The Jungle Babbler - Tropical Birding's newsletter

December 13th, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter!

Check out our tour spotlight for a cruise to utterly unique Galapagos below...
(We also have the usual tour status updates, new tours, new trip reports, and upcoming events).


Galapagos: Birding and Nature Photography Cruise

Galapagos is rightly featured on many bucket lists; it offers unique birds, amazing bird viewing, and incredible photography opportunities, which are unmatched elsewhere, and has led it to become a perennial favorite among cruise destinations. The Galapagos holds wide appeal; they offer endemic and speciality birds for the "World Birder", with birds like Swallow-tailed Gull, one of the only Waved Albatross colonies in the world, and the only penguin that lives in the tropics, (Galapagos Penguin). For the photographer, (both budding and experienced), there are myriad photo opportunities all day, each and every day of the cruise. Frigatebirds display at arm's length, albatrosses waddle clumsily around their colony in front of us, and we sidestep Blue-footed Boobies showing off their odd cerulean-colored feet, right in the middle of the trail. This tour is appropriate for many types of birders and bird photographers; a large camera is not needed as the resident birds of the Galapagos are famously tame, often rendering binoculars redundant, and big, expensive SLR cameras non-essential items. An I-phone will capture plenty of images alone in this photographer's paradise! The casual birder and naturalist will get to see some of the most famous images of Galapagos; aside from those already mentioned, will be Marine Iguanas bathing on sunbaked rocks less than a stone's throw away, super confiding, wild Giant Tortoises wandering around a local farm; and being surrounded by hundreds of tightly-packed nesting boobies and frigatebirds on the ultimate Galapagos Island, Genovesa (often dubbed "Bird Island"), is also sure to be a cruise highlight, never to be forgotten.

For the entire time on the islands, the nights will be spent aboard a very comfortable yacht, with an intimate group size of only 11 participants; aided by both a professional, full-time Tropical Birding tour leader and experienced Galapagos National Park naturalist guide. You are sure to leave with at least hundreds, if not thousands, of images from these extraordinary islands, during a cruise that visits 11 different islands/islets, including some of the most iconic of these, like Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Espanola, and San Cristobal; seeing not only great birds and other wildlife,  but also many of the vastly underappreciated volcanic landscapes along the way too.

Next tour dates:
Galapagos: Birding and Nature Photography Cruise 13 - 22 October 2017 

All of these tours are confirmed and still have space available at the time of writing. 

Birding tours:
Northern Colombia: Santa Marta Mountains & The Caribbean 11-19 Feb 2017 (3 spaces)
The Philippines: Endangered Endemics 27 Feb-15 March 2017 (4 spaces)
Thailand: Mystical Asia 27 Feb-15 March 2017 (6 spaces)
Marvelous Morocco: North Africa in a Nutshell 10-18 March 2017 *Links with both Spain tours
Oaxaca Mexico: Legendary Birds and Temples (main tour) 15-26 March 2017 (2 spaces)
Oaxaca, Mexico: Isthmus Extension 26 March-2 April 2017 (2 spaces)
Southern Spain: The Europe Introtour 19-27 March 2017 *Links with Morocco & Northern Spain
Northern Spain 27 March-2 April 2017 *Links with Southern Spain & Morocco
Jamaica: The Caribbean Introtour 25-30 March 2017 (2 spaces)
Colorado: Chasing Chickens 14-23 April 2017 (4 spaces)
China: Sichuan and the Tibetan Plateau 1-17 June 2017 (2 spaces)
Kazakhstan: Birding the Silk Road 5-17 June 2017 (4 spaces)*
*Links with Uzbekistan & Mongolia
Uzbekistan Extension 18-25 June 2017 (4 spaces)* 
*Links with Kazakhstan & Mongolia
Mongolia: The Great Asian Wilderness 26 June-3 July 2017  (5 spaces)*
*Links with Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan
Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon 26 Aug - 9 Sep 2017 (1 space)
Brazil: The Atlantic Forest Introtour 10-17 September 2017 (1 space)
South Africa: Fairest Cape to Kruger (main tour) 8-24 Sept 2017 (6 spaces)
South Africa: Drakensberg: The Barrier of Spears (extension) 24-30 Sept 2017 (6 spaces)
Eastern Australia: From Top to Bottom (TOUR 1) 23 Oct-11 Nov 2017 (1 space)
Eastern Australia: From Top to Bottom (TOUR 2) 25 Oct-13 Nov 2017 (5 spaces)

