Birding Kerala, India 19-24 Feb 2020

This is my third visit to Kerala State, India. The first was in May 2016 and lasted for a week; the second was in March 2019 for four days.

This time I contacted Eldhose to do a 5-day birding tour. Communicating with him and scheduling a birding tour he advertised on his website was very easy. He offers three-meal lodging, transport, and birding guiding.

Eldhose Birding Lodge offers full package birding tours. See his website at

EDIT: I have just heard the news that Eldhose passed away three months ago. It is sad news indeed. He was such a nice gentleman and keen to show us the birds. I was hoping to have another tour with him after this monsoon.

Eldhose Birding Lodge is an excellent birding hotspot. It is situated inside the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, which hosts 268 bird species (according to It is a superb birding place, Mr. Eldhose himself is a very enthusiastic birder with a huge amount of knowledge of the birds of India.

Day 1: 19/02/2020 (lifers in RED colour)

I arrived at the Eldhose Birding Lodge in the afternoon, had lunch, and started birding 2km northeast of the Lodge. It was a feeding station for birds built by Eldhose himself.

At the feeding station, I had a lifer, the Red Spurfowl, a common bird with four Western Ghats endemic birds; White-bellied Treepie, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Starling, and Flame-throated Bulbul. A wintering bird seen was a Rusty-tailed Flycatcher.

Other birds seen include

Grey Junglefowl, Spotted Dove, Asian Emerald Dove, Black-rumped Flameback, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Rufous Treepie, Large-billed Crow, Orange-headed Thrush, Jungle Babbler, Malabar Whistling-Thrush and Golden-fronted Leafbird

After sunset, we had dinner and went out to look for the owls; just outside Eldhose Lodge we were shown the Mottled Wood-Owl, a lifer for me, and Brown Fish-Owl. What a day with two lifers!

Day 2: 20/02/2020

We started the morning by birding with Eldhose around the Lodge. We soon saw the Slaty-breasted Rail, Cinnamon Bittern, Black, and Ashy Drongos.

After that went to an area near Urulanthanni forest camping station, which is half an hour’s drive from Eldhose Birding Lodge, there were many tourists, including birders. Indian Swiftlets and Brown-backed Needletail, were circling overhead; the latter was a lifer! We had Malabar Trogon and a roosting Indian Scops Owl, which many accompanied birders enjoyed, and Also Rusty-tailed and Asian Brown flycatchers.
We then drove back to the Lodge. On our way, we had a Whiskered and River Terns.

After lunch, Eldhose took us birding close to the Lodge, where we had a Slaty-legged Crake and Brown (Philippine) Shrike.

We then drove to another feeding station about 5Km from the Lodge to find:
Two Greater Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Indian Pitta, two White-cheeked Barbets, two Black-rumped Flameback, Bronzed Drongo, five Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, two Indian Paradise-Flycatchers, 4 Rufous Treepies, 2 Flame-throated Bulbuls, sixteen Malabar Starlings, four Yellow-browed Bulbuls, twelve Jungle Babblers, five Orange-headed Thrushes and White-bellied Blue Flycatcher.
Wintering birds seen were Brown-breasted, Blue-throated, and Rusty-tailed flycatchers.

After 8 pm, we went to an agriculture field about 800m east of the Lodge. After a search with a torch, we succeeded in finding a Jungle Nightjar and a Jerdon’s Nightjar. We then moved to a nearby field to find two Spot-bellied Eagle Owls. The latter three were lifers and the Brown-backed Needletail seen in the morning.

Day 3: 21/02/2020

We drove away from the Lodge. At a brief stop, we had fifteen Jungle Babbler and one Brown, (Philippine) Shrike, a Greater Coucal, White-throated Kingfisher, and Indian Roller

Today we revisited the Urulanthanni forest camping station to join many visiting birdwatching. Our guide found us a Sri Lanka Frogmouth, a Brown Fish-Owl. We saw a Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, and a Shikra. There were White-rumped Needletails and a Crested Serpent-Eagle flying overhead. We also had similar birds as yesterdays, such as Ashy Drongo, Indian Scops Owl, Five Flame-throated and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Brown-breasted, Blue-throated, and Rusty-tailed Flycatchers.

In the afternoon, we birded again near the previous spot to find a Black Eagle, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Malabar Parakeet, Vernal Hanging-Parrot
Cinereous Tit, Flame-throated Bulbul, two Southern Hill Mynas, two Malabar Starlings, Brown-breasted Flycatcher. Indian Swiftlets were flying high overhead.

After dinner, we went out birding. After two to three stops, we found two Great Eared-Nightjars, lifers for me!

Day 4: 22/02/2020

After breakfast, we drove for 2:30 hours to Eravikulam National Park. Unfortunately, the reserve was closed, so we had to bird outside the reserve.
We managed to find Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Square-tailed Bulbul, Tytler’s Leaf Warbler, Western Crowned Warbler, seven Palani Laughingthrushes, two Nilgiri Flycatchers, Blue-capped Rock-Thrush, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, five Common Rosefinches, Grey Wagtail and White-cheeked Barbet.

We continued driving to stop at Rajmalai National Park. We found two Indian Spot-billed Ducks, White-breasted Waterhen, Red-wattled Lapwing, Brown and Long-tailed Shrikes, and two Jungle Mynas.

