpecker, a pewee, a vireo, a warbler, two tanagers, a bullfinch, a blackbird (only likely to be seen at La Parguera), an oriole and a parrot although this is very rare and unlikely to be seen, even where most of the wild and released birds are, in the Caribbean National Forest in the Luquillo Mountains, particularly at Rio Abajo. Two other species are near-endemics; a screech-owl and a flycatcher, both of which otherwise occur only sparingly on the Virgin Islands. More widespread Caribbean endemics include two more hummingbirds and Red-legged Thrush, while other spectacular species present include White-tailed Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird and wintering warblers from North America such as Prairie. It is possible to see all of the endemics except the parrot in a few days hence many birders combine a trip to this island with the Dominican Republic. Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques glows blue-green at night with millions of microscopic phosphorescent dinoflagellates, a wonderful sight best seen on a cloudy moonless night all year round. The best time to look for birds is March-April.

    Q

    Quebec - Canada
    A good chance of Beluga, Blue, Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales by boat, zodiac and kayak where the Saguenay Fjord meets the St Lawrence out of the town of Tadoussac from mid-June to September, especially mid-September for Blue Whale. Also Laurentides Wildlife Reserve for Black Bear (from hides and vehicles), Matane Wildlife Reserve for Moose and the Gaspe Peninsula/Gaspesie National Park for (Woodland) Caribou and a colony of nearly 50,000 pairs of Northern Gannets, possibly the largest on Earth, on Bonaventure Island. Other birds possible include Bald Eagle, Ruffed and Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, up to 20 species of warbler, and Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, with Bicknell's Thrush at the top of Mount Saint Anne near Perce. During late September-early October, when the autumnal colours are usually at their peak, up to 50,000 migrating (Greater) Snow Geese and other waterfowl gather at the Cape Tourmente National Wildlife Area.

    Queensland (Eastern Australia)
    Platypus, Koala, the Great Barrier Reef and numerous birds including Southern Cassowary.

    R

    Romania
    Brown Bear and waterbirds galore in the Danube Delta, including pelicans.

    Russia - Arctic
    The richest tundra in the world, and birds such as Siberian Crane and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

    Russia - Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands
    Whales, Brown Bear and zillions of seabirds possibly including Short-tailed Albatross.

    Rwanda
    Mountain Gorilla and possibly Chimpanzee, plus Albertine Rift Endemic birds.

    Photograph of Mountain Gorilla

    A magnificent silverback Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda by Max Chiswick.

    S

    St Lucia
    This island in the Lesser Antilles is just 43 km (27 miles) long and 23 km (14 miles) wide. Its forested slopes support the richest avifauna in the Lesser Antilles including four endemic bird species; a parrot, a warbler, a black finch and an oriole, with three more possibles; the island forms of Rufous Nightjar, House Wren and Lesser Antillean Pewee. Another endemic, Semper’s Warbler, has not been seen since 1967 and is now thought to be extinct. There are also several Lesser Antillean endemics; Lesser Antillean Swift, Purple-throated Carib, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted and White-breasted Thrashers, Grey Trembler, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch and Lesser Antillean Saltator, and five more widespread Caribbean endemics; Bridled Quail Dove, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Rufous-throated Solitaire and Antillean Euphonia. Other spectacular species include Red-billed Tropicbird (most likely at Cape Moule à Chique at the southern tip of the island), Magnificent Frigatebird and Mangrove Cuckoo. The Des Cartiers Trail in Quilesse Forest Reserve, about two hours south of Anse Chastanet, is arguably the best forest trail on the island. On boat trips off Soufriere, Fraser's, Spinner and Pantropical Spotted Dolphins are possible and also offshore there are many coral reef fishes, and Green and Hawksbill Turtles. The best time to look for birds is February-April.

    Samoa (Western)
    Samoa consists of two large islands (Upolu and Savai’i) and eight islets and supports at least nine endemic bird species; Tooth-billed Pigeon (which is very rare and unlikely to be seen), a fruit-dove, Flat-billed Kingfisher, a honeyeater known as Mao, a whistler, a triller, a fantail, a flycatcher and a white-eye, with one more, Samoan Starling, confined to (Western) Samoa and American Samoa (see above). All but the white-eye occur on Upolu where White Terns, White-tailed Tropicbirds and Brown Noddies grace the skies and other landbirds include Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Many-coloured Fruit Dove, Cardinal Myzomela, Wattled Honeyeater, Pacific Robin, Polynesian Starling and Red-headed Parrotfinch. Several endemics can be seen at the botanical gardens and in Mount Vaea Scenic Reserve where Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, is buried. To see the rare white-eye it is necessary to hike high up Mount Silisili from the village of A'opo on the island of Savai'i. All of the other endemics occur here too. Seawatching may produce Grey-backed (Spectacled) Tern, as well as Red-footed Booby, Great Frigatebird and Black-naped Tern. The best time to look for the endemics is July to September.

