Ahmedabad – Great Rann of Kutch
05 Days / 04 Nights
Our Great Rann Of Kutch Short Birding Tours gives you the chance to watch birds in one of the largest salt deserts in the world. The setting is straight out of a surreal painting. Vast salt-encrusted mudflats stretch out to the horizon. Wetlands created by monsoon rains sparkle in a desolate landscape. Grasslands add a dash of colour More Info
Booked as per
Included except arrival and departure city.
Private guide for complete tour.
Airport to Airport.
Our Great Rann Of Kutch Short Birding Tours gives you the chance to watch birds in one of the largest salt deserts in the world.
The setting is straight out of a surreal painting. Vast salt-encrusted mudflats stretch out to the horizon. Wetlands created by monsoon rains sparkle in a desolate landscape. Grasslands add a dash of colour in places where vegetation holds doggedly to the arid earth. In this incredible setting, hundreds of bird species, both resident and migratory, flutter about and make a splash, creating a birding hotspot unlike any other. This is where our Short Birding Tours of Great Rann of Kutch takes you.
Situated in the upper jaw of the western state of Gujarat, the Great Rann is a marvel of geography. It used to be a vast shallow of the Arabian sea until a geographical uplift cut it off from the ocean and created a vast salt lake thousands of years ago. Today, this region is a flat salt desert with several birding oases that attract avian species from Siberia, China and other colder regions every winter.
The bird checklist of Great Rann of Kutch is long and we commit three full and two half days of birdwatching to see as many species as we can. The targets of our Great Rann of Kutch short birding trip include Grey Hypocolius, Great Indian Bustard, Macqueen's Bustard, Sykes's Nightjar, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Desert Wheatear, Stoliczka's Bushchat, Sociable Lapwing, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, White-naped Tit, Greater Coucal, Indian Nightjar, Baillon's Crake, Common Crane, Green Sandpiper, River Tern, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Shikra, Long-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hoopoe, Isabelline Shrike, Rufous-tailed Lark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Gray-breasted Prinia, White-eared Bulbul, Asian Desert Warbler, Rosy Starling, Indian Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, White-browed Bushchat, Painted Stork, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Demoiselle Crane, Intermediate Egret, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Gull-billed Tern, Short-toed Snake-Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Whitethroat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Siberian Stonechat, and Brown Rock Chat, apart from hundreds more.
To ensure maximum sightings over a period of five days, we focus on the best birding trails of Great Rann of Kutch. The region is spread out over an area of 7500 sq km and one may be at a loss as to which parts to explore for birdwatching. This is where our experience of hosting birding tours in Great Rann comes handy. We cut out the clutter and focus on the mudflats, marshes, wetlands and grasslands that are sure to keep you busy for the short duration of your Gujarat birding adventure.
Lodging: The emergence of the Great Rann of Kutch as a birding hotspot in western India has led to the development of hospitality sector in the region. So, though the Great Rann is far off from the urban centres of Gujarat, there are plenty of accommodation choices available here. We have a range of three-star resorts to choose from. We pick them on the basis of quality of service, range of amenities, and proximity to birdwatching sites of Great Rann.
Meals: Despite the remoteness of the resort, the meal choices on the menu are ample. Whether you like to tuck into Indian or continental dishes, vegetarian or meat-based, there’s always something to tickle your tongue. Breakfast and dinner are taken at the resort, but lunches are usually picnic in the field to avoid long breaks in birding. All meals are delicious and made hygienically.
Tour Difficulty: The birding hotspots of the Great Rann of Kutch are accessible by motorable road. Each morning, we drive to the birding location of our choice. The terrain is flat. At places we traverse salt desert with cracked surface. We explore the grasslands of Banni, mangrove creeks and even coastal areas. None of it should take a toll on your body. Yet, birding walks may be long and stretch for miles. You should be able to put in the legwork.
Tour Extension: Birdwatching in Rann of Kutch may turn addictive. After exploring the birding trails of the Great Rann, you may want to scour the Little Rann as well. For wildlife adventure, you may fancy visits to Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary or Kutch Bustard Sanctuary. On request, we can arrange these tour extensions, provided we are informed well in advance.
Climate: In summers, the Kutch region can become a cauldron, with temperatures averaging above forty degrees Celsius. Winter is pleasant and its peak temperature may plummet to zero degrees or even below. The months from October to March are the best to do our Short Birding Tours of Great Rann of Kutch. Around this time of year, migratory birds from colder regions arrive in large numbers, making it ideal period for birdwatching.
