The Top 10 Birding Tour Companies

By Samantha Scott
August 4, 2017

Having a speciality can be a key differentiating factor for tour companies. Filling a niche helps attract travelers who are looking for a specific kind of activity or destination. Birding is one of these key niches in the travel industry, and a growing area of interest among tour takers.

Hummingbird in Costa Rica


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Or read on to discover the Top 10 Birding Tours...

When it comes to birding, these 10 tour companies check all the boxes; they’re knowledgeable with an emphasis on local guides, strong destination focus with interesting itineraries, and making strides in areas of conservation and wildlife protection.

We also looked at some key criteria including customer reviews, itinerary design, and industry reputation.

Meet the Top 10 Birding Tour Companies:

The Top 3

1. Birdtour Asia

Birdtour Asia logo

You’ll get a glimpse of the many beautiful species of Asia on a tour with Birdtour Asia. They specialize in tailor made custom tours, which will help you experience a tour to your specifications.

Destinations: Mongolia, China, India, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan

Bright yellow bird in Asia

Most Popular Trip - “Varies year-on-year but currently several Indonesian destinations, primarily due to a new field guide being published (lead-author is one of our chief guides, James Eaton). China is also a popular destination due to the fabulous birds, culture and scenery.” - Birdtour Asia

New Upcoming Itineraries or Destinations - They will soon begin offering tours in Iran!  

2. Field Guides

Field Guides logo

Founded in 1985, Field Guides is an industry leader in comprehensive and entertaining birding tours.

Destinations - They operate birding tours to more than 50 countries and offer more than 120 distinct itineraries.

Black Oystercatcher in California

Most Popular Trip - “We have been in business since 1985 and have many popular tours that fill year after year, including itineraries to Alaska, Arizona, California, Texas, and numerous foreign destinations, in particular Australia, Borneo, Brazil, Ecuador, France, India, Madagascar, and Thailand.” - Field Guides

New Upcoming Trips or Destinations - “We have 11 new birding tour itineraries on tap for 2018, including Oregon.” - Field Guides

3. Eagle Eye Tours

Eagle Eye Tours logo

Offering high end bird tours including expedition cruises and photography focused tours, Eagle Eye Tours are the perfect tour company for wildlife enthusiasts.

Destinations - They have tours all over the world, but stand out for the polar regions.

Penguins in arctic

Most Popular Trip - “Many of our Arctic tours are very popular because they visit such an incredible area for exciting birds and wildlife.” - Eagle Eye Tours

Runners Up

4. Birdquest Tours

Birdquest tours logo

They offer small groups birding tours to all 7 continents. Group size ranges between 6-9, allowing groups to get to know each other well and have individualized attention.

Close up of buzzard

They cater to a wide range of bird-watchers from beginners to experts. In February of 2014 they passed the 10,000 recorded species mark of birds they have seen on their tours.

5. Birdwatching Chile

birdwatching chile logo

Many smaller birdwatching tour companies focus their attention on a specific destination. Birdwatching Chile does so among the many diverse micro climates and landscapes of Chile. These include Atacama desert, Fjords, Mediterranean forest, coastal wetland, and Andean mountains.

Large condor in Chile

Their trips are tailor made and feature other wildlife viewing opportunities as well.

6. Cheepers Birding

Cheepers Birding logo

Cheepers is the epitome of small business, with all transactions handled personally by their owners, Cindy and Jim Beckman. Their mantra is “don’t travel through us, travel with us”.

Darter bird striking a pose in the tropics

The top destinations they focus on include Costa Rica, Ecuador, Borneo, and Zambia. They offer substantial savings on all their trips, and this includes solo travelers as well as groups.

7. Rubythroat Birding Tours

Rubythroat logo

Founded in 2011, Rubythroat provides expert led birding and photography tours throughout central Asia.

Colorful bird spotted in Asia

All groups are accompanied by an excellent bird guide with expertise in birds and/or, depending on the theme of the trip, by a local botanist and/or entomologist.

8. Cheeseman’s Ecology Tours

Cheesmans Ecology Tours logo

Cheeseman’s is a well known name among wildlife travel enthusiasts, having been around for almost 40 years. Their birding tours cover all 7 continents and are led by seasoned professionals and experts in wildlife, ecology, and photography.

Majestic eagle on birding tour

Groups sizes range between 6-12 people for an intimate, personalized experience. Some upcoming destinations to watch out for? Madagascar and Uganda.

9. Sunbird Tours

Sunbird tours logo

Based in the UK, Sunbird Tours offers extensive itinerary choices, including cruises, around the world (except for Antarctica).

Woodpecker in forest

They’ve been around since 1979, beginning a collaboration with WINGS in the United States in 1980.

10. Tropical Birding

tropical birding logo

Though they’ve grown to now offering tours in non-tropical environments (including Alaska, South Georgia, and Svalbard), Tropical Birding’s main company values remain the same.

Parrots in the tropics

They keep groups small, maintain competitive pricing and only run about 100 trips per year, allowing them the luxury of creating truly unique itineraries year after year.


Explore these companies and more to uncover your next birding adventure.

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Comments
By Gavin Delany
September 23, 2015 at 12:26 PM
OK, I have to add back in the 'best' part of the trip here. Our editor, in her wisdom removed the story about me getting bitten by a wild Tibetan macaque while on the sacred buddhist mountain, Emei Shan. Beware! They are stealthy, sneaky, and I didn't even have any food on me but one of the monkeys jumped on my leg while I was trying to take a picture. He then wrapped all 5 limbs around my leg so there was no chance of me shaking him off and looked me in the eye. He slowly opened a mouth filled with huge teeth and kept looking me in the eye as he slowly moved closer and then, deliberately gently closed on my leg. He was clearly holding me up for food! He did jump off my leg once i made a fist and pulled it back. Smart monkey! And then there is the part where my new wife and our guide ran away while the monkey did this...
Reply
By Ailish Casey
November 11, 2015 at 8:25 PM
I climbed Mt Emei just yesterday! When the monkeys closed in on us and started snarling and grabbing our bags I said "I'm sure they won't actually attack us, we're fine"- I'm glad I hadn't read this comment beforehand!!
Reply
By Gavin Delany
November 12, 2015 at 10:35 AM
Ailish I'm glad you didn't get bitten. Hope you had a clear view when you got to the top. We were shrouded in cloud. Still awesome though.
Reply
By Jared Alster
September 23, 2015 at 7:54 PM
This makes me want to go back to China. Was there in '99, which feels like a lifetime ago, and didn't get out of the big cities. Would love to explore countryside and do some climbing/hiking, as well as visit Szechuan region.
Reply

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