Bird Watching Tours

Browse Programs

There’s nothing better than getting in tune with nature by observing animals in their habitat. One of the ways one can do this is through bird watching. While it's not a necessarily active or adventurous thing to do while traveling, birding can be quite thrilling for any wildlife lover, especially when you see something unexpected.

There are different ways to observe birds in their natural habitat. For starters, you can watch them through the naked eye. You can also use a telescope or binoculars combined with your hearing to better identify what you’re observing. Some birds can only be heard and not seen, so knowing their call will help an observer tremendously at this hobby.

Amateurs are typically referred to as bird watchers, while more seasoned people are referred to as birders. Read on to learn more about birding tours.

Some of the most beautiful places in the world are an ideal place for bird watching. The most ideal spots are in the center of the migratory path of the birds. Going at a certain time of the year will ensure you see the most species of bird.

South Africa

South Africa is an ideal destination for bird-watching trips, but also for those birders who love all kinds of wildlife. There is ample opportunity to see the 'Big Five' animals (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros), but also the 'Big Six' of birds, including the Hulking Southern-Ground Hornbills, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Kori Bustard and Martial Eagle. The ideal time for visiting South Africa is October through March (summer) each year.

The United States

You don’t need to be in the middle of the grasslands or jungle to see birds. The United States is home to a plethora of bird species, many of whom migrate during the ideal bird-watching months of September through November. For example, Cape May, Massachusetts is perfect for bird-watching because the community has built infrastructures to support birds during their seasonal migration through the region.

Australia

In Australia, most bird watching sites are located near grasslands, wetlands, volcanic craters, and one of the oldest rainforests in the world. This variety makes it one of the best destinations to go bird watching. Daintree National Park is also nearby, which is another location phenomenal for bird watching; there, birders can expect to see the Orange-footed Scrubfowl and the Southern Cassowary. The ideal time to go on a bird watching tour in Australia is the summer months of October through April.

Bird watching is an ideal activity for travelers, as it requires little equipment, little preparation, and a whole lot of patience. Once you've figured out the location and when you're going to go, grab your binoculars and guide book and get started!

What to Look For In a Tour

Bird watching tours will provide you with a knowledgeable guide who is well informed about the birds in the surrounding areas, their calls, and how to look for them. They will provide you with extensive knowledge of the birds and useful tips to make the most of your experience. When looking for a tour, be sure to consider if your guide is a local provider, or how many seasons they have been working in the region. This can be a good indication of their familiarity with species and the bird's unique behavior as they live and migrate through the destination.

Additionally, consider reading previous travelers reviews of tour operators you are considering. Though you can never be guaranteed to see the same birds or wildlife as part travelers have, you can get an indication for the chances of seeing a rare bird (has it been spotted even once by other travelers, or quite frequently?) or unique behavior.

Average Bird Watching Tour Length & Cost

Bird watching tours are somewhat varied: a small subset of tour operators provide birding specific tours, where you can spend anywhere from two to ten days focused solely on watching birds in their natural environment. Other tour operators might provide birding opportunities mixed in with other wildlife watching, such as a safari.

Similarly, bird watching tours range in price, from as low as roughly $1,500 to as high as $3,000 for 10+-day safaris which include bird watching activities.

Packing Tips & Gear Rental

One of the primary things bird watchers bring on a trip is a journal. This is ideal for keeping track of the types of birds you see and the sounds you hear; you can use it later to try and identify unknown species you've seen. Similarly, binoculars are a great way to observe birds that are difficult to see with the naked eye. Before you buy binoculars, test them out to make sure they’re comfortable on your face and eyes. Also, make sure they have good and clear magnification so you’re able to see as clearly and as far as possible.

Guide books on specific birds and bird species will make it a lot easier for you to identify birds when you see them. You’ll even be able to impress all of your friends! And, not only will looking at pictures of birds help you to identify them, but so will listening to birdcalls. These can easily be found online.

Depending on where you go, you can download a bird watching guide specific to that park which will show you routes you can take that will guarantee you see the most birds. Make sure you bring your camera, too!

Other Tips

  • Visas - Your visa requirements will depend on two things: your nationality and your destination. Most tour providers can provide assistance in ensuring you have the right visa to take a tour, so check with them before or immediately after booking a tour.
  • Currency - In most cases, it is helpful to travel with a small amount of cash in the local currency. Again, your tour operator can provide you suggestions depending on the destination and cultural norms of your bird watching tour.

Qualifications & Training

One great thing about bird watching is that it doesn't necessarily require training or qualifications to do – anywhere in the world! All you need is an interest, patience, and a respect for the wildlife you're trying to observe.

Activity Risks

With bird watching, as with other wildlife tours, you’re observing a species in their natural habitat. Don’t get too close to them or disturb them, and make sure to be respectful of the surrounding nature. Some birds may be more vicious than others, so make sure you keep your distance and observe them as if you’re not actually there.

Make sure to stay quiet so you do not disrupt the birds in their habitat and so you can hear them. Some birds have very quiet calls; so staying quiet will ensure your ability to identify them.

Lastly, don’t litter and keep trash in a bag to throw away later on.

Safety Tips

An often overlooked safety tip for bird watching: stay hydrated and be sure to use sunscreen or a hat to protect your skin. You will be outside in the heat (or cold!) all day long, so make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. Wear comfortable walking shoes to make the activity as pleasurable as possible.

Showing 23 Programs

South Africa

Bokbus Garden Route Adventures
Experience South Africa's Garden Route including all the breathtaking natural wonders packed with adventure. Highlights inclu...

Australia

Naturewise Eco Escapes
2-day wildlife tour to help save Australia’s Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat at Brookfield Conservation Park. A great overnight e...

Australia

Naturewise Eco Escapes
Discover the untouched Kimberley Coast, get up close and personal with turtles and experience authentic Aboriginal insights i...

Argentina

Say Hueque
Tour Iguazu Falls and travel via comfortable and inexpensive overnight bus (with fully reclinable seat/beds). Walk along Igua...

Kenya

East Africa Adventure Tours & Safaris
Spend 12 days on the most epic safari you could imagine! You'll see everything you could possibly imagine and more. Safaris s...

Australia

Naturewise Eco Escapes
Experience the impressive Great Ocean Road landscape and help make a direct contribution to endangered species conservation....

Australia

Gawler Ranges Safaris
Gawler Ranges Safaris offer an amazing diversity and profusion of wildlife in numbers rarely seen elsewhere in Australia. The...

Argentina

Say Hueque
Tour Iguazu Falls in style. Daily flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu will bring you face to face to some of the most impress...

Kenya

The Africa Adventure Company
A new safari offering where you visit Samburu, Solio, Mara and Giraffe Manor. The diversity of activities includes both day a...

Australia

Echidna Walkabout
Feel the timeless peace of a landscape full of animals and very few people, wake to the manic calls of flying-foxes and cocka...

Australia

Araucaria Ecotours
South-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales is one of Australia's "hotspots" of biodiversity, harboring the third hi...

Australia

Aussie Wanderer Adventure Tours and Safaris
Join us on 9 wild days on the West Australian Coast exploring all the amazing destinations along the way before arriving in i...

Mexico

Row Sea Kayaking Adventures
Experience one of the most incredible close-up wildlife encounters on the planet from our exclusive base camp situated on a s...

Malawi

Nomad Adventure Tours
Leaving Vic Falls, we head to the South Luangwa National Park, travel into the warm heart of Africa, Malawi and then on to th...

India

Encounters Travel
This 9-day north India tour covers India's classic Golden Triangle route of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, with several other stops,...