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: 17

    Species endemic to the Andaman islands:

    Andaman Serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini
    Andaman Crake Rallina canningi
    Brown Coucal Centropus andamanensis
    Andaman Scops-owl Otus balli
    Narcondam Hornbill Aceros narcondami
    Andaman Woodpecker Dryocopus hodgei
    Andaman Drongo Dicrurus andamanensis
    Andaman Treepie Dendrocitta bayleyi

    Species endemic to the Nicobar islands:

    Nicobar Serpent-eagle Spilornis minimus
    Nicobar Sparrowhawk Accipiter butleri
    Nicobar Parakeet Psittacula caniceps
    Nicobar Bulbul Hypsipetes nicobariensis

    Species endemic to the two island groups:

    Nicobar Scrubfowl Megapodius nicobariensis
    Andaman Woodpigeon Columba palumboides
    Andaman Cuckoo-dove Macropygia rufipennis
    Andaman Hawk-owl 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

Abbreviations Key

  • List of National Parks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

    WebpageSatellite View
    Total number of National Parks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is Nine (9). “National Park” means an area declared, whether under sec.35. or sec.38 or deemed, under sub-section (3) of sec.66. to be declared, as a National Park.
Guides & Tour Operators

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  • 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

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  • 2010 [11 November] - Steve Lister

    I visited South Andaman for four days in November 2010 along with Les Colley and Andrew and Ann Duff. The visit was arranged for us as part of a more extensive southern India trip…
  • 2013 [02 February] - John & Jane Hopkins

    PDF Report
    This was an 'add-on' for my wife and myself after we had spent a couple of weeks birding S. India with Dave and Jacquie Bridges. The whole trip was very well organised by Jo Thomas of Wild about Travel ( )Our guide on the Andamans,Vikram Shil, was enthusiastic, tireless and determined to show us as many of the birds in the Andamans as he could.
  • 2013 [02 February] - New Horizons

    …By 7.30am we were at a feeding station set up by Eldhose, almost immediately enjoying fabulous views of Malabar Grey Hornbills, White-cheeked Barbets, a couple of little Black-throated Munias, a dozen or so fabulously smart Grey Junglefowl and a male Black-rumped Flameback, as well as Jungle Babbler, Common Myna, Ashy Drongo, an iridescent blue Bronzed Drongo and the extravagantly coiffured Red-whiskered Bulbul….
  • 2013 [11 November] - Dave Farrow - Southern India

    PDF Report
    This years’ tour to Southern India and Sri Lanka was once again a very successful and enjoyable affair, with almost all endemics found, and an incredible 36 individual Owls of 13 species seen. We began in the Andaman Islands where we recorded all 21 endemics, with Andaman Scops and Walden’s Scops Owls, Andaman and Hume’s Hawk Owls leading the way, good looks at Andaman Crake, Andaman Woodpigeon and Andaman Cuckoo Dove, plus all others with the pre-fix ‘Andaman’ (although the Barn Owl was a heard only.)…
  • 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....
  • 2016 [11 November] - Dave Farrow

    PDF Report
    Awonderful suite of endemics were seen, beginning with our extension to the Andaman Islands where wewere able to find 20 of the 21 endemics, with Andaman Scops and Walden’s Scops Owls, Andaman andHume’s Hawk Owls leading the way, Andaman Woodpigeon and Andaman Cuckoo Dove, good looks at 2 BirdQuest Tour Report: South India and Sri Lanka 2016 www.birdquest-tours.comAndaman Crake, plus all the others with the title ‘Andaman’ (with the exception of the Barn Owl) and a richsuite of other birds such as Ruddy Kingfisher, Oriental Pratincole, Long-toed Stint, Long-tailed Parakeetsand Mangrove Whistler. In Southern India we birded our way from the Nilgiri Hills to the lowland forest ofKerala finding Painted and Jungle Bush Quail, Jungle Nightjar, White-naped and Heart-spottedWoodpeckers, Malabar Flameback...
  • 2017 [12 December] - Anjana

    We spent two weeks covering all the important bird areas of both the Andaman and Nicobar islands and while the weather was generally against us, we still managed to spot almost all the island endemic birds including some interesting winter migrants and several butterfly species.
  • 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 [01 January] - Craig Robson

    PDF Report
    .... In the Andamans we saw all 21 endemics very well, with a flock of over 80 Andaman Teals, a very showy Andaman Crake and a superb pair of Andaman Masked Owls being particularly memorable...
  • 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.
Places to Stay

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  • Andaman Resort

    Unlike some resort hotels, where palm trees are artificially planted, the Andaman Resort is situated in an environment that is natural. The number on the map represents the area where the animal, bird or reptile was sited. Click on the number to see a picture of the animal.

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