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Best International Locations to Birdwatch

Traveling the world is always a fun adventure, whether it is your first time traveling to Asia or visiting a new European country.  When you have a specific hobby like birdwatching, traveling becomes even more exciting when you plan your trips around birdwatching in fascinating countries.  This article will share some of the best birdwatching locations worldwide that include some of the most exotic and unusual species to add to your life list.

Brazil

White-throated Hummingbird
White-throated Hummingbird

Brazil is one of the best locations for spotting Neotropical birds, with more than 1,800 bird species to view, with new species getting discovered yearly.  Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and holds some of the most biodiversity and the most significant number of endemic birds in South America.  It also ranks as the third most prosperous bird country on the Planet.  There are several different habitats to explore in Brazil with various birds, whether looking for the Amazon rainforest, the Pantanal Wetlands, and Capaa or the Natural grasslands and gallery forest. Most guided birding tours head into the rainforest where you will come across a wide variety of wildlife, birds, flora, and fauna. The rainforest canopy contains many of the birds high on the list of bird watchers including Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Military Macaw and more.

Scotland

The Isles and coastlines of Scotland are well-known for their native birds.  With thousands of kilometres of coastline and over 700 islands, visitors can get up close with Puffins, Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters, and more in this great country in the United Kingdom.  Whether you embark on a birdwatching tour or explore on your own, there is much to learn about birds in Scotland. Handa Island in Scotland is one of the best birdwatching locations as this destination is a nature reserve and home to over 100,000 birds during the breeding season.  You can see everything here, from Puffins, Guillemots, Fulmars, Razorbills, Grouse, and more. This is the perfect country to add new species to your life list!

Puffin, Farne islands, Scotland
Puffin, Farne islands, Scotland

Galapagos Islands

More than nine hundred kilometres off Ecuador’s coast, you will find the Galapagos Archipelago, a collection of islands well known for its wildlife and inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Over 97% of the Galapagos landmass is a national park that protects 7,700 square kilometres of islands and islets. If you’re looking for wildlife and birdwatching opportunities, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect place. They feature 185 bird species including more than 25 endemic birds. While many may know the most famous Galapagos birds like the Galapagos Penguin and Blue-footed booby, several other species are easy to find here. While you’re around the islands, you’ll notice several different types of gulls, boobies, the Galapagos Hawk, and the Waved Albatross, and more.

Thailand

You’ll find Khao Sok National Park in the dense jungle with tower-like limestone formations. In this park, you will find a vast diversity of birds on trails and through waterways.  Khao Sok National Park is the only place in Thailand where you can see the Lesser Fish-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish-Eagle and Malayan Banded-Pitta.  The most frequently seen birds are the Great, Helmeted and White-Crowned Hornbills.  The rivers also provide an excellent place to see more unusual birds like the Blue-banded and Rufous-collared Kingfisher, which are present and readily seen.  The National Park also features several hiking trails to make it easier for birdwatchers to search for birds!

Uganda

Located in southwestern Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a large ancient forest known for its exceptional biodiversity.  In 2011, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was voted one of the most popular birding sites in Africa, as it is an ideal habitat for various birds, with 360 recorded bird species. While Uganda is a fantastic birding destination, this location is excellent for seeing birds, such as the Short-tailed Warbler and the Blue-headed Sunbird.  It is also a popular location for many safaris and birdwatching tours.

South Africa

South Africa is another country well known for its birdwatching opportunities, with several popular destinations known for their biodiversity.  On the top of many lists is Kruger National Park, which boasts over 500 species of birds, which includes many endemic species. In addition, the reserve contains several habitats with many tropical species of birds. However, over 20% of bird sightings in the park are considered rare as many species have a limited distribution range, while others are seasonal visitors and some are elusive.  The best time to visit the park is between October and March, when migrant birds come through.

For more information on South Africa and Kruger National Park visit BlueGnu.co.za.

New Zealand

Piwakawaka
Piwakawaka

New Zealand is a 1,600-kilometres-long chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean known for being one of the world’s most unique birding destinations. The most famous bird in New Zealand is the national emblem, the Kiwi, which can be seen in the wild in Northland and on Stewart Island.  If, while visiting New Zealand, you travel into the native forests, you will be welcomed by birdsong and the chance to see the warbling Tui, the flittering Piwakawaka (New Zealand Fantail), and the large Kereru (New Zealand Pigeon). In addition, there are more than eighty types of seabirds that breed along the shores of New Zealand.  If you head to Albatrolls Centre at Taiaroa Head, you can see the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world. In addition, you can see the Hoiho (Yellow-eyed Penguin) and Tītī (Sooty Shearwater) a bit further south at Nugget point.  Whether you join a birdwatching tour or explore the island on your own, New Zealand has so much to offer when it comes to exploring native and visiting wildlife.

Conclusion

The few locations mentioned in this article are just a glimpse of birdwatching opportunities available in fascinating countries worldwide. With so many opportunities to see rare, exotic, and endemic species, look no further than any of these destinations on the list when you’re planning your next vacation or looking to put together your life list!  All of the countries mentioned are safe for solo travel and also feature several reputable tour companies to assist with your birdwatching ventures.

 

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