So you’re looking to go on a birding tour?

 

That’s incredible news. But unfortunately, deciding to go on a bird watching trip is an easy decision.

 

The hardest part is trying to find where to go and a reputable company to travel with. There are dozens and dozens of tour operators operating all around the world!

 

Below, you will learn about 8 incredible birding tour companies.

birding tour companies for bird watchers

Before reading, here are a few things to know about my list:

  • All of the travel companies below provide trips to destinations around the world. I don’t know where you want to travel, but each provider offers excursions to multiple, if not all the continents.

 

  • Each tour operator has their home office based in the United States, except #2 (Mauritius) and #7 (Canada). This fact doesn’t really matter since each company accepts travelers from all over the world, but I thought it worth mentioning.

 

  • Before picking a trip, make sure to pay attention to the itinerary. Some trips are for hardcore birders, and you can expect to be birding from sunrise to sunset. And some excursions integrate other wildlife and cultural experiences. Each tour is unique, and none are better or worse, it just depends on what YOU want.

 

Lastly, please do your own independent research before selecting a birding tour. My list is designed to point you in the right direction and narrow your choices. Before booking a trip, contact the companies below directly to make sure they are a good fit for your travel needs.

 

*Please note, that the companies listed below appear in no particular order.*

 


#1. Tropical Birding

 

bird watching tours, trips, and vacations

 

Don’t let the name fool you.

 

Tropical Birding does not ONLY offer trips to tropical destinations. In fact, you can take an excursion with them to every continent on the planet.

 

Tropical Birding offers birding adventure vacations for many different interest levels, from hardcore birders to someone looking for a more relaxed photography trip. Their logistics team can also organize a custom tour almost anywhere in the world to satisfy everyone in your group’s interest.

 

A considerable part of what makes or breaks a birding trip is your guide. Tropical Birding prides themselves on their full-time professional tour leaders. Their guides promise to bring as much joy as possible to every trip. They do this by seeing as many birds and wildlife as possible but also having fun in the process. You can see a list of their current guides here.

 

Tropical Birding almost always receives incredible reviews from the people who have traveled with them. You can view their current trip schedule on their website, which includes an interactive map that helps narrow your choices.  (Make sure to adjust the region at the top right dropdown)

 


#2. Rockjumper Birding Tours

 

Rockjumper is one of the best birding tour companies in the world.

 

Their stellar reputation comes from their commitment to quality trips led by incredible guides. The average ratio of tour leaders to guests is excellent, with most trips having a maximum of 8 participants.

 

What’s nice about Rockjumper is they offer bird watching tours across the entire planet. Whether you want to see Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea, or Praire Chickens in Colorado, they have a trip that meets your needs. You can view a map of their destinations HERE.

 

Rockjumper has birding tours for everyone. Some trips are designed to maximize the number of species observed, while others are more relaxed and allow time to enjoy other unique cultural aspects of a region. And if you can’t find anything that meets your needs, you can work with Rockjumper to design your own trip.

 

Lastly, I think it’s great that Rockjumper donates a minimum of $50 per scheduled tour into a conservation fund to support bird projects around the world.

 


#3. Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

 

Founded in 1976, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) has been leading birding trips for almost 50 years. The company is not only one of the largest birding tour companies in the world, but also one of the most respected.

 

This year alone, they are offering over 150 trips to 100 different countries! You can view a list of current tours here.

 

VENT is committed to making sure every part of your trip is a success. From quality, fun tour leaders to an efficient office staff that handles logistics, you are being held with experienced and helpful hands.

 

In addition to world-class birding tours, VENT also offers cruises that are specially designed for birders! Some favorites include Antarctica, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands. See their entire selection of birding cruises by clicking here.

 

One thing that sticks out to me with VENT is their willingness over the years to giving back. First, they have a strong commitment to eco-tourism, and they use local guides, drivers, and tour operators whenever possible. VENT has also been conducting youth birding camps in Arizona every year since 1986. To date, over 400 young birders have attended!

 


#4. WINGS Birding Tours

 

birding vacation

 

If you are a serious birder and want an unforgettable adventure, then going on a trip with Wings Birding Tours might be a perfect choice.

 

Many of the other companies on this list try to accommodate people with different interests and physical levels and include things to do on their trips that don’t involve birding.

 

Wings Birding Tours makes no such promises. They know their target market and try to appeal to them as best as possible.

 

Almost all of their trips are designed to see birds, regardless of where or when they are to appear. Prepare to be up early and spend your days having incredible adventures and doing a lot of walking. Your trip may take you onto uneven terrain, through lush vegetation, or up and down countless hills.

 

WINGS says most of their trip participants have been birding before and know the basics of watching birds and how to use their binoculars. If you have never been on a bird watching tour before, they recommend that you contact them first before booking to make sure it’s a good fit.

 

If you are ready for a hardcore birding adventure, then make sure to check out their trip list, which has destinations such as Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, among others!

 


#5. Eagle-Eye Tours

 

birding tours

 

With over 20 years’ experience, Eagle-Eye Tours has traveled to amazing destinations worldwide. Many of their trips focus primarily on birding, but they also offer expedition cruises and wildlife photography tours.

 

Eagle-Eye prides itself on offering small group tours led by experienced and personal guides. People who travel with them are always impressed by how organized the trips are, which is especially important when traveling internationally.

 

From puffins in the Arctic to penguins in Antarctica and everything in between, you can find dozens of adventures by traveling with Eagle-Eye birding tours. View a list of their trips and destinations here.

 

If you’re like me, then you enjoy reading honest reviews written by other people. Check out all the positive things that prior travelers have had to say about Eagle-Eye HERE.

 


#6. Naturalist Journeys

 

birding tour companies

 

Founded over 20 years ago, Naturalist Journeys has offered nature and birding tours across the globe. You can see a calendar of their upcoming trips on their website. You will notice that there are countless options, and I think everyone can find a vacation they will enjoy.

 

A typical trip led by Naturalist Journeys tries to incorporate many different aspects. The guides are not obsessed with seeing a bird just to check it off a list. The goal is to savor each experience by immersing yourself in the local culture while enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow travelers.

 

Do you still have additional questions? The owner and founder, Peg Abbott, is still actively involved in the company and is available to answer all of your questions!

 


#7. Field Guides Birding Tours

 

birding tour companies

 

I can almost guarantee you will find your dream trip with Field Guides Birding Tours. They have over 150 annual departures with 136 unique itineraries.

 

There are trips that cater to all interests, whether you are a hardcore birder who wants to list as many species as possible, or someone who wants to do more than just see birds while on their adventure.

 

For example, Field Guides has a popular “Birds and Wine” tour concept that combines looking for unique birds AND searching out incredible wine in that particular country. Some of these destinations include Portugal, France, South Africa, and Argentina.

 

Are you interested in viewing all of their birding tours? You can see them online using this link. Because they have so many trips, you may just want to order a brochure to flip through at home. *Request a catalog here.*

 


#8. Road Scholar

 

Road Scholar dubs itself as the “world’s largest and most innovative creator of experiential learning opportunities.” This means that they focus on adventure travel that is designed to teach you something! The founders started the company in 1975 after wondering why there were not more opportunities for American adults to travel AND learn.

 

Currently, Road Scholar offers thousands of trips to about 150 different countries, which includes many kinds of adventures.

 

But as for a birding tour company, Road Scholar has plenty of incredible opportunities. There are dozens of trips offered every single year.

 

Road Scholar offers a few international destinations for watching birds, such as Costa Rica, Cuba, Africa, and New Zealand. But their birding trip specialty is excursions in the United States! I like that they have many tours that are shorter in duration and don’t cost that much.

 

Look for adventures from Montana to Texas to Florida to Maine and everything in between! To view their current offerings, please click here.

 


Final Thoughts About Birding Tour Companies:

 

My hope for today is that you found a few birding tour companies whose trips intrigue you. The next step is to contact them directly and decide on the best option for you!

 

If you have gone on a birding trip before, I’d love your feedback below.

 

What company did you travel with and where did you go?

 

Would you recommend them to a friend? Why or why not?

 

4 responses to “8 BEST Birding Tour Companies for Worldwide Travel! (2020)”

  1. Lisa Holzapfel says:

    I have to disagree with your rating. This March, I was on a three week tour with Tropical Birding Tours, We had finished Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Due to Covid, the night before we were to fly to Jamaica, they pulled our Tropical Birding Guide completely off the trip. They said they needed to get him home to Ecuador before the boarders closed. That I can understand.

