MUNNAR

The Highland Birding Paradise

scenic mountains

Munnar Bird Watching and Guided Tours.

Munnar, the famous hill station of South India is situated in Kerala, at a height of 1600 meters above sea level. Nestled in the higher reaches of southern part of Western Ghats mountain ranges with never ending tea gardens, misty mountains and rich wildlife, Munnar is indeed a paradise for nature lovers. A popular honeymoon destination and called ‘Kashmir of South India’ , Munnar is a birding hotspot for high altitude montane grass land and shola forest birds. Abundance of forest cover and diversities of Western Ghats makes this area home to a large variety of birds and animals including some rare native species. More than 200 species of birds have been recorded in this area. Pockets of Shola  forest and mountain grasslands are home to several high altitude endemic bird species like Nilgiri Pipit, white-bellied Sholakili, Nilgiri Woodpegion , Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Palani Chilappan or Palani Laughing thrush etc.

‘Shola forest’ is the local term for tropical montane forest found in the higher reaches of south Western Ghats through Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Western Ghats endemics like various species of bulbuls, hornbills, sunbirds, flycatchers, woodpeckers, etc can be spotted in the lower ranges. Apart from these endemics a lot of migratory birds can be spotted during winter migrato

Munnar birding guides –  +91 8547680759

South Indian Birding Tours…

 We  provide guided birding tours at various locations in and around Munnar. These tours are mostly exclusive private tours or small group tours so as to minimize disturbance to birds and their habitat. Guided bird watching tours are conducted in two sessions – Morning session  and Evening session. The charges are 2000/- Rs. per session minimum for 2 pax  or 750/- Rs. per person if more than 2 pax.

Birding/Photography Packages >>

GETTING THERE

By Air-

Cochin International Airport– 110 kms.

Coimbatore Airport – 167 kms.

By Rail –  

Aluva Railway Station – 110 kms.

Coimbatore Railway Station -153 kms.

By Road –

Cochin – 125 kms.

The areas in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,450 meters to 2,695 meters above mean sea level. Munnar is home to the highest peak in South India, Anaimudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Temperature ranges from 14 to 25 degrees during summer, and 5 to 2O degrees in winter while   atmosphere remains cool and pleasant all around the year. Rainfall ranges from around 2000 to 5000 mm with a dry season ranging from two to three months.

Munnar Endemic Highlights…

Munnar Birding Guides & Packages

Birders can opt for morning session or afternoon session or multi days birding programs according to their trip duration. These are not daily fixed time  trips, but tailored private ones. Maximum number of visitors per trip is limited to make the walk enjoyable to all the participants. Species targeted bird photography sessions are also available.

Shola patch forests and high altitude rolling grass lands are home to several endemic species like white bellied sholakili, Nilgiri flycatcher, Palani laughing thrush, Nilgiri thrush and a wide variety of warblers.

family bird watching in Munnar forest

Eravikulam National park is a prime birding  spot for grassland birds. Kannimalai, Pothamedu and Gap road regions are the other main birding spots .Many of the western Ghats endemics can be found in the lower ranges.

Half day guided birding/photography sessions are charged at 2500/- Rs. per session minimum fee or 1000/- Rs. per person if more than 2 pax. Starting at 7:00 am in the morning, this session extends to 12:00 pm.

 

Itinerary- 1 Night/2 Days

Day 1- Check in at hotel, After lunch afternoon session.

Day 2- Morning session starting 7:30 am, Check out by Noon.

Itinerary- 2 Nights/3 Days

Day 1- Check in, After lunch afternoon session.

Day 2- Start early morning for full day birding.

Day 3- Morning Session, Check out by noon.

Packages are available starting at 5900/- per person per night (2 pax minimum on twin sharing)

 

Thattekad - Munnar Birding Packages

Thattekad- Munnar birding / photography  tour covers the low land forest of Thattekad  and high altitude Montane forests and grass lands of Munnar . This tour helps us cover two of the most important bird habitats in the western Ghats. Thattekad bird sanctuary, officially called Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 75 kms from Munnar and 50 kms from Cochin international Airport.

This 3 nights or 4 nights  program covers all the popular birding spots in these two locations and is suited for both bird watchers and photographers alike. The tours are mostly private or small group (2- 6 pax) and can be tailored according to the guest’s requirements.

