Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda ©Laurence Poh Website
Birding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a union territory of India. Informally, the territory’s name is often abbreviated to A & N Islands, or ANI. It is located in the Indian Ocean, in the southern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, near Myanmar and Indonesia.It comprises two island groups – the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands – which separate the Andaman Sea to the east from the Indian Ocean. These two groups are separated by the 10° N parallel, the Andamans lying to the north of this latitude, and the Nicobars to the south. The capital of this territory is the Andamanese town of Port Blair.The territory’s population as per the most recent (2001) Census of India was 356,152. Added together, the total land area of the territory is approximately 6,496 km² or 2,508 sq mi.There are 572 islands in the territory, of which only some 38 are permanently inhabited. Most of the islands (about 550) are in the Andamans group, 26 of which are inhabited. The smaller Nicobars comprise some 22 main islands (10 inhabited). The Andamans and Nicobars are separated by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel) some 150 km wide.The reserves and protected forests extend over 86% area of the territory and forest covers more than 92%. About half of the forests has been set aside as Tribal Reserves, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are inviolate. Mangroves occupy nearly 12% of the territory. There are more than 150 endemic plant and animals species. It is a birding paradise with around 271 species of which 39 are endemic.

ANI has also 270 species of birds (including endemics); the Nicobar island group has a higher endemicity than the Andamans and there are a total of 14 species endemic to ANI. The State Bird of the Andamans is the Andaman Wood pigeon.

  • Number of endemics: 29

    16 Species endemic to the Andaman islands:

    Andaman Serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini,
    Andaman Crake Rallina canningi,
    Brown Coucal Centropus andamanensis,
    Andaman Scops Owl Otus balli,
    Hume’s Boobook Ninox balli,
    Andaman Barn Owl Tyto dereopstorffi,Andaman Nightjat Caprimulgas andamanicus
    Narcondam Hornbill Aceros narcondami,
    Andaman Woodpecker Dryocopus hodgei,
    Andaman Drongo Dicrurus andamanensis,
    Andaman Treepie Dendrocitta bayleyi,
    Andaman Sharma Copsychus albiventris,
    Andaman Cuckooshrike Coracina dobsoni,
    Andaman Flowerpecker Dicaeum viriscens

    8 Species endemic to the Nicobar islands:

    Nicobar Scrubfowl Megapodius nicobariensis,
    Nicobar Imperial-pigeon Ducular nicobarica,
    South Nicobar Serpent-eagle Spilornis minimus,
    Nicobar Sparrowhawk Accipiter butleri,
    Nicobar Scops Owl Otus alius,
    Nicobar Parakeet Psittacula caniceps,
    Nicobar Bulbul Hypsipetes nicobariensis,
    Nicobar Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis nicobaricus

    5 Species endemic to the two island groups:

    Andaman Woodpigeon Columba palumboides,
    Andaman Green PigeonMegapodius nicobariensis,
    Andaman Cuckoo-dove Macropygia rufipennis,
    Andaman Boobook Ninox affinis
    White-headed Starling Sturnia erythropygia
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Useful Reading

  • Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

    | By Chandrakasan Sivaperuman, G Gokulakrishnan, J Dinesh & PT Rajan | Zoological Survey of India | 2016 | hardback | 110 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9788181714312 Buy this book from
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Asian Adventures

    Tour Operator
    This tour is designed to see the endemics of Andaman Islands. One can expect to see Andaman crake, Andaman coucal, Andaman treepie, Andaman serpent eagle, Andaman wood pegion, Andaman scops owl, Andaman brown hawk owl, Andaman cuckoo dove, Andaman woodpecker, Andaman drongo, white-headed starling, Black-headed Bulbul, Andaman Shama…
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [03 March] - James Eaton - Kashmir, Andamans & Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    From the north-westernmost tip of the subcontinent to the south-east islands of the Andamans and finishing offin the southwest of the peninsula, this custom tour covered a vast area of India in search of some of the mostsought-after endemics.
  • 2016 [10 October] - Oscar Campbell

    PDF Report
    ... Only Walden’s Scops-Owl was calling on the north side of the forest and none were close; two very early mornings both produced good looks at Hume’s Hawk-Owl (common on voice up until 0500) but only a distantly vocalising Andaman Hawk-Owl. Buses stopped running at about 1800 and the road through the forest was rather busy with traffic between dusk (1700) and then, meaning a long pre-dawn walk was necessary. However, this did yield singing Andaman Nightjars....
  • 2017 [12 December] - Ian Merrill - Andaman Islands and Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    The obvious addition to complete a two-week itinerary are the Andaman Islands, a somewhat remote Indian Territory, which is well served by cost-effective and flexible flight options.
  • 2018 [02 February] - James Eaton - Andamans & Western Ghats

    PDF Report
    Though recording 309 species, a respectable total on a typical two-week Asian tour, it was the quality within that that makes Southern India such a mouth-watering, must-do tour. Included in the total, we saw all possible 21 endemics that are shared between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some 30 Indian endemics, most of which are found only the Western Ghat states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • 2018 [04 April] - Mark Lopez

    PDF Report
    I had long wanted to visit the Andamans, with its relatively long list of endemics and Indian Subcontinent specialities considering the size of the islands. As I had a work trip to Pune, I used the opportunity to tag on the best part of five days on South Andaman.
  • 2018 [12 December] - Dave Farrow - Southern India with Andamans Islands

    PDF Report
    This years’ tour to Southern India and Sri Lanka was once again a very successful and enjoyable affair. A heady brew of wonderful birdlife was seen, rich in endemics, beginning with our extension to the Andaman Islands where we were able to find 20 of the 21 endemics in just three and a half days, with Andaman Masked Owl, Andaman Scops and Walden’s Scops Owls, Andaman and Hume’s Hawk Owls leading the way, Andaman Cuckoo Dove, great looks at Andaman Crake, plus all the others with the title ‘Andaman’ (with the fairly predictable exception of the Woodpigeon!) and a rich suite of other birds such as Long-tailed Parakeets and Mangrove Whistler.
  • 2020 [01 January] - James Eaton

    PDF Report
    Included in the total, we saw all bar one of the 21 endemics that are shared between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some 30 Indian endemics, most of which are found only the Western Ghat states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • 2021 [04 April] - Aseem Kumar Kothiala

    ...Over the two visits to the region we saw Andaman Nightjar, Hume’s Boobook, Andaman Boobook and Oriental scops Owls (Walden’s) during the night and to our joy the endemic Andaman Crake during the day...
  • 2022 [01 January] - Wilbur Goh - Andamans & South India

    PDF Report
    Our first tour of this new Covid era was to the endemic-rich Andaman Islands and Western Ghats of South India. Though we had a few bumps along the road trying to navigate the ever-changing restrictions by the authorities, we managed to record a respectable 287 species...

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