Getting There: The Great Rann of Kutch can be reached from the Gujarat cities of Ahmedabad or Bhuj. You may arrive by plane or train. Guests from abroad who may not get a straight flight to these cities can land either in Delhi or Mumbai and then commute to Ahmedabad by plane or train. Our representative will meet you at Ahmedabad and transfer you to the Great Rann by a cab.
The Short Birding Tours of Great Rann of Kutch begins in Ahmedabad, a lively and vibrant city in Gujarat. Our representative receives you at the airport or other chosen place and drives you to the Great Rann of Kutch.
It’s a long westward drive through small towns of Gujarat and takes up to 6-7 hours before we reach our destination in the Great Rann Of Kutch. Since we hope to start our journey early in the morning, we should reach the Great Rann by lunch time. We check into a resort and, after a brief break for rest and lunch, we go out to watch birds around the resort.
Dinner and overnight at the resort.
The Great Rann Of Kutch is a thriving bird habitat, and a very unusual one at that. Spanning an area of 7500 square km, it is one of the largest salt deserts in the world. Every year, summer monsoon creates lakes in the muddy flatland. On the southern edge of the desert is Banni Grassland, a biodiversity hotspot with a good variety of avifauna. The mainland has arid plains, dry riverbeds and a few hillocks. Every winter season, these areas teem with thousands of birds, so much so that we need three full days of birding here to fully tap into its potential.
The bird checklist of Great Rann of Kutch is long, so we divide our target birds over three days. The birds to go after are Grey Hypocolius, Greater Coucal, Indian Nightjar, Baillon's Crake, Common Crane, Green Sandpiper, River Tern, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Shikra, Long-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hoopoe, Isabelline Shrike, Rufous-tailed Lark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Gray-breasted Prinia, White-eared Bulbul, Asian Desert Warbler, Rosy Starling, Indian Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, White-browed Bushchat, Desert Wheatear, Variable Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Gray-necked Bunting, Eurasian Kestrel, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Curlew, Temminck's Stint, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Western Reef-Heron, and Marsh Sandpiper, among many others.
After a busy day of birding at Great Rann Of Kutch, we return to our resort for dinner and overnight.
On each day of birdwatching at Great Rann Of Kutch, we explore newer birding trails in the grasslands, coastline or mangrove creeks.
There’s an interesting cast of waders and raptors to see. The targets include Painted Stork, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Demoiselle Crane, Intermediate Egret, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Gull-billed Tern, Short-toed Snake-Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Whitethroat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Siberian Stonechat, Brown Rock Chat, Paddyfield Pipit, Lesser Flamingo, Bonelli's Eagle, Asian Koel, Bay-backed Shrike, Yellow-throated Sparrow, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Great White Pelican, Yellow Bittern, Tawny Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Painted Sandgrouse, Macqueen's Bustard, Cream-colored Courser, Red-headed Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Sirkeer Malkoha, Little Stint, Black Francolin, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Graceful Prinia, Sykes's Warbler, Wire-tailed Swallow, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover, Sanderling, Black-headed Gull, White-naped Tit, Tawny Lark, Black-headed Bunting, Striolated Bunting, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Indian Thick-knee, Pied Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, and Indian Courser.
In the evening, we return to our resort for dinner and overnight.
We keep the itinerary flexible to let you decide the birding hotspots of Great Rann of Kutch you want to explore on this day. The idea is to mark off the missing birds in the checklist.
We again step out for birdwatching right after breakfast and spend the whole day in the field. There might be re-sightings of certain birds, but our targets include Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, Eurasian Wryneck, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Red-necked Falcon, White-tailed Iora, Indian Bushlark, Oriental Skylark, Rufous-fronted Prinia, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Lesser Whistling-Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Garganey, Sykes's Nightjar, Eurasian Coot, Sarus Crane, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Whiskered Tern, Dalmatian Pelican, Booted Eagle, Indian Scops-Owl, Spotted Owlet, Common Iora, Cinereous Tit, Plain Prinia, Zitting Cisticola, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, and Brahminy Starling.
Of course, we look for nocturnal birds after the dusk and return to our resort in the evening for dinner and overnight.
We squeeze in a few hours of morning birdwatching around our resort at Great Rann of Kutch, following which we pack up and drive to Ahmedabad. The journey takes about 6-7 hours and we should arrive in the afternoon. Thereafter, we drop you at the airport or any other location of your choice. The birdwatching tour of Great Rann of Kutch comes to an end.