Day 5: 23/02/2020

This morning we drove to Urulanthanni forest camping station, where we had
Green Imperial-Pigeon, Oriental Darter, Shikra, Indian Golden Oriole, Ashy Woodswallow, three Grey-fronted Green-Pigeons, three Green Imperial-Pigeons, five Indian Swiftlets, six Black Bazas, two Malabar Grey Hornbills, four Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, two Dollarbirds, five Malabar Barbets, four Malabar Parakeets, Malabar Woodshrike,  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, two Indian Paradise-Flycatchers, five Flame-throated Bulbuls, three Southern Hill Mynas, two Malabar Starlings, Crimson-backed Sunbird, three Golden-fronted Leafbirds.

In the afternoon, we returned to the place we visited on the first, the feeding station 2Km northeast of the Lodge. In addition to the birds we saw on the first day, we managed to add Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-throated Kingfisher, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Black-naped Monarch, Indian Paradise-Flycatcher, two Chestnut-tailed Starling, six Malabar Starling, two Brown-breasted Flycatchers, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Malabar Whistling-Thrush, Little Spiderhunter, Blue-faced Malkoha, and two Oriental Magpie-Robins.

Day 6: 24/02/2020

This morning we drove east, crossing the Kerala – Tamil Nadu border to Rajmalai National Park.
On our first stop, we had the endemic, Yellow-throated Bulbul, two birds perched on top of a leafless tree. Walking a little further to see two Sirkeer Malkohas. Two lifers on one spot!

We also had two Blue-faced Malkohas, two Laughing Dove, Short-toed Eagle, Black Eagle, three Bonelli’s Eagles, White-throated Kingfisher, Small Minivet, two Black-hooded Orioles, three Common Woodshrikes, two Common Ioras, two White-bellied Drongos (lifer), Indian Paradise-Flycatcher, Common Tailorbird, three Dusky Crag Martins, five Red-vented Bulbuls, two White-browed Bulbuls, Yellow-billed Babbler, two Common Mynas, Indian Robin, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Crimson-backed Sunbird, and Purple Sunbird.

We then drove back to the Lodge and then to the airport, my flight at 9 pm.

Species List: 122 of which 16 lifers including two Western Ghats endemics (RED is my lifers):

  1. Indian Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha
  2. Red Spurfowl Galloperdix spadicea
  3. Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii
  4. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
  5. Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
  6. Asian Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
  7. Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon Treron affinis
  8. Green Imperial-Pigeon Ducula aenea
  9. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
  10. Sirkeer Malkoha Taccocua leschenaultii
  11. Blue-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus viridirostris
  12. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
  13. Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus dicruroides
  14. Common Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx varius
  15. Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger
  16. Great Eared-Nightjar Lyncornis macrotis
  17. Jungle Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus
  18. Jerdon’s Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis
  19. White-rumped Needletail Zoonavena sylvatica
  20. Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus
  21. Indian Swiftlet Aerodramus unicolor
  22. Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata
  23. Slaty-breasted Rail Lewinia striata
  24. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
  25. Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides
  26. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
  27. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
  28. River Tern Sterna aurantia
  29. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster
  30. Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
  31. Interte Egret Ardea inter
  32. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
  33. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
  34. Crested Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
  35. Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes
  36. Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
  37. Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
  38. Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii
  39. Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis
  40. Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata
  41. Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
  42. Shikra Accipiter badius
  43. Indian Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena
  44. Spot-bellied Eagle Owl Bubo nipalensis
  45. Brown Fish-Owl Ketupa zeylonensis
  46. Mottled Wood-Owl Strix ocellata
  47. Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus
  48. Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus
  49. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
  50. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
  51. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
  52. Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
  53. Malabar Barbet Psilopogon malabaricus
  54. White-cheeked Barbet Psilopogon viridis
  55. Heart-spotted Woodpecker Hemicircus canente
  56. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
  57. Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus
  58. Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri
  59. Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides
  60. Vernal Hanging-Parrot Loriculus vernalis
  61. Indian Pitta Pitta brachyura
  62. Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
  63. Indian Golden Oriole Oriolus kundoo
  64. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
  65. Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
  66. Malabar Woodshrike Tephrodornis sylvicola
  67. Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus
  68. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
  69. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
  70. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
  71. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
  72. White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens
  73. Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus
  74. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
  75. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
  76. Indian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
  77. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
  78. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
  79. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
  80. White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra
  81. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
  82. Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus
  83. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
  84. Dusky Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne concolor
  85. Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
  86. Flame-throated Bulbul Rubigula gularis
  87. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
  88. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
  89. Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus
  90. White-browed Bulbul Pycnonotus luteolus
  91. Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica
  92. Square-tailed Bulbul Hypsipetes ganeesa
  93. Tytler’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tytleri
  94. Western Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus occipitalis
  95. Palani Laughingthrush Montecincla fairbanki
  96. Jungle Babbler Argya striata
  97. Yellow-billed Babbler Argya affinis
  98. Southern Hill Myna Gracula indica
  99. Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnia malabarica
  100. Malabar Starling Sturnia blythii
  101. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
  102. Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
  103. Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina
  104. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
  105. Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui
  106. Indian Robin Copsychus fulicatus
  107. Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
  108. White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallidipes
  109. Blue-throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides
  110. Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus
  111. Malabar Whistling-Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii
  112. Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Ficedula ruficauda
  113. Blue-capped Rock-Thrush Monticola cinclorhyncha
  114. Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorhynchos
  115. Nilgiri Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor
  116. Purple-rumped Sunbird Leptocoma zeylonica
  117. Crimson-backed Sunbird Leptocoma minima
  118. Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus
  119. Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
  120. Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
  121. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
  122. Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus