Birding Tour Frequently Asked Questions

There can be a lot of things to think about before booking a birding tour, please take a look here to see the answers to the most frequently asked questions, but please feel free to contact us and ask any other questions you may have so that we can advise you as to which birding tours would be the most suitable for you –

Do you provide guided birding tours?

Yes, that is exactly what we do. Our tours are led by local expert guides as well as a Calidris Birding Tours guide to back them up and to provide a sufficient guide to client ratio. You can see our full list of upcoming tours here – Birding Tour Calendar.

How do I book a birding tour with Calidris Birding Tours?

Visit our “Booking a Birding Tour” page where you will find the details on how to find out if there are places available on a tour as well as how to book and pay a deposit.

What makes your birding tours unique?

We aim to deliver well-researched and well-planned birding tours that are conducted at such a pace that we are able to see and enjoy a very high proportion of the target birds without being in a rush. Our guides are chosen not only for their high level of birding skills but also for their people skills and we aim to provide a fun and enjoyable holiday as well as a successful birding tour.

Do you provide customized birding tours?

Yes we can provide customized tours to a number of destinations, please contact us for a consultation on how we can best help provide a tour that suits your needs –

Do you provide international flights?

No we do not. What we do is to recommend arrival times on the day preceding commencement of the tour so that everyone is able to get a good night’s sleep before birding starts on the morning of the next day. We are also happy to recommend which international flights to book but do not provide the service of actually booking them ourselves.

What is included in the tour price?

Usually Calidris Birding Tours prices include the following; all transport and fuel through the duration of the tour from pickup from the allocated arrival airport to drop off at the departure airport on the specified dates, including any boat trips required; domestic flights within the duration of the tour;  all accommodation throughout the indicated dates of the tour based on two people sharing a room; bottled drinking water throughout; all meals from dinner on the night of arrival to dinner on the last night; all entry fees; all road tolls; services of all guides, both Calidris Birding Tours guides and local guides; all services of local drivers.

There may be a few exceptions for certain tours so please check carefully the specific tour itinerary that you are planning on joining to see what exactly is included and what is not.

What is not included in the tour price?

Again the specifics of each tour are listed on the tour description page. However, in all cases international flights, visa fees, vaccinations, pre-departure covid testing before and after tours; alcoholic (and soft drinks, hotel mini bars, laundry, travel insurance,  excess baggage fees on domestic flights within the duration of the tour; tips to hotel lobby staff and local guides/drivers are not included. On a few trips there are additional camera fees charged on entry to some national parks, these are indicated on the trip description page that they apply to.

Do your tour prices include tips?

All tour prices include the day-to-day tipping throughout, such as to restaurant service staff. Tips to local guides, hotel porters and drivers are not included but are, of course, entirely at your own discretion if you feel you have received high-quality service.

Do I need travel insurance when booking a tour with you?

Yes. We cannot recommend strongly enough that you should purchase comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you book a tour with us to cover any finacial losses due to cancellation or for any other reason. After booking a tour we require that you send proof of your travel insurance to us within the period stipulated in the booking agreement we send to you.

Are there any field guides that you recommend for your tours?

Absolutely. There are a lot of field guides on the market but many of them are very out of date and the quality varies a lot across the market. We highly recommend that those joining us on our tours use the same field guide as the tour leaders. Here is the list of our recommended field guides. Additionally, the field guide we recommend is listed on each of the tour description pages. In some cases we have a discount code for purchase of the appropriate field guide for some of our tours to clients who book these tours with us. This is indicated on the tour description pages to which this applies.

Can you arrange pre/post tour accommodation for me if I wish to arrive early/depart after the tour has finished?

Yes, just let us know and we can arrange this for you.

Can you suggest pre/post trip tourism options in the countries in which you operate tours?

Yes, although we do not usually include general toursim visits in our tours (except where we are birding in those locations or are so impressive that they cannot be missed e.g. Angkor Wat, Cambodia) we are enthusiastic about getting to know the countries we visit and are happy to recommend tourism options that we think our clients would enjoy before trip commencement or after the tour has concluded.

In which language are your tours operated?

English in all cases. Of course local guides will speak local languages as well as English.

Do you provide checklists?

Yes. Bird checklists are issued to all participating clients for use on the tour. Our checklists are based on IOC taxonomy but we take a lot of time to annotate these to reflect the differences in taxonomy in the field guides that we use. This ensures that cross-referencing the field guide to the checklist that we provide is user-friendly. A checklist of mammals that can potentially be seen on the tour is also included.

Do you ever change the tour itinerary or guide?

In all cases we aim and intend to deliver what is described in our tour descriptions. However, we reserve the right to change the guide in rare cases due to illness or other extenuating circumstances. While a lot of time and effort has gone into designing our birding tour itineraries sometimes we do have to make changes because of unforseen circumstances including, but not restricted to, adverse weather, local government policy, national park closures or simply due to local bird knowledge at the time.

Is smoking allowed on your tours?

It seems that there are few smokers in the birding community these days but where this issue does arise we have clear guidelines. Smoking in the vehicles, accommodation or hotels should always be refrained from in respect to local laws and the other participants. While out in the field, birding, we also ask that any smoking should be done far enough away from the group as to not detract from their enjoyment of the environment. Furthermore, in some highly protected areas or any habitat where there is a high fire risk, it is requested that there is no smoking while in those areas. Obviously we ask that there is no smoking when people are eating.

Should I bring my telescope?

On most of our tours a telescope will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the birds. Of course our Calidris Birding guides have a telescope for client’s use as do many of our local guides but bringing your own ‘scope will mean that you do not have to wait your turn to enjoy that killer view of birds through a telescope. On tours that visit countries with a lot of open country and wetland birding a telescope is almost essential, while less important on tours that concentrate on forest birding. We will give advice on a tour by tour basis. If you wish to do any digiscoping please bring your own ‘scope.

Is it okay to bring my camera?

Yes. Most of our tours (unless specified) are birdwatching trips first and foremost but the pacing of the itineraries is such that there is often sufficient time to photograph some of the birds after ensuring that everyone has seen them. It should be pointed out that we do not intend to hang around for long periods of time to get the very best photographs of birds (unless on a dedicated photography tour), instead making sure that everyone gets as good a view of the birds as possible and then enjoying them for a while, either watching them or photographing them for a short time before moving on.  On some tours viewing some species necessitates sitting in hides/blinds and on those occasions photographic opportunities are excellent. The photographic opportunities are indicated in the write up of each tour.

What is the quality of accommodation like?

This varies from tour to tour and we describe them in some detail on the tour description pages. In general we aspire to provide comfortable accommodation as close to the birding sites as possible. Usually this is in the form of clean and comfortable local hotels but generally avoid expensive high-end hotels so as not to uneccessarily inflate the price of our birding tours. When visiting remote and undeveloped locations on some birding tours we must stay in simple local lodges or stay in quite basic tented camps.

What should I bring on the tour?

A list of essential and/or desirable things to bring on each trip will be sent to all participants after receipt of full payment. Binoculars are always an essential item though.

Do you have the relevant professional insurances to protect your clients?

Yes, we have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance as well as Financial Insolvency Insurance. We are fully compliant with the Package Travel Regulations 2018 (UK).