LATEST NEWS and TOUR UPDATES

Welcome to our Latest News page where you can get summaries from the latest Zoothera tours, as well as other information. To sign up and receive our new E-newsletter with tour updates and more Click Here. Why not take a look at the Zoothera Blog for more tour news....  

 Check out some of our tour photos on Flickr - Zoothera FLICKR photos

We have also started to upload some videos on YouTube - Zoothera videos

Check out a selection of videos taken on our tours and we will upload more in due course  - Tour Videos.

If you want to book a tour just follow this link - Booking Form

Eleonora's Falcon
Eleonora's Falcon

CYPRUS AUTUMN MIGRATION TOUR  2021:  3rd - 9th October
If you've been following our success in Cyprus during the past 2 tours of late August/early September you will see what an exciting destination it can be. There's been Demoiselle Cranes, Montagu's Harrier, European Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint, Eurasian Wryneck, Barred, Icterine, Eastern Orphean, Eastern Bonelli's and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Citrine Wagtail, Cretzschmar's Bunting and plenty more. By late September Eleonora's Falcons are still hanging around and we get outstanding views of this super sexy bird! Late Autumn migration could potentially be outstanding.... So why not come along and join us? The 'red tape' is minimal and it truly is easy to get over there, with flights from many regional airports at a reasonable cost (between £40 and £90), good weather, lovely home cooked food by our very own cook, and of course the birding is really, really good. 

See tour itinerary here - Cyprus Autumn Migration Tour Info

boreal OWL
Boreal Owl

NEW MEXNEW MEXICO & MINNESOTA - JANUARY 2021.        **** TRAVEL AUTHORISED TO USA ****
If you haven't already noticed, our New Mexico tour in January 2022 now has a pre-tour extension to Minnesota for wintering owls and other specialities. The emphasis is on quality with Boreal, Snowy, Northern Hawk and Great Grey Owls the main targets, but there's so much more with Spruce, Ruffed and Sharp-tailed Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Canada Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Evening & Pine Grosbeaks and more! Plus, there's the option to head over to west Texas and take a boat ride to see stunning Whooping Cranes as well. It is looking increasingly likely that the USA will open up to fully vaccinated travellers in the next couple of months, so this could be a great tour to kick-start our overseas birding adventures after a long wait.

You can see full tour info here - New Mexico Winter Birding Tour Info 

ARABIAN Partridge
Arabian Partridge

 OMAN TOUR  2021: NOVEMBER 2021
From 22nd September 2021 Oman will be removed from the UK's Red List and with this in mind we are offering a 2 week tour for a small group of maximum 6 birders. There's a mouth-watering and diverse selection of birds available with a mix of Palearctic, Oriental and Afrotropical species including Jouanin's Petrel, Arabian Partridge, Spotted, Crowned & Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Crab Plover, Sooty Gull, Saunders's Tern, Pallid Scops Owl, Arabian Scops Owl, Omani Owl, Desert Owl, Arabian Eagle Owl, Sooty Falcon, Hume's & Persian Wheatears, Forbes-Watson's Swift, Asian Dunn's Lark, Plain Leaf Warbler, Grey Hypocolius, Nile Valley Sunbird, Arabian Babbler, Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak and Yemen Serin.

Please email our office to register your interest.

Tour info here - Oman Birding Adventuer Info

Long-wattled Umbrellabird
Long-wattled Umbrellabird

NW ECUADOR - CHOCO ENDEMICS TOUR  2021:  10th Oct - 23rd Oct 2021
There has been some recent indications that Ecuador will be upgraded to the Green List from w/c 20th September 2021. If that is true, then we are good to go! Ecuador has been adopting a very stringent vaccine philosophy and it has been one of the most proactive countries in South America in that regard. If you are ready for your first overseas birding adventure since the pandemic began, then this could just be the tour for you. We will be staying in carefully selected hotels and remote lodges in search of a mouth-watering selection of Chocó endemics and other extremely localised specialities. This is the traditional Ecuador tour with a twist, as you may well be familiar with a few locations at the start of the tour such as Angel Paz's Reserve and Yanacocha. But we quickly move on to Mashpi, Kapari, 23 de Junio Community, Playa de Oro Reserve, Alto Tambo and Chical Road. This route gives us a fantastic opportunity to see many rare birds that aren't seen on other tours and it's sure to be an exciting journey. To get to the remote lodge in the Playa de Oro Reserve requires a 90-minute boat ride into the wilderness! And just to whet the appetite, some of the species we could encounter include Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Brown Woodrail, Chocó Toucan, Chocó Screech-Owl, Lita Woodpecker, Black-tipped Cotinga, Long-wattled Umbrellabird (right),  Barred Puffbird, Brown-billed Scythebill, Blue-whiskered, Scarlet-browed, Golden-chested and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers amongst many others. Wouldn't it be great to go birding overseas again? Let's go birding!

See tour itinerary here - NW Ecuador Tour Info

Capercaillie
Capercaillie

SCOTLAND in WINTER: 21st - 26th NOVEMBER 2021
Well our Scotland trip is back on! And we are looking forward to our 10th Anniversary Scotland in Winter tour in November this year (we are like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.... just a year late!) Why not join us for some great birding from our base in Grantown-on-Spey, visiting various sites in the highlands as well as the Moray coast and we'll also go to the west coast for a fantastic day out as well. Evenings will be fun with a whiskey tasting night, a cocktail night that may well be extended to every night, and some surprise guests giving talks. We've added a twist to the tour by departing in a minibus from our base in Staffordshire and driving to Caerlaverock for a winter wildfowl spectacular and staying in a hotel the first night. We're hoping there's a rarity to twitch either on the drive up to Scotland or on our return journey south. By staying in a huge 10-bedroom house and bringing our own cook we can ensure a perfectly safe time so we can concentrate on birding. In these difficult times we are all rethinking about our desire to travel without compromising our health and safety, so our Scotland tour just seems to fit the bill. It's going to be a right hoot! You can see full tour info here - Scottish Highlands in Winter Tour 2021.

finsch's wheatear
Finsch's Wheatear

FINSCH'S WHEATEAR MINI-BREAKS 2021: 4th - 8th Dec, 8th -12th Dec
And here's something a little different. A 5 day break in search of Finsch's Wheatear in Cyprus, one of the few places we can actually travel in safety to at the moment. Again, we are staying at a private villa, with our own cook, making this probably the safest way to go birding right now. There's also minimal red tape and definitely 'no hoops to jump through' to get into Cyprus, just an online form (Cyprus Flight Pass) which we will help you with.   There's a great bunch of wintering & resident birds present on the island in early December as well, and we are guaranteed to see some great birds, have a lot of fun and enjoy some winter sunshine.
Take a look at our tour itinerary here: Finsch's Wheatear itinerary

birding group
Those were the days!

FUTURE BIRDING TOURS:
Well, the world is moving on and slowly opening up. The future of birding tours remains uncertain and possibly only for the brave-hearted in the imminent future, but there is hope. What is apparent is that it is necessary to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to go anywhere with any safety from now on, and yet there are places to go and feel relatively safe. CYPRUS is one of these places and we have designed a series of shorter breaks in Aug/Sept and December. Failing that, the USA has everything we need to have a fun and bird-filled trip so we are planning a CALIFORNIA trip in September,  just as long as the borders  open up as promised. And our NEW MEXICO tour in January 2022 is filling up, especially as we've added a pre-tour extension to Minnesota for wintering specialities and there's also an option to visit west Texas for Whooping Cranes now as well . If you'd like to register your interest please email our office. We've also got a NW ECUADOR tour ready to go in October, and this South American country has been doing better than most other countries in the region, so possibly it will be going to Amber soon? On the domestic front we have new dates for SCOTLAND  (Sunday 21st - Friday 26th November).

As you can see we have tried to be proactive and add tours 'as and when' the rules change. it isn't easy but you can see what we have tried to do, with the emphasis on a safety first approach. That is why we have decided to use private villas in Cyprus and a huge, 10-bedded house in Scotland. We will also help with all of the added Covid requirements needed to get on the plane, from filling out forms to arranging Covid tests. It needn't be daunting and we will look after you every step of the way.

Things are  changing constantly, as countries are dropped off the Red List and upgraded to Amber & Green, and we will continue to monitor the situation and provide tour options for anyone keen on travelling overseas again. Watch this space!

demoiselle crane
Demoiselle Cranes

CYPRUS MINI-BREAKS 2021:  4th -10th Sept - 1 space left for a male sharer
Only just over 4 hours flying time from the UK, the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is home to 3 endemics, several endemic subspecies, some class breeding birds and great migration as well. The weather is going to be sunny throughout, and you can expect great home-cooked food by our very own private chef, all drinks inc beer & wine are supplied, and there's even a chance every day to swim in our own pool. It may well be like a holiday...! You will have five and a half days full birding during your 6 nights on the island and upon arrival in the evening you will be met by your guide and whisked away to our villa where we will take care of everything. We've all been locked down for a long time so this gentle re-introduction to overseas travel/birding could be the perfect opportunity for a select groups of only 4 to 'get back in the saddle'. 
Take a look at our tour itinerary here: Cyprus 2021 itinerary

chesatnut-sided shrike-vireo
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo

WEST MEXICO NOVEMBER 2021: POSTPONED......
Mexico provides many fantastic birding opportunities and none more so than West Mexico. Not only is it safe but the coastal areas of Mazatlan, San Blas and Puerto Vallarta are 'very western' with a large population of American citizens either living there or spending large chunks of the year there. Infrastructure is generally very good and there are many new highways, cutting down on travelling times. Oh and the food..... yes, it's amazing! And the Mexican authorities seem to have a much better handle on Covid than the UK authorities - mask wearing, social distancing and hygiene are observed by everyone. it's just about the safest country to travel to right now. Honest. We were there for 2 weeks in June and encountered no problems. And there's no special entry requirements to enter the country either. But the birding is what we're going for right? 350 - 400 species including 60+ endemics in a little over 2 weeks, pleasant weather, boat trips, flocks of birds. It really is a perfect destination right now. Take a look at our tour itinerary here: West Mexico 2021 itinerary

MONTEIRO'S STORM PETREL
Monteiro's Storm Petrel

AZORES PELAGICS 2021:
This is a quick 'heads up' about some exciting news for July 2021. We will be running 3 pelagics in the Azores on 27th, 28th & 29th July looking for one of the rarest Western Palearctic seabirds - Monteiro's Storm-Petrel that breeds on a few small islets just off the island of Graciosa. We will, of course be hoping for a Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel as well - well you have to aim high right? But we will undoubtedly see large numbers of Cory's Shearwaters, a few Bulwer's Petrels, Sooty Tern and who knows what else could be lurking.....
Now that common sense prevails and Portugal has been taken off the Red List we really hope this tour will go ahead. No deposits are required for this, or any tour at present, just email us to express your interest.
See here for full details: Azores Pelagics 

HIMALAYAN MONAL
Himalayan Monal

CLASSIC HIMALAYAS TOUR LATE NOV 2021:
We are currently preparing a revised version of our popular Classic Himalayas tour to Corbett, Nainital, Pangot and Sat Tal for the end of November 2021. On top of all the great Himalayan species we normally see, we will now visit Chopta and the Doon Valley. The primary target here is the spectacular Himalayan Monal, which we hope to get awesome views of. Other key species include Snow Partridge, Snow Pigeon, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Variegated Laughingthrush, Alpine Thrush, Nepal Wren-Babbler, Spot-winged Rosefinch, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Collared Grosbeak, Scarlet Finch,  Red-headed Bullfinch and so much more.  See here for full details: Classic Himalayas 

Red-breasted Flycatcher
Red-breasted Flycatcher

ISLES OF SCILLY:
With the whole Covid-19 pandemic it has obviously not been possible to travel for many months. Our last tour was in October to the Isles of Scilly. We had a great week and enjoyed some good 'old-fashioned' birding with many a twitch thrown in. The undoubted highlight was an American Buff-bellied Pipit on St Agnes, but our group also enjoyed a 3-bunting day on St Mary's with Little, Lapland and Snow Buntings, and other highlights included an obliging Red-breasted Flycatcher, American Golden Plover, several Yellow-browed Warblers, Iceland Gull, Short-eared Owl and more! 


Face Masks for Birding

FACE MASKS:
With face masks becoming compulsory to wear in shops in England from 24th July why not wear a bird-inspired face mask. We may not like to wear one but if we've got to then let's do it birder-style! There's a series of 11 designs to choose from and we think they would look pretty good when heading out onto the first birding tours, or even down to Tesco's!

Just go to Country View Arts and have a look at more face masks.

golden eagle
Golden Eagle

NEW TOUR: Scotland in Winter. We have yet another brand new post Covid-19 tour, part of our 'getting back to birding' range - this one we hope to be able to run in November 2020. And we will combine this with our celebration of our 10th Anniverary of operating exciting birding tours around the world! We have a huge 10-bedroom house in Grantown-on-Spey from where we explore the highlands for Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Scottish & Parrot Crossbills etc. Excursions to the Moray coast will be made for rafts of seaducks and Otters, whilst the west coast can give us White-tailed Eagle and more spectacular scenery. There are huge goose roosts with tens of thousands of Pink-foots coming into Findhorn Bay to roost daily and very often rarer geese in amongst them, with a strong supporting cast of wintering waders providing quite a spectacle. We have 6 full days to get the best out of the highlands, but that's not all. As it's our 10th Anniversary, we have arranged a series of talks for the evenings, slide shows, a cocktail evening, a whiskey tasting session, and a few surprises. Our own cook will arrange some great meals and is all part of our desire to run a birding tour as safely as possible in the current climate. There's cheap direct flights from most UK airports to Inverness and we'll pick you up too! It promises to be a great, fun week choc full of great British birds, set amidst the wildest landscape imaginable, oh and we'll throw in the booze each evening too! So why not join our Scottish house party and let's go birding!
You can see full tour info here - Scottish Highlands in Winter Tour 2020.

Tenerife Blue Chaffinch
Tenerife Blue Chaffinch

We have another brand new post Covid-19 tour, part of our 'getting back to birding' range - this one we hope to be able to run in September 2020. This tour visits the Canary Islands of Tenerife (3 nights), La Gomera, Gran Canaria (2 nights) and Fuerteventura (3 nights). We are , once again, looking to stay in large, private villas on Tenerife and Fuerteventura, but on Gran Canaria we've got a superb little hotel lined up that's all inclusive and perfect for our needs. Oh and the Canary Islands have been relatively unscathed by Covid-19, and is one of the safest places to be in Europe right now! So we will be looking for the Macaronesian specialities and Canary Island endemics such as Bolle's and Laurel Pigeons, Canary Islands Stonechat, Berthelot's Pipit, Tenerife Blue Chaffinch, the recently split Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Plain Swift and Atlantic Canary. There's also Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, African Blue Tit, Trumpeter Finch and others. A ferry ride to La Gomera can add a few seabirds too. You can see full tour info here - Canary Islands 2020.

golden-backed mountain-tanager
Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager

NEW TOUR: Central Peru  September 2021
We've sneeked another new tour into our programme for next year, this time to the endemic-rich region of Central Peru. You might have already visited the north for spatuletail etc, and been to the amazing Manu, but the bit in between has more endemics. It's not an easy tour but the rewards (as they say) are extremely rewarding as we visit Lake Junin, Bosque Unchog, Huascaran National Park, the famous Satipo Road, Marcapomacocha and Santa Eulalia Valley for a mouthwatering list of really crazy, rare, endemic and extremely localised birds. And even a few as yet undescribed species too! How about seeing this awesome Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager (right)? And there's also Junin Grebe, Junin (Black) Rail, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Cloud-forest Screech-Owl, Bay and Chestnut Antpittas, White-cheeked and Bay-vented Cotingas, Pardusco, Rufous-browed Warbling-Finch, Black-spectacled Brushfinch, Rufous-backed Inca-Finch and so much more.  See the full itinerary here - Central Peru 2021.

zino's Petrel
Zino's Petrel

NEW TOUR: Azores & Madeira  12th-22nd August 2020.
It looks like the UK is about to adopt an 'air bridge' between Portugal and UK meaning you won't have to quarantine on return to the UK after the tour has finished. Madeira is currently one of the safest place to be and there have been ZERO reported fatalities linked to Covid-19. But we are going to do something a little different, just like on our recently posted Isles of Scilly tour for October 2020, and use a large villa where our group will be the only occupants. It's out in the country and away from everyone and we will have our own cook to prepare fresh meals every day. This way we can control the social distancing measures, maintain hygiene standards and we think this is the only way to run a birding tour safely right now. We will have 3 pelagics looking for Desertas, Zino's and Bulwer's Petrels, Madeiran and Wilson's Storm-Petrels, possibly Barolo's Shearwater, Great and Cory's Shearwaters and hopefully White-faced Storm-Petrel will appear too. We will do a night-time excursionto experience the sounds of a Zino's Petrel breeding colony high up in the mountains and look for the land-based endemics and specialities such as Trocaz Pigeon, Atlantic Canary, Berthelot's Pipit, Plain Swift and Madeiran Firecrest. We will have some time off to rest between pelagics and excursions, enjoy some fine wine and local beers over dinner and are pretty much guaranteed to have an extremely enjoyable birding holiday. Plus, we have added 3 islands of the Azores archipeligo into our itinerary now as we take 2 pelagics in search of Monteiro's Storm-Petrel, Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel and Barolo Shearwater.  Sound good right?  See the full itinerary here - Azores and Madeira Seabirds Adventure itinerary.

southern royal albatross
Helmet Vanga

During the Covid-19 crisis there's no need to pay a deposit for any future tour. Just email [email protected] to express your interest and we will hold your place until we are sure the tour can safely go ahead. 

southern royal albatross
King Penguins by Tracey Lambert

NEW TOUR! We are delighted to announce, in association with our partners from Princess Cruises, a brand new tour. Hop on board a full, working cruise ship as we sail from Santiago, Chile around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires via the Falkland Islands. There are so many amazing seabirds to find in the southern oceans and we know how problematical it can be doing a small-boat pelagic, so we have come up with the answer! Let's set our scopes up on the stable deck and scan for up to 3 species of Wandering Albatross, Northern & Southern Royal Albatross, Yellow-nosed, Black-browed, Grey-headed, Buller's and Salvin's Albatross, Southern & Northern Giant Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Juan Fernandez Petrel, Slender-billed Prion, Westland Petrel, Cape Verde Shearwater, Pincoya & Grey-backed Storm-Petrels, Peruvian, Common and Magellanic Diving-Petrels and more! There are 7 land-based excursions we have arranged to look for Elegant Crested Tinamou, Lesser Rhea, King, Gentoo & Magellanic Penguins, Imperial Cormorant, Falkland, Flightless & Flying Steamer-Ducks, Snowy Sheathbill, South American Painted Snipe, Magellanic Plover, Tawny-throated & Rufous-chested Dotterels, Magellanic Woodpecker, White-bridled Finch and many others! This is also an ideal tour to bring a non-birding partner who can enjoy all the amenities of a full working cruise ship - there's no Zoothera fee, just pay for the cabin starting from £1,399.00                                    To see the full tour itinerary  - Cape Horn & Straits of Magellan Pelagic Cruise Info

