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  • Photograph of White-capped Water-redstart (River Chat)

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

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Photograph of Crested Kingfisher

    The Kosi River inside and outside Corbett National Park is a good place to see the spectacular Crested Kingfisher. That is where this image was captured by Lars Petersson.

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Northern India


    Painted Spurfowl, Red Spurfowl, Painted Francolin, Cheer Pheasant, Jungle and Rock Bush-quails, Pallas’s Fish-eagle, Sarus Crane, Indian Skimmer (mostly Nov-Mar), Painted Sandgrouse, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Mottled Wood-owl, Crested Kingfisher, Himalayan Woodpecker, Black-headed Jay, Marshall's Iora, Himalayan Black-lored Tit, Nepal (Immaculate) Cupwing, Black-chinned Babbler, Indian Scimitar-babbler, Sind Sparrow and Pink-browed Rosefinch.

    Also a chance of Ibisbill (mostly Nov-Mar), Wallcreeper (mostly Nov-Mar), White-throated (Hodgson's) Bushchat, Himalayan (White-browed) Shrike-babbler, and Altai and Black-throated Accentors (both mostly Nov-Mar).

    Bar-headed Goose (mostly Nov-Mar), Cotton Pygmy Goose, Indian Peafowl, Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, Greater Flamingo, Oriental Darter, Red-naped (Black) Ibis, Black-necked and Painted Storks, Lesser Adjutant, Lammergeier, Lesser Fish-eagle, Greater Spotted (mostly Nov-Mar), Indian Spotted and Steppe (mostly Nov-Mar) Eagles, Collared Falconet, Great Thick-knee, River and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, White-tailed Plover (mostly Nov-Mar), Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Small Pratincole, Greater Painted-snipe, Great Black-headed (Pallas's) Gull (mostly Nov-Mar), Black-bellied and River Terns, Plum-headed Parakeet, Dusky Eagle-owl, Brown and Tawny Fish-owls, Crested Treeswift, kingfishers including Stork-billed, bee-eaters including Blue-bearded, Indian Roller, hornbills including Great, barbets including Coppersmith, woodpeckers including Great Slaty and White-naped, minivets, shrikes, fantails, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Common Green Magpie, Red-headed Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, bulbuls, warblers including Sulphur-bellied, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Rufous-bellied and Small Niltavas, Tickell's Blue-flycatcher, Siberian (mostly Nov-Mar) and Himalayan (mostly Nov-Mar) Rubythroats, Golden Bush-robin, Plumbeous and White-capped Water-redstarts, White-rumped Shama, forktails, White-tailed Stonechat, laughingthrushes including White-crested, Red-billed Leiothrix, Blue-winged Minla, Rufous Sibia, starlings and mynas, leafbirds, Crimson and Green-tailed Sunbirds, and White-capped Bunting (mostly Nov-Mar).

    Also a chance of Koklass Pheasant, Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans (both mostly Nov-Mar), Black Bittern (mostly Nov-Mar), Eastern Imperial Eagle (mostly Nov-Mar), Indian Courser, Moustached Warbler (mostly Nov-Mar), Brooks's Leaf-warbler (mostly Nov-Mar), Orange-headed Thrush, Green Shrike-babbler and Rufous-breasted Accentor (mostly Nov-Mar).

    Tiger, Asian Elephant, (Northern Plains and Terai) Grey Langur(s), Rhesus Macaque, Nilgai, Sambar and Chinkara. Also a chance of Sloth Bear, Ganges River Dolphin, Blackbuck, Gaur, Jungle Cat, Indian (Crested) Porcupine and Yellow-throated Marten, and an outside chance of Dhole (Asian Wild Dog) and Leopard (for Leopards head to the Jawai (Avavali) Hills in the west of Rajasthan between Udaipur and Jodhpur).

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

    Best Sites for Birds, Tigers and other wildlife in Northern India

    Best Times for Birds, Tigers and other wildlife in Northern India

    The best time to look for Tigers and other mammals is from February to May when the vegetation has die down and animals concentrate around remaining water sources. The peak times for birds are late November to early December and late January to mid-March.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for Northern India

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

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

    Birds of Northern India by R Grimmett and T Inskipp. Helm, 2003.

    Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett et al. Helm, 2012.

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

    Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett et al. Helm, 1999.

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

    Apps etc.

    eGuide to Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.

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

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

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Northern India

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

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Northern India

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

    Accommodation for birders in Northern India

    Some Organized Tours for birds, tigers and other wildlife to Northern India

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

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

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