The very handsome Indian Courser by Simon Colenutt.
Grey Hypocolius near the village of Fulay, a wintering site in Western India, by Lars Petersson.
The birds listed are usually present during the northern winter. Demoiselle Crane (usually thousands at Khichan alone), Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans, Indian Peafowl, Painted Stork, Common Crane (mostly Oct), Indian and MacQueen’s Bustards, Steppe and Tawny Eagles, Indian (Rock) Eagle Owl, Grey Junglefowl, Crab Plover, and Cream-coloured and Indian Coursers, and localized species such as Hypocolius, White-bellied Minivet, Green Avadavat, Marshall’s Iora, White-naped Tit, Yellow-eyed Pigeon, Sykes’s Nightjar, Sykes’s Lark, Sykes’s Warbler and Stoliczka’s (White-browed) Bushchat, as well as hundreds of thousands of ducks including Ruddy Shelduck and Comb (Knob-billed) Duck, Little Cormorant, Indian Shag, Oriental Darter, Western Reef Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black (Red-naped), Black-headed and Glossy Ibises, Eurasian Spoonbill, Osprey, Black-shouldered Kite, Egyptian, (Eurasian) Black, (Eurasian) Griffon, Indian (Long/Slender-billed), Red-headed and White-rumped Vultures, Short-toed Eagle, (Western) Marsh, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers, Long-legged Buzzard, Crested (Changeable) Hawk Eagle, Laggar Falcon, Grey Francolin, Jungle and Rock Bush Quails, Red Spurfowl, Grey-headed (Purple) Swamphen, Indian (Eurasian) Thick-knee, Red-wattled, White-tailed and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, (Pied) Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, other shorebirds, Great Black-headed (Pallas’s) and Slender-billed Gulls, Chestnut-bellied and Painted Sandgrouse, Alexandrine and Plum-headed Parakeets, Greater Coucal, Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle and Spotted Owlets, Pied and White-throated (Smyrna) Kingfishers, Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, (Eurasian) Hoopoe, Indian Grey Hornbill, Coppersmith and Brown-headed Barbets, Black-rumped Flameback, White-naped Woodpecker, Common Iora, Small Minivet, Common Woodshrike, Bay-backed, Long-tailed and Southern Grey Shrikes, White-browed and White-spotted (Spot-breasted) Fantails, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, larks, White-eared Bulbul, Common Tailorbird, Striated Grassbird, (Asian) Desert and (Eastern) Orphean Warblers, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, wheatears, Brahminy and Rosy Starlings, Bank and Common Mynas, Purple Sunbird, Grey-necked, Striolated and White-capped Buntings, and Trumpeter Finch. Also a chance of Black Stork, Sarus Crane, Bonelli’s and Great Spotted Eagles, Painted Francolin, Great Thick-knee, Sociable Lapwing (mostly Nov), Small Pratincole, Crested Treeswift and Hoopoe Lark.
(Asiatic) Lion, (Asian/Indian) Wild Ass, Blackbuck, Jungle Cat, Hanuman Langur (Northern Plains Grey Langur), Indian Desert Gerbil (Jird), Indian Flying Fox, Nilgai, Sambar, Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Spotted Deer, Common (Golden) Jackal, mongooses and Wild Boar. Also a chance of Leopard, Striped Hyaena, Wild Cat and Indian Crested Porcupine, and an outside chance of Wolf and Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope).
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Mugger Crocodile and Green Turtle (nests on beaches at Sodav Bankhara).
The rich diversity of dragonflies includes some brilliant dartlets, dropwings, skimmers and waxtails.
A fine image of a Wild Ass by Graham Ekins.
Mid-November to February is the best time for mammals, birds and turtles, with Blackbucks usually rutting in February, although Wild Asses usually form their largest herds in March.
Indian Mammals: A Field Guide by V Menon. Hachette, 2014.
Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent by K K Gurung and R Singh. Helm, 1998.
Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 2012.
A Field Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by K Kazmierczak. Helm, 2008.
Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 1999.
Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide Volumes 1 and 2 by P C Rasmussen and J C Anderton. Lynx Edicions and Smithsonian Institution, 2012.
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.
Many trip reports, some for Western 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 Western India. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Western India' below.
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.
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 are running organized tours to Western India in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.