black-headed jay
Black-headed Jay

Our Classic Himalayas tour 29th November - 10th December visiting Corbett National Park, Nainital, Sat Tal and Pangot still has a few spaces. This is a classic birding tour visiting many of our favourite Indian sites where we will be entertained by some great birds, numerous mixed-feeding flocks that will blow your mind and the odd surprise or two! We will be on the lookout for Cheer Pheasant, Pallas's and Lesser Fish-Eagles, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Collared Falconet, Great Slaty, Scaly-bellied & Himalayan Woodpeckers, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Himalayan Rubythroat, Upland Pipit, Altai and Black-throated Accentors, Pink-browed Rosefinch and so much more. Oh and let's not forget there's a very real chance of seeing a Tiger too! Let's go birding! You can see the full tour itinerary here - Classic Himalayas tour

KAGU
Kagu

We are preparing a new tour for 2021 - Australia: Cape York & New Caledonia. This promises to be a little bit different as we drive from Cairns into the Iron Range enabling us to visit a variety of habitats in this northernmost part of Australia such as  mangroves, heathland, rainforest, vine forest, savannah and wetlands. We will be looking for species such as Rufous OwlPalm Cockatoo, Marbled FrogmouthYellow-billed Kingfisher, Fawn-breasted and Great Bowerbirds, Trumpet Manucode, Green-backed Honeyeater and the Cape York endemics such as Golden-shouldered Parrot, Frill-necked Monarch, White-streaked Honeyeater, Northern Scrub-Robin and more. Moving on to New Caledonia we will base ourselves on the island of Grande Terre where we can find the enigmatic Kagu (right), as well as species endemics & specialities such  as Horned Parakeet, New Caledonian Parakeet, Cloven-feathered Dove, New Caledonian Imperial Pigeon, New Caeldonian Myzomela, Grey-eared Honeyeater, New Caledonian Friarbird, Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Cuckooshrike, New Caledonian Crow, Yellow-bellied Flyrobin, Green-backed White-eye and Striated Starling. New Caledonian Thicketbird will take some searching, but we'll try! We will also make day trips to Lifou and Ouvea in the Loyalty Islands for the island specialties such as Ouvea Parakeet, Large Lifou White-eye and Small Lifou White-eye, as well as Cardinal Myzomela & Melanesian Flycatcher amongst others. We will also do take an exploratory pelagic for species such as Tahiti Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Gould's Petrel, and hopefully New Caledonian Storm-Petrel. Who knows what we will find?  Currently there are just 6 spaces available.

Full tour info will be available soon - see here for basic info
You can register your interest for this tour by emailing us at:  [email protected]

black-fronted bushshrike
Black-fronted Bushshrike

We have just added a brand new tour to Tanzania for June this year. The current health scare situation in China may well put some people off going there, so we have added a trip to the  East and West Usambara Mountains as an alternative. We will also visit the South Pare Mountains, Arusha National Park, Tarangire and the Lark Plains in search of a wide variety of scarce, local and endemic species. Species such as Spot-throat, Usambara Ground-Robin, Sharpe's Akalat, Fullerborn's Boubou, Usambara Thrush, Beesley's Lark, Kretschmer's Longbill, Amani Sunbird, Usambara Weaver and much more. And it is Africa, so there will probably be some mammals too!

One of the major reasons for going to Yunnan is to see the charismatic Red-tailed Laughingthrush. The good news is that is is rather common and easily seen at several locations.

You can see more tour videos on our Tour Video Page.

slender-billed scimitar-babbler
Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler

Our Yunnan tour is rocking! Zixi Shan was a great place to start with Yunnan & Giant Nuthatches and Spectacled Fulvetta all showing well. The hides at Baihualing were phenomenal this year with such iconic birds as Mrs Hume's Pheasant, Hill Partridge, Mountain Bamboo-Partridge, Moustached Laughingthrush (right), Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler, Himalayan Thrush (right), White's Thrush, numerous Long-tailed Thrushes,  Chestnut-headed Tesia, Scarlet Finch, and so much more! When you consider there can be 40 species being seen from each hide then the experience is quite breathtaking. The tour moved on to Laifengshan where Slender-billed Oriole and flocks of Tibetan Serins were see. Nabang was also quite good with Jerdon's Baza, Pale-headed Woodpecker seen well, Grey-headed,  Rufous-headed and Pale-billed Parrotbills, and even a pair of Ibisbill. The new hotspot of Hongbenghe exceeded all expectations and from the hides we saw Blue-naped and Rusty-naped Pittas, 2 Grey Peacock-Pheasants, Spot-breasted and Grey-sided Laughingthrushes, numerous Red-billed and Coral-billed Scimitar-Babblers, Silver-breasted Broadbill, and so much more. Yunnan continues to delight and enthrall in equal measure, providing unparallelled opportunities to observe some of Asia's rarest and shyest species at close quarters. See our next Yunnan tour itinerary here - Yunnan 2021.

