5 of the best... Birdwatching Spots

| June 3, 2011

From chestnut-quilled rock pigeons in Australia’s Northern Territory to Siberian cranes in Rajasthan, here is a selection of some of the world’s best birdwatching spots.

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Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras
The endangered and endemic emerald hummingbird, as well as the lovely continga, are just two of the many birds that grace the skies of Pico Bonito National Park. With a core area of 500 sq km it is the second largest national park in Honduras and home to nearly 400 species of bird. The Lodge at Pico Bonito offers birdwatchers luxury eco-accommodation, expert guides and a fantastic butterfly sanctuary, all set against a backdrop of the towering peaks of the Nombre de Dios mountain range. From the lodge, guests can conveniently explore the park’s magnificent and diverse terrain of dense forests, waterfalls and rivers.

Danube Delta, Romania
A network of lakes, channels and lush forest make up the Danube delta – Europe's largest wetland reserve and a bird-watcher’s paradise. The delta forms where the Danube splits into three main branches – the Chilia, Sulina and Sfantu rivers. Around 300 birds species call the delta their home, including both the white and dalmation pelican, as well as the red-footed falcon and glossy ibis. The best way to explore is by boat.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, India
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, was once the property of a local maharaja. At this time, it was notorious for the large number of ducks shot there – that is until conservationists put a stop to it in the late1960s. Today, the most hankered after bird to be spotted in this 2,600-hectare area is the Siberian crane, which is known to arrive in December and leave in March – the only other place in the world that this bird migrates to is the Caspian Lowlands of Iran.

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Spanning 20,000 sq km, Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s greatest natural assets, harbouring an exceptional array of rock-art, flora, fauna, over-sized landscapes and plentiful bird-watching opportunities. Of particular interest to keen birders would be the four species that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world – the white-throated grasswren, the white-lined honeyeater, the hooded parrot and the chestnut-quilled rock pigeon.

Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango delta,  filled with meandering channels, emerald-green lagoons and palm-islands, is rightly considered to be one of the most incredible wilderness sanctuaries in Africa. Covering an area of 15,000 sq km, it is the largest inland delta system in the world. Many of the concessions are a delight for birdwatchers – the greater swamp warbler, the African pygmy goose, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, the endangered wattled crane and Pel’s fishing-owl are just a few of the avian variety on offer.

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