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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Top Birding Destinations on Earth (1 Viewer)

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
With a travel of about 2 weeks at a time I would do eastern Panama as one and Costa Rica as another (or maybe 2). Costa Rica is the place I have been so far that gave the highest number of species in one trip, and I still missed a few iconic ones.

For the greatest variety over all, Australia must be part of your list because it is so different from most of the other places. It would be a shame going there for only two weeks though.

Niels
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
I think if you are only going for two weeks, you need to consider that it's much easier to see a good proportion of the birds in some countries than it is in others. Some countries/areas may have a huge mouthwatering list of birds, but unless you are intending to go with a professional guide, or are a very experienced world birder that's done an a lot of site research, you may miss a lot of the birds you hope to see. This is especially true in areas that mostly involve forest birding, where many of the species occur at low densities. You mentioned eg Borneo's hundreds of species, but just you try finding them in two weeks! In other places, eg South Africa and Australia, the majority of the birds just throw themselves at you. Wherever you go for two weeks is great, but it is worth considering that.
 
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Maroon Jay

Airborne
Canada
I agree with Larry, I would not go to Australia for only two weeks. If that is all the time you have, pick a smaller country. I spend seven months in Australia and still did not see all the birds.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
I think if you are only going for two weeks, you need to consider that it's much easier to see a good proportion of the birds in some countries than it is in others. Some countries/areas may have a huge mouthwatering list of birds, but unless you are intending to go with a professional guide, or are a very experienced world birder that's done an a lot of site research, you may miss a lot of the birds you hope to see. This is especially true in areas that mostly involve forest birding, where many of the species occur at low densities. You mentioned eg Borneo's hundreds of species, but just you try finding them in two weeks! In other places, eg South Africa and Australia, the majority of the birds just throw themselves at you. Wherever you go for two weeks is great, but it is worth considering that.
My goal isn't to do it all on my own, as you mentioned some places like Borneo and even Peru and Brazil can be nearly impossible without local guide knowledge, while in South Africa, Australia and most of the US, birding is best done on your own unless you have very targeted birding like owls or flufftails which require insider knowledge to best find these sought after species.

I am fine with doing both, what I wanted to see more was what people thought were those locations that making multiple repeated trips to find many species, like Ecuador or Australia, instead of short trips to just vaguely get a taste of the region but not see most of the specialties.

So far I've seen a lot of love for many of the Latin America countries, East Africa, Thailand and Australia, while I've recommended to put my attention more to places like Morocco if I want to see the Palaearctict species.
 

peter.jones

Former supporter. No longer active here.
Supporter
Also worth looking at the globe on eBird. Areas with deepest red will correspond to all of the above suggestions no doubt!
But what about "underwatched" areas with potential? Are there places where would you take a punt if you were a gambler?! i.e. places that don't show up red in eBird, and are off the regular route, but must surely hold some magic. (Preferably not in war zones etc.).
Maybe Senegal instead of Morocco; Oman instead of Israel; Uzbekistan ?.... Maybe there aren't any? The birder's top choices are top choices for a good reason.
 

dandsblair

David and Sarah
Supporter
On the basis of 6 trips to East Africa wouldn't be comfortable doing self drive, even with experienced drivers we were stuck a few times, had windows implode, missed getting into NP(driver knew another way), found ourselves in worrying areas, etc.
We aren't easily put off having done self drive a number of times in Southern Africa.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Also worth looking at the globe on eBird. Areas with deepest red will correspond to all of the above suggestions no doubt!
But what about "underwatched" areas with potential? Are there places where would you take a punt if you were a gambler?! i.e. places that don't show up red in eBird, and are off the regular route, but must surely hold some magic. (Preferably not in war zones etc.).
Maybe Senegal instead of Morocco; Oman instead of Israel; Uzbekistan ?.... Maybe there aren't any? The birder's top choices are top choices for a good reason.
And that might be because of logistics (and cost) rather than absence of birds.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Also worth looking at the globe on eBird. Areas with deepest red will correspond to all of the above suggestions no doubt!
But what about "underwatched" areas with potential? Are there places where would you take a punt if you were a gambler?! i.e. places that don't show up red in eBird, and are off the regular route, but must surely hold some magic. (Preferably not in war zones etc.).
Maybe Senegal instead of Morocco; Oman instead of Israel; Uzbekistan ?.... Maybe there aren't any? The birder's top choices are top choices for a good reason.

Does Senegal (being in Afrotropics) really have all the WP birds that Morocco does? Oman instead of Israel (if Israel were on the list) is a good choice anyway, Oman is awesome and we have more birds from Oman than from any of our trips to Israel, despite knowing Israel better. Uzbekistan, eh ... maybe my view is deformed by having visited in only in February :) but it's not the most welcoming country for ... anything. In general, Central Asia is simply not that "birdy" anyway.

Btw. the most species we have even seen on a single trip in WP was Armenia/Georgia. Not sure whether this counts nowadays as "underwatched" as it has become undoubtedly popular among WP birders and the birding trail there is pretty clear, but especially Armenia still has an off-the-beaten-track feeling in most places.
 

amears

Well-known member
Also worth looking at the globe on eBird. Areas with deepest red will correspond to all of the above suggestions no doubt!
But what about "underwatched" areas with potential? Are there places where would you take a punt if you were a gambler?! i.e. places that don't show up red in eBird, and are off the regular route, but must surely hold some magic. (Preferably not in war zones etc.).
Maybe Senegal instead of Morocco; Oman instead of Israel; Uzbekistan ?.... Maybe there aren't any? The birder's top choices are top choices for a good reason.
I was thinking of writing about Senegal in comparison with Namibia, but I’ll also add in Morocco for good measure...!