We are busy uploading a series of videos from our recent Yunnan tour. You can see more on our Tour Video page or on our YouTube site. As a taster, here's a short video of a cracking Grey Peacock-Pheasant we took during the tour from one of the amazing feeding stations at Hongbenghe. You can also view our next Yunnan tour here - Yunnan 2021

puerto rican woodpecker
Puerto Rican Woodpecker

We are preparing a new tour to the Caribbean hotspots of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic as we have had a number of requests to run this endemic-rich tour. Although the full itinerary isn't finalised as yet, if you are provisionally interested then please let our office know and we will advise you of the full details before the tour going live on our website. But what an adventure this promises to be! We will begin in Puerto Rico (18 endemics) and then fly the short distance to the Dominican Republic (32 endemics), and will also offer an optional extension to Jamaica (28 endemics). So in all we will be hoping for over 70 endemics, along with many more widespread Caribbean specialities. For bird family collectors, there are five important bird families - Palmchat (Dominican Republic), Tody (2 sp on Dominican Republic, 1 on Puerto Rico and 1 on Jamaica), Spindalis (1 on each island), Puerto Rican Tanager (Puerto Rico) and Hispaniolan Tanager (only found on Dominican Republic). See tour info here: Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic 

wilson's bird-of-paradise
Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise

By popular demand we have just added a second departure to West Papua in September 2020. This is a carefully designed 14 day tour specifically to see as many Birds-of-Paradise as possible without the need for long, tough hikes and by staying in the best accommodation available. And there's definitely no camping! Our itinerary visits Nimbokrang, Arfak Mountains and Waigeo utilising some really good hotels with excellently located homestays. For an opportunity to see the stunning Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise, as well as Red Bird-of-Paradise, Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise, Papuan Frogmouth, Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Pale-billed Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Masked Bowerbird, Papuan Pitta, Hooded Pitohui, Long-tailed Paradigalla and so many more endemic and rare species: See here for full tour itinerary.

undulated antpitta
Undulated Antpitta

Our Colombia - Andes & Santa Marta tour has just finished with over 550 species seen including 12 antpittas and 70 hummingbirds amongst a mouth-watering selection of other iconic South American birds. Our tour followed a special route across the majestic Andes beginning with a number of sites around Bogota seeing Bogota Rail, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Blue-throated and Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Rufous-browed Conebill, Silvery-throated Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Plushcap, and more! Moving on to Otun-Quimbaya we were treated to Colombian Screech-Owl, Hooded & Moustached Antpittas, and Multicoloured Tanager for some. Montezuma and the fabled forests of Tatama National Park held numerous flocks with such iconic birds as Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Gold-ringed, Purplish-Mantled, Rufous-throated & Black-and-gold Tanagers, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Munchique Wood Wren, Olive Finch, Crested Ant-Tanager etc. The hummer feeders at the lodge were mind-boggling with Rufous-gaped Hillstar, Green Thorntail and Empress Brilliant being stand-out birds. Rio Blanco was next up and lived up to all of our expectations with Bicoloured, Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned, and a major surprise in an awesome Undulated Antpitta all being seen at incredibly close range. The endemic Buffy Helmetcrest at Nevado del Ruiz followed, and then we visited yet more antpitta feeding stations where Rufous and the super-scarce Crescent-faced Antpitta showed incredibly well. We also birded Jardin for Yellow-eared Parrot, explored Barranquilla and the Guijara Peninsula for a suite of very localised birds before reaching the fabled Santa Marta Mountains. It just doesn't get much better than cracking views of Rusty-breasted Antpitta and Santa Marta Antpitta here although there's so much more to see here and Santa Marta Woodstar & Santa Marta Blossomcrown were also seen well. What a tour and if you fancy joining us in 2020 then please let our office know - see Colombia: Andes & Santa Marta 2020 itinerary 