    Photograph of Many-coloured Fruit Dove

    The pretty Many-coloured Fruit Dove can be seen on Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. Image by Simon Colenutt.

    Sao Tome and Principe
    These two small islands in the Gulf of Guinea support up to 30 endemic bird species and it is possible to see all of them during a short visit although some are very rare. The hardest to see on Sao Tome are (Dwarf) Olive Ibis, Bocage's Longbill (Sao Tome Short-tail) and, especially, Sao Tome Fiscal and Sao Tome Grosbeak. All four are most likely to be seen on a camping trip to the best remaining forest on Monte Carmo, although the grosbeak also occurs at Xufe-Xufe. The other 13 endemics on Sao Tome are Maroon Pigeon (most likely high up on the trail to Lagoa Amelia), Forest Dove, a green pigeon, a scops owl, an oriole, a paradise flycatcher, a prinia, a speirops, a thrush, two sunbirds and two weavers. Some taxonomists believe the island forms of Malachite Kingfisher, Chestnut-winged Starling and Sao Tome White-eye are also endemic, bringing the total to 20. Two species occur on both islands; Sao Tome Spinetail and Principe Seedeater. On Principe, as well as the island race of Sao Tome White-eye, there may be as many as eight more endemics, seven of which can be seen around the luxurious Bom Bom Island Resort which caters mainly for scuba diving and Marlin fishing; Principe (White-bellied) Kingfisher, Dohrn’s Thrush Babbler, a glossy starling, Principe (Velvet-mantled) Drongo, a sunbird, a speirops and a golden weaver. The tricky ones to see are the white-eye and especially Principe Thrush although the latter is possible on Pico Mesa. Other species present on Principe include the dryas race of Blue-breasted Kingfisher and African Grey Parrot, both of which are still relatively 'common'. Boat trips can be arranged to look for seabirds on offshore islets and volcanic plugs, including White-tailed Tropicbird and Brown Noddy, while Black Noddies and Sooty Terns nest on their thousands on the more distant Tinhosas Islands. The best time to visit the islands for birds is July-November. The best time for Green and Leatherback Turtles nesting on the beaches is December to March.

    Scotland - Highlands to Mull
    Otter, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, and Puffin.

    Scotland - Outer Hebrides
    Corn Crake, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, and a chance of Otter.

    Scotland - Shetland
    Otter, Red-necked Phalarope, seabird cliffs and a chance of Killer Whale.

    Senegal
    Waterbirds, bustards, Black Crowned Crane, Swallow-tailed Kite and Egyptian Plover.

    Seychelles
    Rare endemic landbirds like a paradise flycatcher, and seabird colonies.

    Photograph of Seychelles Blue Pigeon

    Seychelles Blue Pigeon, one of several endemic landbirds on the Seychelles, by Brian Field.

    Shetland - Scotland
    Otter, Red-necked Phalarope, seabird cliffs and a chance of Killer Whale.

    Sichuan - China
    Many superb birds, not least colourful pheasants and Firethroat, and a good chance of Red Panda.

    Sierra Leone
    Monkeys, a chance of Chimpanzee and spectacular birds such as Yellow-headed Picathartes.

    Solomon Islands
    There are more restricted-range bird species, that is species with ranges of less than 50,000 square kilometres, in the Solomon Islands than anywhere else on Earth. The number of endemics varies according to taxonomist but there are probably at least 80 and potentially lots more due to the presence of many subspecies, as well as at least 20 species which otherwise occur only on other islands in Melanesia. To stand a chance of seeing all the endemics visitors will need to take many internal flights and be prepared to sail several times in order to visit Guadalcanal (where the capital Honiara is situated and there are 2+ island endemics including Guadacanal Moustached Kingfisher, the first male of which was controversially 'collected' in 2015), Rennell (5+ island endemics including a shrikebill), Makira (12+), Malaita (3+), Santa Isabel (several endemics shared with Bougainville, including Fearful Owl, Solomons Frogmouth and Black-faced Pitta (all recently recorded near the village of Tirotonga, the single known site for the pitta), Kolombangara (2+ including the flightless Roviana Rail), Gizo (1+), Ranongga (1+), Vella Lavella (1+) and, in the Santa Cruz Islands at the southeastern end of the long archipelago, Nendo (1+) and Vanikolo (1+). Then there is Bougainville (4+ including the rarely reported Bougainville Moustached Kingfisher) at the northern end to consider, although this is politically part of Papua New Guinea. The endemics also include Sanford's Sea Eagle, Ducorp's Cockatoo, Ultramarine Kingfisher and several honeyeaters, myzomelas, fantails, monarchs, white-eyes and starlings, while there is also a good chance of seeing Heinroth's Shearwater, a rare near-endemic. As well as birds, the Arnavon Islands to the northwest of Santa Isabel support one of the most important rookeries in the west Pacific for Hawksbill Turtle and coral reefs surrounding many smaller islands are rich in marine life. The best time to look for birds is July to September.

    South Africa - Eastern
    Mammals including White and Black Rhinoceroses, and Meerkat, plus lots of birds.

    South Africa - Western
    Great White Shark, Southern Right Whale, Meerkat and endemic birds.

    South Georgia (and Antarctica and the Falklands)
    Whales, penguins, albatrosses in the most amazing settings on Earth make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Photograph of Black-browed Albatross

    Albatrosses in the Southern Ocean between The Falklands and South Georgia include the handsome Black-browed. Image by Jon Hornbuckle.

    South Korea
    This small country - slightly smaller than England - is almost as exciting for birds during the cold winters as Japan to the east what with such rare and range-restricted species as Swan Goose, Falcated and Mandarin Ducks, Baikal Teal (not always present but sometimes in huge flocks), Scaly-sided Merganser, Oriental Stork, Steller's Sea Eagle, Hooded, Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes, Solitary Snipe, Relict and Saunders's Gulls, Spectacled Guillemot, Ancient and Long-billed Murrelets, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Japanese Wagtail, Red-throated Thrush, Varied Tit and lots of buntings including Pallas's Reed. The best area for cranes is at Cheorwon where the vast majority forage in the Civilian Control Zone, an area used for farming only and accessible only with local guides or on local organized tours since it is next to the completely undeveloped Demilitarized Zone on the border with North Korea. During the summer, after late May-early June, it is possible to see Fairy Pitta in South Korea.

    Spain - Extremadura
    The best place in western Europe for bustards and raptors, including Spanish Eagle.

    Photograph of Montagu's Harrier

    Montagu's Harrier by Michael McKee, one of the many raptors in Spain and a feature of Extremadura.

    Spain - Northern
    Lammergeier, Wallcreeper and Snow Finch in the beautiful Pyrenees.

    Spain - Northwestern
    A very good chance of Wolf, as well as a chance of Brown Bear.

    Spain - Southern
    A good chance of Iberian Lynx, and the spectacular migration of storks and raptors.

    Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    Polar Bear, Walrus and birds such as Ivory Gull in spectacular settings.

    Sri Lanka
    Blue Whale, Leopard and some terrific birds, not least Pied Thrush and about 30 endemics.

    Subantarctic Islands - New Zealand
    Millions of marine mammals and birds, notably Royal Penguin and Shore Plover.

    Sulawesi and Halmahera - Indonesia
    Tarsier, Bear Cuscus and spectacular birds such as Wallace’s Standardwing and Knobbed Hornbill.

    Sumatra - Indonesia
    Orang-utan, Siamang, White-handed Gibbon and endemic birds including Sumatran Cochoa.

    Suriname
    Grey-winged Trumpeter and some great cotingas including a big Guianan Cock-of-the-rock lek.

