Top 10 Birdwatching Vacations - Overall
Birdlife around the world offers unique opportunities to explore untouched regions, appreciate nature and give you a taste for adventure. Deltas, remote islands, wetlands, national parks and even the icy regions of the world boast their own unique species.
- Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Even the most luke-warm birder will twitch themselves at the mention of these renowned islands. The birds here are considered some of the most exotic in the world. Many are endemic to the islands. Amongst the most famed is the waved Albatross with a wingspan of 11' 5" and performs a courtship dance. Boobies are also very common, including the cute little blue-footed boobies who can dive fearlessly from cliffs 98 feet high.
- Falkland islands
Amazing arrays of spectacular wildlife call these islands home although the Falkland Islands are probably best known for their penguins, with five breeding species and over a million penguins in total. There are also plenty of cormorant, geese, albatross and petrel to keep birders busy.
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
While renowned as the place to see the Big Five of the mammal kingdom it is also home to 500 species of birds. You can see vultures, owls, bee-eaters, rollers, eagles, buzzards, hornbills, starlings and shrikes to name just a few.
- Okavango Delta, Botswana
Divide your birding time here between boats and open 4x4s. Birdlife here comes on a platter. There are parades of egrets, herons, storks, ibises, kingfishers, African Pygmy-goose, lesser jacana, wattled cranes and even owls in the wetlands. Then head to the marshy fringes and woodlands for ostrich, vultures, starlings and sand grouse.
- Yosemite National Park, California
One of the great biological and geological attractions of North America also has a bird list 300 species long. The best time for birders is between June and August but get up early to avoid the crowds. The great gray owl is one of the park’s special species as is the black swift.
- Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada
These spectacular regions are also home to some of the best birding locations in eastern Canada. Around St John’s there are multitudes of seabirds with nesting pairs of Atlantic puffins, murres, razorbill and guillemot. On Cape St. Mary’s there’s a whir of motion with gannets, kittiwakes, common murres, razorbills, guillemots and cormorants. And on Cape Breton Island look for the rare Bicknell’s thrush and nesting birds in the boreal forest.
- Orkney Islands, Scotland
This archipelago is particularly fertile and has an amazing number of birds. Get out your book and count off guillemot, razorbill, puffin, kittiwake, breeding fowl and the short-eared owl.
- Camargue, France
Camargue is a 210,000-acre national park in the vast Rhone delta, and teems with shorebirds, herons and gulls. It is also a major breeding area for the Greater Flamingo and a vital rest and refueling stop for millions of migrating birds.
Winter is the season to visit Japan for its three great birding spectacles: the white-naped and hooded cranes that congregate in their thousands in Kyushu, elegant Japanese cranes dancing in the snow in Hokkaido and Steller’s sea-eagles gathering on the sea-ice around Lake Furen. A real birding dream.
- Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
One third of Australia’s birdlife calls this wetlands sanctuary home, so take a boat safari and see how close you can get to them. Mind the crocs!