View our full Colombia tour report

You can get the full story of this iconic tour on the Zoothera Blog at: https://zootherabirding.blogspot.com and see our Colombia photo gallery here - Colombia 2019 Photo Gallery

lesser florican
Lesser Florican

Our Monsoon India tour was a resounding success and seeing Lesser Florican displaying has to be one of the most amazing sights in nature. The group watched this individual for an hour as it sprang into the air, stretched its wings, tossed its head back, fluffed up its feathers and then dropped to the ground like a stone. It did this numeous times as the group watched - an amazing sight. There was also Rock Bush Quail and Rain Quail in the same area too. The previous day a Leopard was seen, along with Sind Sparrow, several Indian Pittas, 5 day roosting Jungle Nightjars, nesting Black-breasted Weavers and Striated Babbler. Moving on to Kashmir there was Kashmir Flycatcher, Kashmir Nutcracker, Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Variegated Laughingthrush, Scaly-bellied and Himalayan Woodpeckers and many other great birds. Our Ladakh extension was amazing with up to 100 Tibetan Sandgrouse surrounding our car at one point. We even found a pair with 2 recently fledged chicks. Other great birds included Tibetan Snowcock, Black-necked Crane, Ground-Tit, Great Rosefinch, Brown Accentor and both Blanford's & Black-winged Snowfinches. You can see photos from this tour here: Monsoon India Gallery

snow leopard
Snow Leopard

NEW TOUR! By popular demand we have added a brand new tour to search for the most magnificent predator on the planet - Snow Leopard. Our Ladakh tour ventures into the heart of Hemis National Park in Ladakh, India and we will spend a week camping in one of the remotest areas you can imagine as we search for the Grey Ghost. We'll have a full ground crew to look after our every need, expert trackers to help us locate this most elusive beast, and all we ask is that you have a reasonable level of fitness to hike to the various watchpoints at over 12,000 feet! This is going to be a true adventure and from experience, there's no bigger thrill than when you first lay eyes on this beautiful cat. There are birds as well of course, with Tibetan Partridge, Himalayan Snowcock, Wallcreeper, White-browed Tit-Warbler, Robin Accentor and both Streaked and Great Rosefinches all present. We will finish a spectacular tour at Tso Kar searching for Tibetan Sandgrouse, Ground-Tit and Blanford's Snowfinch amidst yet more stunning scenery. We can't wait! See here for our Snow Leopard Tour Itinerary.

bengal tiger
Bengal Tiger

NEW TOURS! Northern India provides an incredible birding adventure that is almost unparallelled across Asia for the diversity of birds and mammals on offer. Our take on this popular tour is very different to anything else you will see, as this obviously lends itself to two shorter tours. We have designed two back-to-back tours visiting all of the major birding sites and it is possible to do just one or both. Our Northern India tour visits Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, Agra and Chambal River. Highlights include Indian Skimmer, Painted Spurfowl, Indian Courser, Brooks's Leaf Warbler, Sind Sparrow and Tiger. Our Classic Himalayas tour heads up to Corbett National Park, Nainital & Sat Tal. We will be on the lookout for Cheer Pheasant, Pallas's Fish-Eagle, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Scaly-bellied & Himalayan Woodpeckers, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush and Pink-browed Rosefinch amongst others. Let's go birding!

Wire-tailed Manakin
Wire-tailed Manakin

NEW TOUR! We have changed our Amazonian Brazil tour for July 2020. Visiting the bird-rich forests and rivers around Manaus, our itinerary takes in the best of Brazil's Amazon. The list of potential species is huge with a long list of 'Who's Who' including iconic species such as Agami Heron, Harpy Eagle, Amazonian Umbrellabird and others. But just take a look at our West Amazon - Manaus to see more. For a taster just a few of the awsome birds on offer includes Dark-winged Trumpeter, Zigzag Heron, Black-spotted Barbet, Varzea Piculet, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Crimson Fruitcrow, Alta Floresta Antpitta, White-plumed and Harlequin Antbirds, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Black and Wire-tailed Manakins, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Pelzeln's Tody-Tyrant, Dusky Purpletuft, Dotted Tanager and much more. See here for full tour itinerary

Sokoke Scops-Owl
Sokoke Scops-Owl

NEW TOUR.  We have just added a new tour to Coastal Kenya in 2020, visiting Amboseli, Tsavo West National Park, Taita Hills, Shimba Hills, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, and Tsavo East National Park. There's an amazing variety of birds to see here including Crab Plover, Madagascar Pratincole, African Skimmer, Sokoke Scops-Owl, Sokoke, Malindi and Golden Pipits, Four-coloured Bush-Shrike, Pangani Longclaw, Taita Thrush, Taita White-eye, Yellow-throated Wood Warbler, East Coast Akalat, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Taita Apalis, Black-bellied Starling and much more. Of course there will be plenty of mammals as well to keep the excitement ticking over and we can only hope for a sighting of African Wild Dog or Caracal, as well as all the usual mammals one would expect such as Lion, Cheetah and Leopard etc.  A feature of this tour will be the great lodges we stay at throughout the tour and, in particular, we are looking forward to staying at Shimba Hills Lodge which has a large waterhole viewable from all the rooms here. We can expect great food and have excellent local guides to show us the best of this fascinating country. So we guarantee an exciting ride full of spectacular birds and animals - in fact it's the perfect African safari-birding tour.  