    Sweden
    Most people in search of bears and owls visit Finland where Wolverine and Red-flanked Bluetail are also possible but if it's Cranes you are after then Sweden is the place to go. During the first half of April 20,000 or so gather at Lake Hornborga (Hornborgasjon) a few hours from Stockholm and in early September the same number come together at Bergslagen, along with up to 20,000 (Taiga) Bean Geese. This is also a good time to see Elk (Moose) because the bulls have a full rack of antlers ready for the autumn rut. Up north in southern Lapland the best time to look for Reindeer and birds such as lekking Great Snipe, Long-tailed Skua and Lapland Bunting is late May-early June. In July Brown Bears can be seen at night from a luxurious purpose-built hide three hours by road from Stockholm with Naturetrek who operate lots more tours to Sweden, in search of mammals, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and plants. Each autumn, about 500 million birds migrate from Scandinavia to Europe and Africa, and four million are recorded annually at Falsterbo, a migration bottleneck at the southern tip of Sweden. This is a particularly good place to watch migration in action, involving, on good days, usually when a southwest wind blows, big numbers of raptors, (Common) Wood Pigeons and Blue Tits. Birds occuring in smaller numbers include Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles, and (Eurasian) Nutcrackers. The best time to be at Falsterbo is from late August to October.

    Photograph of Long-tailed Skua

    The elegant Long-tailed Skua by Simon Colenutt.

    T

    Taiwan
    This small, mountainous, subtropical island, less than 400 km (250 miles) long and 150 km (100 miles) wide, in the South China Sea, supports 20-30 endemic bird species and rising as taxonomists continue to split island forms of widespread species into full species and on Taiwan there are about fifty more endemic subspecies! Some of the most spectacular endemics are Mikado and Swinhoe’s Pheasants, Red (Maroon) Oriole, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Yellow Tit, Taiwan Cupwing, Black-necklaced and Taiwan Scimitar Babblers, Steere’s Liocichla, White-eared Sibia, Flamecrest and Collared Bush Robin, while endemic subspecies include Eurasian Nutcracker (owstoni), Golden Parrotbill (morrisoniana), Collared Finchbill (cinereicapillus) and Little Forktail (fortis). Other notables are headlined by the beautiful Fairy Pitta (in the western lowlands) but they also include Malayan Night Heron (which like the pitta is easier to see on Taiwan than anywhere else, even in Taipei Botanical Gardens), Chinese Egret, Black-faced Spoonbill (hundreds winter in the lowland wetlands of the southwest and many stay on until April) and Japanese Paradise Flycatcher (most likely on the island of Lanyu). Mammals such as Taiwanese (Rock) Macaque, Taiwan Serow, and Indian Giant Flying and Red-and-white Flying Squirrels are also possible, and other natural wonders include Taroko Gorge, a narrow chasm with vertical marble walls. The peak time to visit is the second half of April when newly-arrived Fairy Pittas are most likely to be located although rain and mist are to be expected at this time of the year. July is the peak time to try and see the endangered Chinese Crested Tern in the Matsu Archipelago accessible by air from Taipei. Due to the rapidly increasing popularity of bird photography across Asia, be prepared to see some birds in zoo-like conditions, at photographers' 'stake-outs' often complete with screens and many photographers.

    Tanzania - Northern
    The greatest diversity and numbers of large mammals on Earth make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Tanzania - Southern
    Many mammals in some of the wildest places left on Earth.

    Tasmania (Southeastern Australia)
    Platypus, Koala, Tasmanian Devil, kangaroos, wombats and birds such as Plains-wanderer.

    Texas - USA
    Thousands of migrating hawks, shorebirds and small birds, especially colourful warblers, in spring.

    Thailand - Northern
    Northern Thailand is different from the rest of the country. Mountain ranges support a more Himalayan avifauna and montane specialities at sites such as Doi Ang Khang, Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang include Hume’s Pheasant and Giant Nuthatch, as well as Rufous-throated Partridge, Crested Finchbill, Brown-breasted and White-headed Bulbuls, Silver-eared, White-browed and White-necked Laughingthrushes, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Spot-throated Babbler, Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler, Spectacled Barwing, Dark-backed Sibia, Striated Yuhina and Spot-breasted Parrotbill. There is even a chance of Black-tailed Crake, Hodgson's Frogmouth and Green Cochoa, with some of the shyest species such as Rusty-naped Pitta possible at feeding stations. Other spectacular species present include Collared Falconet, Black-headed Woodpecker, Long-tailed and Silver-breasted Broadbills, Common Green Magpie, Slaty-bellied Tesia, White-crested Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Himalayan Cutia and Gould's Sunbird, while in the lowlands the specialities include the rare Green Peafowl (at the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Project). December to March is the best time to visit, when resident species are joined by wintering birds from northeast Asia.

    Thailand - Southern
    White-handed Gibbon, many fabulous birds and wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers.