Senegal and Namibia are comparable in several ways - lovely selection of sps, plenty of semi and real desert, but one north of the African equator, the other south. Two important differences though. Some of the most iconic species in Senegal are pretty hard and easily missed; not so in Namibia. Secondly, Namibia is stunningly beautiful; not so Senegal sadly, which is flat, severely overgrazed and has a massive plastic pollution problem. I loved both but I would add beautiful places into your maths. Morocco by the way is a stunning country with very beautiful mountains and deserts. Lastly, Namibia has great bonus mammals, and this might be a deal breaker for me.
 
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Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
I was thinking or writing about Senegal in comparison with Namibia, but I’ll also add in Morocco for good measure...!

Senegal and Namibia are comparable in several ways - lovely selection of sps, plenty of semi and real desert, but one north of the African equator, the other south. Two important differences though. Some of the most iconic species in Senegal are pretty hard and easily missed; not so in Namibia. Secondly, Namibia is stunningly beautiful; not so Senegal sadly, which is flat, severely overgrazed and has a massive plastic pollution problem. I loved both but I would add beautiful places into your maths. Morocco by the way is a stunning country with very beautiful mountains and deserts. Lastly, Namibia has great bonus mammals, and this might be a deal breaker for me.
Yes, I was just thinking that for me the most enjoyable countries aren't necessarily the ones with the most birds, but the ones that are a joy to be in and a joy to bird in. So that's all very subjective, as different people like different countries for many different reasons. And different people prefer different styles of birding to dominate the holiday (open landscapes vs dense wet forest vs dry scrub vs coastal vs pelagic etc etc.), which becomes more of an issue if you only have 2 weeks to put yourself in the kind of environment that will give you the most pleasure.
 

fbeeldens

Well-known member
I'm surprised Colombia hasn't made it to the list. Has everything from choco lowlands over high andes to guyanan shield and amazonia and a ton of endemics.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
I'm surprised Colombia hasn't made it to the list. Has everything from choco lowlands over high andes to guyanan shield and amazonia and a ton of endemics.
I've seen a few more budget friendly companies like (multicolorbirdingcolombia.com) that offer many short trips around the country, main reason I am holding back for Colombia is due to family worries, I am aware the region is friendly nowadays but the stigma and fear from years past don't stop my family to worry more than they should for me.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
I've also seen a rise of more time targeted birding companies, while Rockjumper Birding and Birdquest will give you month long itineraries to see most specialties, the prizes and time constraints are a thing. Meanwhile I've seen companies like 7wondersbirding.com and naturetravelbirding.com which do birding with a goal, which fit best for the birding on a budget or low on time.

I know 7wonders is a worldwide offshoot from Kolibri Expeditions, but haven't seen much from Nature Travel Birding except that they are also a worldwide offshoot of Nature Travel Namibia, if anyone has any experiences or reviews for either of these companies (Nature Travel in particular since Kolibri has a strong record and birding history), I would love to hear about it.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
places like Borneo and even Peru and Brazil can be nearly impossible without local guide knowledge

If you want a huge list a guide will be a big help but all three of these places are easy to go on birding trips to independently. I've been to all three on independent trips, although in Borneo, only Sabah and I did use a local company to see jaguar in Brazil.
 

jurek

Well-known member
But what about "underwatched" areas with potential?
In Europe it is Belarus. Giant areas of wilderness, like Poland 50 or 100 years ago, but it is hard to get around without some Slavic language and some resourcefulness.

Worldwide - North-East India. Incredible variety of species, some waiting to be rediscovered (Manipur quail), and absolutely top habitats: within 200km the land rises from steamy lowland swamps to eternal glaciers of Himalayas.

Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are similarly faunistically rich and quickly develop their travel infrastructure - but I know nothing how easy is to travel off the beaten track and whether birds are generally easy to find.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
One additional comment: I assume that you would do something like one trip to Ecuador NW, another to the East slope etc. Trying to do any country in one visit, especially as short at 2 weeks, necessitates a really small country. And for a place like Ecuador, you would need to travel pretty far if you go for more than one region per visit, wasting valuable birding time.

Niels
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
One additional comment: I assume that you would do something like one trip to Ecuador NW, another to the East slope etc. Trying to do any country in one visit, especially as short at 2 weeks, necessitates a really small country. And for a place like Ecuador, you would need to travel pretty far if you go for more than one region per visit, wasting valuable birding time.

Niels
My idea was at least 3 separate trips, one for the East and West slopes, one for the South, and one for Amazon and Galapagos. I know I won't see all of the species like that, but at least get me upwards of 700 species which is not too bad after 6 weeks in a country as rich as Ecuador.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
If you want a huge list a guide will be a big help but all three of these places are easy to go on birding trips to independently. Although I can only speak from personal experience for Sabah in Borneo.

One additional comment: I assume that you would do something like one trip to Ecuador NW, another to the East slope etc. Trying to do any country in one visit, especially as short at 2 weeks, necessitates a really small country. And for a place like Ecuador, you would need to travel pretty far if you go for more than one region per visit, wasting valuable birding time.

Niels
I totally agree. In a 6 week to Ecuador I pretty well stuck to the Andes.

I don't know why I've got a quote from me too there. I've not really got the knack of the new BF.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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