Birds are remarkable animals, able to survive in virtually every corner of the world. Their astonishing skill and adaptability, their distinctive group habits and their intricate physical beauty are just some of the reasons birdwatching is such a popular activity.
While there are countless places to see a vast range of species, some of the most rare and impressive can be observed in the following unusual destinations.
South Georgia Island
South Georgia Island is without doubt one of the best locations to encounter King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus). There are approximately half a million King Penguins living on the island, along with countless other smaller seabirds as well. The vast mountains surrounding the penguin colonies are steep and studded with glaciers, making for beautiful scenery all year round. Since it is so rarely visited, South Georgia Island is the perfect place to encounter wildlife for those who enjoy quieter, more immersive experiences.
The tropical wetlands of Pantanal in Brazil are home to some astonishing birdlife, including the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) and the Jabiru Stork (Jabiru mycteria). These larger species are only seen during July and August, however there are myriad other birds to be seen throughout the year. Nature lovers can cruise around the glorious scenery and admire the animals in their serene natural habitat.
Kakum National Park, Ghana
Ghana is widely known for its diverse animal life, and when it comes to birds, this West African nation has an abundance. One site of particular interest is the magnificent rainforest of Kakum National Park, where they can be observed from high in the hanging walkways among the canopy. This undoubtedly offers the best opportunity to spot more than 300 avian species, including the impressive Melancholy Woodpecker (Dendropicos lugubris), the rare Fraser’s Eagle-Owl (Bubo poensis) and nine types of hornbill. The natural beauty of Ghana is on show in all its glory in this outstanding national park.
Mindo, a small village in the Andes Mountains of northern Ecuador, is famed for its astounding selection of birdlife. Its cloud forest is part of the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve and sits almost 1.7km above sea level. The vibrantly coloured birds that can be observed here include the Glowing Puffleg Hummingbird (Eriocnemis vestita) and the Shining Sunbeam Hummingbird (Aglaeactis cupripennis). These delightful species are as enchanting by nature as they are by name, swooping around the valley at fantastic speeds considering their size.
Birdwatching Wildlife Holidays
For avid birdwatchers, joining one of the specialist wildlife holidays in any of these areas will provide a fulfilling and memorable experience. The best nature tour companies offer exclusive birdwatching itineraries, providing immersive, close-up sightings of the rarest and most beautiful birds. A dedicated nature based holiday with an expert company is a great way to encounter a huge range of amazing animals, as organisers and leaders are familiar with the very best viewing spots in the local areas.
Author Plate Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in birds. With a passionate interest in rare avian species, Marissa chooses the expert-led wildlife holidays organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of flora and fauna in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.