Photo tours:
Alaska Photo Journey 9-20 June 2017 (4 spaces)
Ecuador Photo Journey 15-24 July 2017 (4 spaces)
Namibia Photo Journey 1-15 October 2017 (5 spaces)
South Africa Photo Journey (main tour) 21 Oct-4 Nov 2017 (6 spaces)
South Africa: Big Cat Extension 4-7 Nov 2017 (6 spaces)

Birding tours:
THE Warbler Tour: 3 States; 38 Warblers! (USA) 11-22 May 2017 (2 needed)
Uganda: Shoebill and Albertine Rift Endemics (main tour) 4-19 June 2017 (3 needed)
Rwanda Extension 20-24 June 2017 (3 needed)
Costa Rica: The Introtour 15-25 July 2017 (1 needed)
Sulawesi and Halmahera, Indonesia: Birding the Edge of Wallace's Line (main tour) 15-28 August 2017 (2 needed)
Moluccas Extension 29 Aug-4 Sept 2017 (2 needed)
Peru: Manu and Mach Picchu 26 Aug-12 Sept 2017 (3 needed)
Galapagos: Birding and Nature Photography Cruise 13-22 Oct 2017 (3 needed)

Photo tours:
Namibia Photo Journey 1-15 Oct 2017 (3 needed)
Galapagos: Birding and Nature Photography Cruise 13-22 Oct 2017 (3 needed)
Falklands Photo Journey 2-16 December 2017 (2 needed)

These are just some of the tours we offer; for the complete tour schedule, please see our website at Also don't forget that we run dozens of customized private tours every year to these and many other destinations; a custom tour can be an attractive option for groups that enjoy traveling together, for those who want to get off the beaten track, or for people whose work schedules make joining a set-departure tour difficult.

Birding tours:
Belarus: Unspoiled Europe 29 April-7 May 2017
Belarus, lying at the far reaches of Eastern Europe is a formerly little-known country, which has recently risen to the headlines as a major European birding hotspot. While it has become established on the annual European birding calendar in recent years, due to large tracts of undeveloped land, cloaked in thick forest, and extensive marshes, it remains precious little known among North American birders. Now that accommodations have improved, with the rise in regional tourism, we have added this tour, which genuinely offers some of the very best European birding on offer, and promises plenty of woodpeckers and owls in particular. Every single species of European woodpecker is possible (10 species), as well as Ural, Eurasian Pygmy- and Great Gray Owls, in addition to Ruff in full breeding refinery, and the spectacular, and impossibly cute Azure Tit. As development is sure to impact this remote corner of Eastern Europe at some point in the future the time to go is now, while it is still largely unblemished.

Photo tours:
Yellowstone Photo Journey  30 Sept-6 Oct 2017
This classic photo tour focuses on the animals of North America's oldest park, with potential "models" being Bison, Pronghorn, Elk, Mule Deer, as well as Grizzly and Black Bears. Birds like Gray Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, and even Great Gray Owl may also feature too.

Birding tours:
Lowland Jungles of Borneo: Broadbills and Bristleheads 7-17 Sept 2017
Highlands of Borneo: Mount Kinabalu Extension 17-22 Sept 2017

Birding tours:
CUBA Nov 2017 and March 2018
GUATEMALA March 2018

Photo tours:
CUBA March 2018

For more trip reports, click here.

Borneo: Broadbills and Bristleheads (set departure tour) July 2016
Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon (set departure tour II) Jul-Aug 2016
Namibia and Botswana (custom tour) August 2017
Eastern Australia: Top to Bottom (set departure tour I) Oct-Nov 2016
Madagascar (custom tour) Oct-Nov 2016
Eastern Australia (custom tour) Nov 2016
Madagascar: The Eighth Continent (set departure tour) Nov 2016

Catch up with the Tropical Birding guides and staff at the following events.

Nature Visions Photo Expo 18-20 November 2016. Iain will be heading down to this weekend event in Manassas, Virginia.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival 25-30 Jan 2017. Sam and Desiree will be heading to this Florida event, a long established birding festival entering its 20th year.
NANP Nature Photography Summit  2-4 March 2017. Iain wll be attending this event in Jacksonville, Florida.

Just send us an email to or call us at (800) 348-5941 or +1-409-515-9110 to check availability and ask any questions you might have. We'll then send you a link to our online booking form. Once we receive your booking form, we'll send you invoice for the tour deposit.
Tropical Birding Tours
(800) 348-5941