    However, their own Terms and Conditions guaranteed us one Tropical Birding guide and one local guide. They had no Tropical Bird Guide to replace ours. They refused to cancel the trip, telling us we could go to Jamaica and travel with a local guide. This, being a guide we had never met. And we had just watched our guide have to sort out numerous problems in Dominican Republic because the local guide could not.

    Tropical Birding also told us they highly recommended we do not travel to Jamaica because they could not guarantee if we got in, we could get back out. As countries around the worl were closing their boarders this seemed to be the right move. So we asked again, are you cancelling the trip? The answer was no. Had they cancelled, they would have had to give us back 1/3 of the trip cost, the Jamaica unused portion.

    Then, people asked if they could help us rebook our airfares home, around the world. We had Australian, South African, British and US travelers from as far north as Alaska. The answer was no, they were too busy helping out other trips and would not have anyone available for three weeks. One client, ages 87 did not even have a smart phone and had no way to reach anyone, nor any way to begin figuring out how to rebook flights. To make matters worse we were in a hotel with next to no internet service. And only a few people had international phone cards.

    In the end, Tropical Birding did not even attempt to cancel any Jamaica reservations, transportation, or lodging. When we asked for a refund identifying several specific terms and conditions they themselves breached they refused to even return the remaining money which they still hold. Food, incidentals and one week of their guides services. Nada. Nothing. No attempt to make their 12 clients whole. Those of us with single supplements services got hit with a loss of over $3200 US dollars. While Tropical birding made profit.

    One British client chose to go to Jamaica because she had a direct flight back to London from Jamaica and she was worried that she would not be able to fly to London from the US as the president had shut down travel to Europe and the UK. She chose to take the risk and did stay and bird one week. Luckily the virus had not impacted Jamaica very much and their boarders were restricted after she left. For those of us flying home through Miami and the east coast with sick tourists who were returning from cruise ships and European flights, we felt were lucky to get through multiple airports without getting infected.

    All of the other bird tour companies I regularly use took care of their clients. I’ve heard many great stories and talked with several owners. They made sure their customers had flights home, and even paid for extra flights at their own cost. And these companies reimbursed their clients the remaining unused expenses.

    This was my first Tropical Birding Tour and my last. will never use Tropical Birding again. And I will tell all my birding friends to avoid this company like the plague.

  2. Anne Williams says:

    In Australia, there’s lots of birding tour companies that you can avail from. But one of the memorable ones I experienced was with the Bird Tracker birdtracker.com.au in the Iron range. I had the opportunity to meet the tour operator Chris Dean. What was interesting about the tour is, not only was I able to learn about the different birds species, I also got to learn about bush tucker from an Aboriginal tour guide which I think was was very unique when compared to the other tours I booked.

  3. Paul Clarke says:

    The best tour companies are local companies. My wife and I have birded all over the world and never used an expensive American tour company. We go online and find a local tour company and arrange a trip. These companies know their own birds, they also know the best places to find them and most important they are familiar with local customs and where you can and can’t go. They are also better at giving you a better feel for the country you are visiting. With the big tour companies you stay in tourist hotels, eat at tourist restaurants and never meet any locals. Also, the big tour companies will hire the local companies to help them, so you pay twice. Most importantly, when you hire a local guide all your tourist money stays in the country you visit and benefits the local economy as well as the birds. Our first foreign trip was in 2002 and we have never had a bad experience. If you are going somewhere like Costa Rica or Belize you could organise your own trip as we did. You might not find as many birds but it is a lot of fun and more rewarding when you find the birds on your own.

    • Scott says:

      Hey Paul! Thanks for commenting. That is really good advice. Is it hard to organize your own trip?? For this article, I was trying to recommend companies that offer trips all over the world. In the future, I’d like to hopefully publish the “best” birding companies for particular regions, which would focus more on local companies. When that happens, maybe I could have your recommendations of the places you’ve traveled. Also, I have to ask, when someone asks your favorite birding location, what is the first place that comes to mind? Thanks again. ~Scott

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