    Photograph of Sultan Tit

    The amazing Sultan Tit at Kaeng Krachan in Southern Thailand by Michael McKee.

    Tibet
    Wild Ass, Tibetan Gazelle and birds like Tibetan Sandgrouse in phenomenal scenery.

    Tonga
    Tonga is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to swim with Humpback Whales. Several operators run carefully organized tours within the Vava'u Islands when the whales are usually present from mid-July to late October, during the dry season. The endemic bird Tongan Whistler occurs only in the same island group, on A'a, 'Euakafa, Kapa, Pangaimotu, ‘Utungake and 'Uta Vava'u, as well as on the island of Late in northern Tonga. To see the other endemic bird, Tongan Megapode, it is necessary to fly to the northernmost island of all, Nuiafo'ou, where the birds can be seen at communal nesting grounds. Neither of the two endemic birds occur on the main island, Tongatapu, but birds such as Many-coloured Fruit Dove, Wattled Honeyeater, Polynesian Triller and Polynesian Starling can be seen in and near the capital Nuku'alofa. From the main island it is possible to travel by ferry to the island of 'Eua where seabirds such as White-tailed Tropicbirds, White Terns and Grey Noddies nest. The best time to look for birds is July to September.

    Trinidad and Tobago
    Nesting turtles and some fine birds, not least Scarlet Ibis and Oilbird.

    Photograph of White-throated Robin

    The handsome White-throated Robin, a Turkish speciality, photographed by Michael McKee.

    Turkey
    Some of the most exciting birding in the Western Palearctic, but Turkey is a huge country and to see all of its best birds it would be necessary to travel hundreds of miles, so most visitors opt to cover certain areas. The Bosphorus, especially in September, is a great place to watch the visible migration of tens of thousands of raptors including Lesser Spotted Eagles and Levant Sparrowhawks, along with huge numbers of White Storks and some Black Storks, on their way from Eurasia to Africa. The narrow strait between Europe and Asia is also regularly traversed by Yelkouan (Balearic) Shearwaters. In southwest (as well as southern and eastern) Turkey it is possible to see the likes of Dalmatian Pelican (Lake Karine near Bafa), Spur-winged Plover, Smyrna (White-throated) Kingfisher (scarce in the Dalyan Delta), Finsch’s Wheatear (Pamukkale area), White-throated Robin, Olive-tree (Pamukkale area), (Eastern) Orphean and Ruppell's Warblers, Sombre Tit, Kruper's and Rock Nuthatches, Masked Shrike, Black-headed, Cinereous (Pamukkale area) and Cretzschmar's Buntings, and Red-fronted Serin (Gulubeli Pass, east of Dalaman). The south coast is famous for the (Western) Brown Fish Owls at Oymapinar Barrage/Reservoir near Antalya and the chance of seeing the very elusive 'Lilford's' White-backed Woodpeckers at Akseki. East from there is where most of the regionally-endemic (or breeding-endemic) Western Palearctic specialities are though, including Caspian Snowcock, Radde's Accentor and (Asian) Crimson-winged Finch at Mount Demirkazik (along with Wild Goat (Bezoar Ibex) and Asia Minor Souslik). Caspian Snowcock and Caucasian Grouse occur in the far northeast near Sivrikaya and to the south it is possible to see Grey-necked Bunting and Mongolian Finch at Dogubeyazit.

    The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel farther southeast, specifically to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir, and against all but essential travel to the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces, as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari. This region includes the Birecik area, a well-known birding hotspot where Pygmy Cormorant, See-see Partridge, Pallid (Striated) Scops Owl, Pied Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Menetries's Warbler, Iraq Babbler, Desert Finch, and Dead Sea, Pale Rock and Yellow-throated Sparrows occur (along with a feral colony of Northern Bald Ibises), with Red-wattled Lapwing near Batman to the east. The best time to look for most birds in Turkey is May.

    U

    Uganda
    Gorilla, Chimpanzee and many birds including Shoebill make this A Top Ten Destination.

    Ukraine
    Demoiselle Crane, Saker, Great Bustard and Great Black-headed Gull.

    USA - Alaska
    Grizzly Bear, Beluga, Moose and millions of seabirds on the Pribilof Islands.

    Photograph of Tufted Puffins

    Tufted Puffins are easy to see on the Pribilof Islands of Alaska. Image by Simon Colenutt.