More about Thattekad Bird Sanctuary >>

people doing photography

Itinerary – 4 Night/5 Days.

Day – 1,2 & 3 (Thattekad)

Arrive at Thattekad , check in at hotel, evening birding. Second and third day morning and afternoon sessions at different locations around Thattekad.

Day – 4 & 5 (Munnar)

Check out and leave for Munnar early in the morning. Full day birding. Next day morning birding and check out.

Packages starting from –  7900/- Rs per night ( for 2 pax)

Itinerary – 3 Night/4 Days.

Day – 1 & 2 (Thattekad)

Arrive at Thattekad , check in at hotel, afternoon birding. Second day morning and afternoon sessions at different locations around Thattekad.

Day – 3 (Munnar)

Leave for Munnar early in the morning. Full day birding and back to Thattekad.

Day – 4 (Thattekad)

Morning birding and check out.

Packages starting from –  7700/- Rs per night( for 2 pax)

Note-

The above mentioned packages includes homestay accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner, guide fee and entry fee for birding sessions.

Pick up, drop and local transport if needed can be arranged at additional cost.

Specialized packages focusing on bird photograhy with hides are also available.

Please call or whatsapp us for more details – +91 8547680759

 

Munnar - A brief history

Munnar is a small town in Kerala, located on the high ranges of southern part of western Ghats. This hill station  situated at a height of 1600 meters above mean sea level , is a popular honeymoon destination and is also called “Kashmir of South India”. Munnar is also a birding hotspot for shola and grassland birds. The term Munnar means three rivers in local language and is believed that this place got it’s name from the three rivers flowing through this area. Known for it’s sprawling tea plantations and beautiful mountain landscape, Munnar was once the summer resort of British colonial  government in India. Imprints of the colonial past can still be seen around Munnar in various forms.

 Early inhabitants of the region are members of the Muthuvan tribal community but the early history is not completely known.  Modern history of Munnar starts in 1870s with the visit of the British resident of the then Travancore Kingdom, Mr. Jhon Daniel Munro.  Mr.Munro , who was a planter  realized the  potential of this newly found hilly area. He leased a large area of land from the Poonjar ruler who had control over this area. In 1879 Munro started the North Travancore Land Planting & Agricultural Society, whose members started planting different crops like coffee, cardamom, cinnamon etc. Later these crops were abandoned as tea was found to be more suitable for region. After independence Indian planters took over and in 1964, KDHC which controlled most of the estates in Munnar area was acquired by Tata and Finlay Group.

Munnar birding highlights...

sholakili

White-bellied blue Robin (Sholicola albiventris) , also called white-bellied sholakili is endemic to shola forests of south India. This small bird inhibits the sholas in an altitude 0f 1000 -2200 meters and spends most of their time in the dense undergrowth or on the forest floor.

Nilgiri pipit

Nilgiri Pipit (Anthus nilghiriensis) – Endemic to high altitude hills and grass lands of south India, this species is richer brown in colour. They are mostly restricted to the southern end of Western Ghats with an altitude of 1000-2300 meters.

palani chilappan

Palani Chilappan (Montecincla fairbanki), also known as Palani Laughingthrush is endemic to high altitude montane forests of Western Ghats between Palaghat gap to the north and Shencottah gap to the south. Previously the two subspecies M.fairnanki and M.meridionalis were together referred to as Kerala laughingthrush.

black and orange flycatcher

Black-and-Orange Flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa) is a flycatcher endemic to montane Sholas of Western Ghats above 1000 meters. This tiny, brightly colored flycatchers prefer areas with high leaf litter and undergrowth. Males have black head and wings while females have dark brown head and wings and a light eye-ring.

Nilgiri flycatcher

Nilgiri Flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudatus). This flycatcher is mainly found in the high altitude sholas of Western Ghats and Nilgiris above 1200 meters. Male is entirely indigo-blue while female is gray overall.

bush quail

Painted bush quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha)- Endemic to peninsular India, these strikingly marked quails are mostly found in high altitude grasslands of Western ghats.

Nilgiri wood pigeon

Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphistonil). This large pigeon inhibits moist forests in hilly and montane areas. These frugivorous birds forage in the canopy of dense hilly forests most of the time.

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