Sippi Ghat. Pic: Sujan
The Andaman and Nicobar are a cluster of 324 large and small islands covering an area of 8,300 sq km which runs from north to south off the southeast of the Indian sub-continent in the Bay of Bengal. The islands are located 950km from the mouth of the Hugli river in West Bengal and 193 km from Cape Negrais in Myanmar. Great Andaman lying to the north is the largest contiguous block of islands and is administratively divided into the North, Middle and South Andaman. Little Andaman is squeezed in between Great Andaman and the Nicobar cluster of islands. Port Blair, located in South Andaman is the capital city of the group.
More than90% of the islands in the area are uninhabited and are covered in pristine tropical rainforest. The centuries of isolation of the islands and the tendency for speciation of island populations has resulted in the development of as many as 18 endemics species and many sub-specific variants. The close proximity to the Myanmar coast has also resulted in the presence of many species with Southeast Asian affinities with the fauna resembling Malayan and Myanmarese species.
12 different forest types cover the area comprising of Indian, Myanmarese, Malaysian and endemic floral strains. The main forest types are:
(1) Giant evergreen forests containing Dipterocarpus, Calophyllum, Artocarpus and other species.
(2) Andamans tropical evergreen forests containing Planchonia, Hopea, Baccaurea, Myristica species
(3) Southern hilltop tropical evergreen forests with Dicterocarpus, Mesua, Euphorbia and other species.
(4) Andamans semi-evergreen forests characterized by Terminalia, Albizzia, Artocarpus and Legerstroemia species.
(5) Andamans moist deciduous forests
(6) Littoral forests
(7) Mangrove forests exhibit Rhizophora, Bruguiera, Sonneratia and Avicennia species.
The present forest coverage is claimed to be 86.2% of the total land area.
Narcondam Hornbill by Niranjan Sant
The Andaman and Nicobar islands hold a host of endemic species which includes the Narcondam Hornbill and Andaman Crake. A total of 16 endemics makes this a must visit place for most serious birders. For a list of Indian endemics please visit this link
Sunda Teal. Pic: Garima
Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle
Andaman Masked Owl by R. Saldino
Birding Hot Spots: (see Map)
Port Blair city area
Corbyn's Cove Marsh
Mahatma Gandhi National Park
Mount Harriet National Park
How to reach:
Port Blair is connected by air from Kolkata and Chennai. Sea passage takes 3-4 days and can be availed from Kolkata and Chennai.
Non-Indians need a Restricted Area Permit to visit the islands, but these are now issued on arrival at the Port Blair airport.
All foreign nationals can stay in the islands for 30 days. This can be extended by another 15 days with permission. They require a permit to stay from the immigration authorities. The places covered by the permit for overnight stay are: South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island, Neil Island, Havelock Island, Long Island, Diglipur, Baratang, North Passage and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. More info here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Andaman_and_Nicobar
Where to stay:
Megapode Nest; Tel: (03192) 232207; 232380
Megapode Nest can also be booked through Help Tourism ( Tel: 033-24550917) at Kolkata.
Longitude: 920 to 940 E Latitude: 100 to 140 N
Rainfall: 300 cm
Altitude: 60 -200m over m.s.l.
Temperatures: Min 23°C; Max 31°C
September to November and February to April.
- Birds of the Indian Subcontinent - Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp. Helm Field Guide
- A Field Guide to the Birds of India - Krys Kazmierczak. Pica Press
- Birds of South-east Asia - Craig Robson. New Holland
- Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Vol. I-X) - S. Ali & S. D. Ripley. OUP
- Birdwatcher's Guide to India - Krys Kazmierczak et al. OUP
- Birds of South Asia ~ The Ripley Guide - Pamela Rasmussen et al. Lynx Edicions 2005
- Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Islands - B.K.Tikader (1984) . ZSI
Andaman Nicobar Islands - GOI website
Toursit Office Website