    USA - Alaska - Southeast
    A chance to see Humpback Whales bubble-net feeding, as well as Grizzly and Black Bears.

    USA - Arizona (Southeastern)
    See Arizona, above.

    USA - Bosque del Apache, New Mexico
    Tens of thousands of Snow Geese and thousands of Sandhill Cranes wintering.

    USA - California (Northern)
    The tallest, largest and oldest trees in the world, Humpback and possibly Blue Whales, and Yosemite.

    USA - California (Southern)
    See California (Southern), above.

    USA - Cape May, New Jersey
    See Cape May, above.

    USA - Colorado
    Seven species of displaying grouse in spring, plus Elk, Bighorn Sheep and Pronghorn.

    USA - Florida
    West Indian Manatee, waterbirds, Swallow-tailed and Snail Kites, and the endemic Florida Scrub Jay.

    USA - Hawaii
    Humpback Whale, Manta Ray, Bristle-thighed Curlew, seabirds and the endemic honeycreeper family.

    USA - Maine
    See Maine, above.

    USA - Massachusetts
    Humpback Whales and seabirds during the summer.

    USA - Minnesota
    See Minnesota, above.

    USA - North Carolina
    See North Carolina, above.

    USA - North Dakota
    See North Dakota, above.

    USA - Oregon
    See Oregon, above.

    USA - Platte River, Nebraska
    A resting and refuelling place for half a million migrating Sandhill Cranes during March.

    USA - Texas
    Thousands of migrating hawks, shorebirds and small birds, especially colourful warblers, in spring.

    Photograph of Hudsonian Godwit

    The numerous shorebirds migrating through Texas during the spring include Hudsonian Godwits. Image by Michael McKee.

    USA - Washington
    See Washington, below.

    USA - Wyoming (Yellowstone)
    Wolf, Grizzly Bears, Bison, Moose and geothermal phenomena such as geysers like Old Faithful.

    V

    Vanuatu
    The island of Efate is the gateway to Vanuatu but the island where all of the endemic bird species occur is Espiritu Santo. There are at least ten endemics but only five are relatively easy to see; Vanuatu Megapode/Scrubfowl (especially at Palikulo Point but also in Loru Conservation Area), Tanna Fruit Dove, Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher (a difficult forest skulker), Buff-bellied Monarch (a hyperactive forest skulker and sole member of its genus) and Yellow-fronted (Vanuatu) White-eye, all of which occur in the lowland forests along with the likes of Mackinlay's Cuckoo Dove, Red-bellied Fruit Dove, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, the juliae subspecies of Collared Kingfisher, Cardinal Myzomela, Long-tailed Triller, Melanesian (Golden) Whistler and Southern Shrikebill. At the slightly higher elevation reached via the Butmas Track the endemic Baker's Imperial Pigeon and Vanuatu Honeyeater become possible, but visitors must mount a mini-expedition with porters and camping equipment to much higher forest to try and see the endemic Santo (Guadalcanal) Thicketbird, as well as Palm Lorikeet, Santa Cruz Ground Dove and Rusty-winged Starling, all of which occur only in Vanuatu and the Santa Cruz Islands of the Solomon Islands. The other endemics are Mountain (Santo) Starling which is confined to the highest forests of Espiritu Santo and Royal (Red-headed) Parrotfinch which is rare and/or nomadic on Santo but apparently more numerous on the islands of Emae and Tongoa. Two other rare birds are Magnificent (Collared) and Vanuatu (White-necked) Petrels, although it is possible to see both at sea around Mota Lava and Vanua Lava in the Banks Islands. The coral reefs around the low-lying Maskelyne Islands are some of the best for scuba-diving and snorkelling and Mt Yasur, an active volcano on Tanna Island, is yet another natural wonder. The best time to look for the endemic birds is July to September.

    Venezuela - Eastern (Rio Grande-Escalera)
    Harpy Eagle, many cotingas including Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, and Angel Falls.

    Venezuela - Western (Llanos)
    Many spectacular birds, some in the amazing Llanos wetlands, not least Scarlet Macaw.

    Veracruz - Mexico
    The best raptor migration in the world, with 4-6 million birds each autumn/fall.

    Vietnam
    Some of the world's most beautiful primates, including Buff-cheeked Gibbon, and endemic birds.

    Photograph of Bar-bellied Pitta

    The best place in the world to see the beautiful Bar-bellied Pitta is Vietnam, where this image was taken by Brian Field.