Lesser Florican

KASHMIR & RAJASTHAN JULY 2019  Our summer tour to see displaying Lesser Floricans is now a guaranteed departure and Nick Bray is looking forward to leading this small-group tour to one of his favourite countries. As well as seeing the much-wanted florican there's also a great chance to see Bristled Grassbird, Rain Quail, Rock Bush-Quail, Indian Eagle Owl and Leopard before heading into the Kashmir Hills for a whole new range of species. We will be looking for Kashmir Nutcracker,  Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Rufous-naped Tit, Kashmir Flycatcher, Variegated Laughingthrush, Tytler's Leaf Warbler, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Pink-browed Rosefinch and Spectacled Finch amongst others. An optional extension to Tso Kar in Ladakh is also offered as this is the best place in the world to see Tibetan Sandgrouse, which are usually present in good numbers. Also here are Black-necked Crane, Ground-Tit and both Tibetan & Blanford's Snowfinch. See here for full tour itinerary.

Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise

NEW TOUR! We have just added a new tour to West Papua in 2020. This is a carefully designed 14 day tour specifically to see as many Birds-of-Paradise as possible without the need for long, tough hikes and by staying in the best accommodation available. And there's definitely no camping! Our itinerary visits Nimbokrang, Arfak Mountains and Waigeo utilising some really good hotels with excellently located homestays. For an opportunity to see the stunning Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise, as well as Red Bird-of-Paradise, Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise, Papuan Frogmouth, Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Pale-billed Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Masked Bowerbird, Papuan Pitta, Hooded Pitohui, Long-tailed Paradigalla and so many more endemic and rare species: See here for full tour itinerary.

Shoebill

TOUR UPDATE. We have just had a flurry of bookings on our fantastic Uganda tour in July this year and it is now a guaranteed departure. This amazing destination has some incredible birds and wildlife with Shoebill, African Green Broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Gorilla and Chimpanzee the stand-out and undoubted stars of the tour. But there's so much more to see as we explore Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Mburo, Mabamba Swamp and other sites. Our expert local guide Paul is among the best guides you will ever meet anywhere in Africa and you are guaranteed to have a great time. See here for full tour itinerary.

We have just had a cancellation on our August2020  Colombia Highlights tour that includes a visit to the endemic-rich Santa Marta mountains. This is the classic Colombia tour with the typical Zoothera twist as we add a few differnt sites as well. There's so many great birds with chances of Santa Marta Screech-Owl, Bogota Rail, Blossomcrown, Green-bearded Helmetcrest, Munchique Wood-Wren, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Turquoise Dacnis, Vermilion Cardinal and so much more!

Nick has returned from NE Brazil where an amazing time was had by a great, fun group led by Ciro Albano. With 409 species seen, including 89 endemics it was definitely a quality tour. The Zoothera Blog is up and running and we are already taking bookings for our NE Brazil 2021 tour now. Our tour is devoted to seeing many of the regions spectacular endemics and highly sought-after species such as the incredible Araripe Manakin, Lear’s Macaw, Great Xenops, Scarlet-throated Tanager, Slender Antbird, Hooded Visorbearer, Banded Cotinga and Pink-legged Graveteiro. The region is characterised by humid Atlantic rainforests on the coast, and endless rolling hills with dramatic canyons called the Caatinga. The Caatinga is home to a dry thorny forest with areas of more open grassland. It has its own special suite of endemic species that we will enjoy looking for on our many days of spectacular birding. With only 200 birds in the wild it is here that we will find the endangered Lear’s Macaw quietly feeding on palm trees, while Atlantic forest and woodlands at Boa Nova with thick vine tangles and terrestrial bromeliads hold some of South America’s most endangered species. We will also visit the Serra da Diamantina National Park at Lencois to explore some higher elevation habitats before heading back to the coast. A final visit to some mangroves and an area of cerrado will complete our tour of this complex yet fascinating region. Our local guide Ciro Albano has an unsurpassed knowledge of this region and an enviable reputation for success and finding the target species and we are sure this very special tour will meet the highest of expectations. We are also planning a Manaus & Amazonia tour to Brazil in July next year, so keep an eye out for the itinerary that is coming soon!

Our Yunnan itinerary in 2020 has been altered to include another valley with photo blinds/feeding stations giving us a great chance to observe Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Blue-naped Pitta and amazingly even Collared Falconet and Great Slaty Woodpecker amongst others. Although this is not strictly a photo tour, we cannot think of any other birding tour where you could have a better chance of getting those all-imporant pics of many endemic, rare and localised birds. Walking effort is minimal, although there are optional walks available if the thought of sitting in a hide for 4 hours at a time getting cripplingly close views of great birds isn't appealing! See the Yunnan tour itinerary 2021 here.