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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

 

Pelagic Birding is a rather specific ‘art’ or aspect of birding, and it basically refers to an ocean-going trip taken on a boat in search of true ocean-going species, such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels, etc. This is usually done as a day trip but can be slightly longer. These species are almost never seen from land (except during extreme conditions when they get blown close to shore), and in order to see them one has to travel out into the ocean. Due to the rather unpredictable nature of the weather and sea conditions on the day itself, each pelagic excursion is scheduled over two days, with the second day acting as a backup.

Pelagic birding offers some of the most exciting birding out there – as one quite simply never knows what will turn up! These species are known to travel vast distances in search of food and spend the vast majority of their lives out at sea, traversing the world’s oceans. The possibilities can literally be anything! The sight alone of these unique birds with their incredible flying skills and aerial prowess is quite simply awe-inspiring, and they leave us marveling at their capabilities time after time.

The port city, Cape Town, off South Africa’s south-western coast, is world-renowned for its pelagic birding. This is due to the rich waters located off Cape Town resulting from the meeting of the Benguela and Agulhas currents. This quite simply attracts a large number of fish and, in turn, the many pelagic species that feed on these fish. This whole process is augmented by the many fishing vessels operating in these waters, which attract even more birds. Birding Ecotours now run regular scheduled pelagic birding trips off Cape Town, and we will soon start arranging pelagic outings in other Southern African destinations (such as Inhambane in Mozambique, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia), and also in other parts of the world such as off Lima along the Peruvian coast and off the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

 

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

 

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

 

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

 

There are some seasonal differences during pelagics, and the austral summer brings in a few northern hemisphere species, such as Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, European Storm Petrel, etc., while the austral winter brings in many of the true Antarctic species from further south, such as Antarctic Prion, Cape Petrel, etc. One can experience a great day out at sea during any time of the year; however, the most productive months must be the period ranging from June/July through October. Here the regular frontal systems from the south bring in many rare and ‘exotic’ species from further afield, and the waters off Cape Town are regularly packed with thousands of birds – a true sight to behold!

 

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

 

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present in small numbers during the austral summer months

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present during the austral summer months

 

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer.

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer

 

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

 

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

 

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

 

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

 

Our upcoming schedule for 2017 is as follows:

  • 29/30 April — 4 places remaining
  • 27/28 May
  • 10/11 June
  • 15/16 July
  • 19/20 August
  • 16/17 September
  • 14/15 October
  • 18/19 November

 

For more information on these pelagic outings, please click on the link below:

Information Cape Pelagic Trip

 

Seasonality Table (click to enlarge):

Seasonality table.xlsx


Malawi Birding Tours

Malawi, officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Malawi is over 118,000 km2(45,560 sq mi) with an estimated population of 16,777,547 (July 2013 est.). Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi’s largest city; the second largest is Blantyre and the third is Mzuzu. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa”.

Birding Tour Zambia: Chaplin's Barbet - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Zambia and Malawi (South-central Africa) 2017

Duration: 27 days
Limit (Group Size): 5 - 6
Date Start: August 14, 2017
Date End: September 09, 2017
Tour Start:: Livingstone, Zambia
Tour End:: Lilongwe, Malawi
Price: US$10,880 per person sharing for 6 participants, US$11,715 per person sharing for 5 participants
Summary: It is surprising that Zambia and Malawi are not bombarded by birders! Probably they are just not particularly well-marketed, charismatic, and popular countries for birding tours. But this is certainly not ...

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Red-faced Crimsonwing - John Caddick

Birding Tour Malawi: 15-day Birding Adventure 2017

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 7
Date Start: December 01, 2017
Date End: December 15, 2017
Tour Start:: Lilongwe
Tour End:: Lilongwe
Price: US$6000 per person sharing, assuming 6-7 people
Summary: Malawi, a country in southeast Africa rarely visited by tourists, is an amazing destination for birders. Its numerous national parks are brimming with avian riches, and beautiful Lake Malawi adds a differe...

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Birding Tour Zambia: Chaplin's Barbet - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Zambia and Malawi (South-central Africa) 2018

Duration: 27 days
Limit (Group Size): 5 - 6
Date Start: August 14, 2018
Date End: September 09, 2018
Tour Start:: Livingstone, Zambia
Tour End:: Lilongwe, Malawi
Price: US$11,859 per person sharing for 6 participants, US$12,769 per person sharing for 5 participants
Summary: It is surprising that Zambia and Malawi are not bombarded by birders! Probably they are just not particularly well-marketed, charismatic, and popular countries for birding tours. But this is certainly not ...

See full tour detail
Red-faced Crimsonwing - John Caddick

Birding Tour Malawi: 15-day Birding Adventure 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 7
Date Start: December 01, 2018
Date End: December 15, 2018
Tour Start:: Lilongwe
Tour End:: Lilongwe
Price: US$6540 per person assuming 6 - 7 people
Summary: Malawi, a country in southeast Africa rarely visited by tourists, is an amazing destination for birders. Its numerous national parks are brimming with avian riches, and beautiful Lake Malawi adds a differe...

See full tour detail

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What our clients say

We spent three weeks with Andy in Thailand and enjoyed the trip thoroughly. Andy worked so hard to find the birds, and get us on them.  He was very patient and took the time we needed. He knew all the best places to go, knew what birds would be expected, identified them in an instant  and still managed to find some pretty good rarities along with the “known birds”, Himalayan Cutia anyone? And we spent literally hours getting great looks at Spoon-billed Sandpiper.  Andy got us very close without disturbing the birds or any other birders.  It was a highlight of the trip.  We are hoping to see Andy in York later this year for a days birding on his home patch! Bob and Terrie, Idaho USA

Bob and Terrie, Idaho USA
04/22/2016



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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