    W

    Washington
    This west coast state supports an impressive range of birds, whether it is the second half of May, the peak spring period when songbirds are singing and in spring plumage or the first two weeks of September when huge numbers of seabirds, shorebirds and songbirds are passing through on southward migration. The list includes Harlequin Duck, Bald Eagle, White-tailed Ptarmigan (Mount Rainier NP, along Skyline Trail near Panorama Point above Paradise, and along Mt Fremont Lookout Trail above Sunrise), Sandhill Crane, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds (these, as well as Cassin's Finch, and Black-headed and Evening Grosbeaks, are attracted to the feeders at Mt Adams Lodge), Tufted Puffin (on Protection Island NWR, accessible via two-hour boat trips from Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula), lots of woodpeckers, Clark's Nutcracker, Varied Thrush, Mountain Bluebird, Lazuli Bunting and Grey-crowned Rosy Finch (Mt Fremont Lookout Trail above Sunrise in Mount Rainier NP). Mammals include Killer Whale (the waters around the San Juan Islands, accessible from Port Townsend, are some of the best in the world for this species), Black Bear, Elk and various chipmunks and ground-squirrels. During September Washington is not only a great place for rare shorebirds in North America it is where a wide range of seabirds gather offshore and on full-day pelagic trips out of Westport Harbor it is possible to see lots of Black-footed Albatrosses, as well as Buller’s and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel and South Polar Skua. In addition, Laysan Albatross, Flesh-footed Shearwater and Tufted Puffin are seen on some trips and rarities have included the likes of Murphy’s Petrel.

    Photograph of Harlequin Duck

    The beautifully patterned and coloured Harlequin Duck is widespread across northwestern North America, as far south as Washington and Oregon where they usually spend the summers inland and the winters along the Pacific coast. This superb image was taken by Simon Colenutt in Alaska.

    Western Pacific Odyssey
    An incredible selection of seabirds including Short-tailed Albatross and New Zealand Storm Petrel.

    Western Sahara
    This part of northwest Africa, currently administered by Morocco, is where a few birds which are difficult or impossible to see elsewhere in the Western Palearctic occur and a few mammals which are difficult or impossible to see anywhere else in the world can be seen. The main town Dakhla is accessible by air or road from Morocco. Birds in the huge Dakhla Bay include Audouin’s Gull and Royal Tern with lots of wintering Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Caspian Terns. A few Atlantic Humpback Dolphins survive in this bay and are seen occasionally, usually at the northern end. Inland, alongside the Dakhla-Aousserd (Aswerd) Road it is possible to see Cricket Longtail (Warbler), which is most likely at Oued Jenna, as well as Lanner Falcon, Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse (both drinking at dawn at Gleb Jdiane), larks such as Bar-tailed, Dunn's, Greater Hoopoe and Temminck's Horned, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Desert, Black and Red-rumped Wheatears, Fulvous Babbler and Desert Sparrow, possibly Pharoah Eagle Owl and African Desert Warbler, and even Golden Nightjar and Sudan Golden Sparrow (especially at Oued Jenna). The numbers of birds in the often windy desert seems to depend on winter rainfall, with the highest numbers usually after plenty of rain. Mammals present alongside the same road include African Wild and Sand Cats, Golden Jackal, Fennec and Ruppell's Foxes, (Saharan) Striped Polecat, Desert Hedgehog, Lesser Egyptian Jerboa and African Savanna Hare, all of which are most likely to be seen while spotlighting at night. The best time to visit is March to September.

    West Papua - Indonesia
    Fantastic birds-of-paradise including Wilson's, and the richest coral reefs in the world!

    Photograph of Wilson's Bird-of-paradise

    Wilson's Bird-of-paradise by Nick Cobb, one of the most amazing birds on planet Earth.

    Wyoming (Yellowstone) - USA
    Wolf, Grizzly Bears, Bison, Moose and geothermal phenomena such as geysers like Old Faithful.

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    Yap (and Palau) - Micronesia
    One of the best places in the world to snorkel or scuba-dive with Manta Rays.

    Yellowstone (Wyoming) - USA
    Wolf, Grizzly Bears, Bison, Moose and geothermal phenomena such as geysers like Old Faithful.

    Yunnan - China
    Black-crested Gibbon, Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey and lots of superb birds and flowers.

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    Zambia
    Many mammals, millions of bats and some great birds and Victoria Falls!