Endemics and Megafauna, Western Ghats Winter 2023: Trip summary

Author: Ravi Kailas

Brown Palm Civet in a copiously fruiting Fig tree (aka civet heaven). Valparai, Anamalais. PC: Ganesh Ramachandran

20th January to 4th Feb 2024


John Wright, Karen Baker, Philip Telfer and Mark Bibby


Ravi Kailas and Ganesh Ramachandran

Itinerary Outline

Day 1: Galibore (Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary). Transfer from Bangalore Airport
Days 2 to 5: Kabini (Nagarhole National Park).
Days 5 to 7: Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Days 7 to 10: Valparai (Anamalai Tiger Reserve)
Day 10 to 11: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Days 11 to 13: Pampadum Shola NP
Days 13 to 15: Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve)
Day 15 to 16: Thattekad
Day 16: Transfer from Cochin Airport

Please follow this link for an excellent, detailed version of the report, put together by John Wright with contributions from the other participants: https://www.mammalwatching.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/India-Western-Ghats.pdf

A classic Western Ghats mammal watching oriented trip produced 37 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds. The group managed to see almost all the mammalian targets including Sloth Bear, Dhole, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Brown Palm Civet, Striped-neck and Brown Mongooses, Grey Slender Loris and the endemic squirrels. 3 quality tiger sightings, one Leopard, a plethora of Indian Porcupine and Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Elephant and Gaur added to the mammalian riches from trip. Most, if not all, of our mammal sightings were high quality, where either the individuals showed well or there was some interesting behaviour on display, or both. We birded sporadically until Thattekad, our final stop, where a concerted morning effort brought in some great species. Highlights included both the Nilgiri and White-bellied Sholakilis, the Nilgiri and Palani Chilapans, Black and Orange, Nilgiri and White-bellied Blue Flycatchers, Malabar Barbet, White-bellied Treepie, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Malabar Parakeet, Ceylon Bay Owl, Malabar Trogon and some lovely raptors (Black Baza and Black Eagle among them). There were a couple of bush frogs, some great views of the Western Ghats Flying lizards, Whitaker’s Gecko, and a good variety of butterflies and dragonflies that pleased those with an eye for smaller creatures and all that make up the web of life. 

An interesting interaction between Tiger and Smooth-coated Otter at Kabini

This trip was a long time coming, first planned for 2021, until Covid put paid to the plans until now. But it all came together for a productive, fun-filled trip for me personally as I hope it was for Phil, Karen, John and Mark. A delightful group to host and travel with!

List of Mammals

Grey Slender Loris Loris lyddekerianus
Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata
Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus 
Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johnii 
Black-footed Grey Langur Semnopithecus hypoleucos
Tufted Grey Langur Semnopithecus priam
Asian Elephant Elephas maximus
Indian Munjtac Moschiola indica
Sambar Rusa unicolor
Spotted Deer Axis axis
Gaur Bos gaurus
Nilgiri Tahr Nilgiritragus hylocrius
Indian Wild Pig Sus scrofa
Tiger Panthera tigris
Common Leopard Panthera pardus
Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hemaphroditus
Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni
Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica
Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsii
Ruddy Mongoose Herpestes smithii
Stripe-necked Mongoose Herpestes vitticollis
Brown Mongoose Herpestes fuscus
Wild Dog Cuon alpinus
Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus
Smooth Coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata
Indian Hare Lepus nigricollis
Indian Crested Porcupine Hystrix indica
Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica
Grizzled Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista philippensis
Three-striped Palm Squirrel Funambulus palmarum
Jungle Striped Squirrel Funambulus tristriatus
Nilgiri-striped Squirrel Funambulus sublineatus
House Mouse Mus musculus
Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus
Cynopterus species
Lesser Woolly Horshoe Bat Rhinolophus beddomei

Highlight Birds

Nilgiri Sholakili
White-bellied Sholakili
Palani Chilappan
Nilgiri Chilappan
Nigiri Flycatcher
Black and Orange Flycatcher
White-bellied Blue Flycatcher
White-bellied Treepie
Malabar Parakeet
Malabar Barbet
Ceylon Bay Owl
Brown Fish Owl
Black Baza
Black Eagle
Rufous-bellied Eagle
Rufous Babbler
Painted Bush Quail
Malabar Trogon
Nilgiri Wood Pigeon
Grey-fronted Green Pigeon
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
Malabar Grey Hornbill
Great Pied Hornbill
White-bellied Woodpecker

List of Reptiles and Amphibians

Western Ghats Flying Lizard
Common Garden Lizard
South India Rock Agama
Whitaker’s Gecko
House Gecko
Keeled Garden Skink
Common Dotted Garden Skink
Checkered Keelback
Skittering Frog
Wayanad Bush Frog
Common Indian Toad


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