The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Asia (and its islands)

RED PANDA EXPEDITION – A Quest for a Wonderful Creature of the Himalayas, with Spiny Babbler extension

Tuesday 20th February – Monday 26th February 2024

Leaders: Mark Beaman and expert local trackers

7 Days Group Size Limit 6
Monday 9th March – Sunday 15th March 2026

Leaders: Birdquest leader to be announced and expert local trackers

7 Days Group Size Limit 6

RED PANDA EXPEDITION: OVERVIEW

Birdquest’s Red Panda Expedition is a quest for one of the most-wanted mammals in Asia, the wonderful Red Panda. Far smaller than its close relative the Giant Panda, the Red Panda is a largely arboreal species and is definitely a much more beautiful and approachable creature in our opinion.

Our Quest for the Red Panda will take us to the Eastern Himalayas, where we will be based at a comfortable lodge at Singalila Ridge on the border between Nepal and India. Here our expert trackers will be helping us find, approach and photograph this fascinating and beautiful critter as it climbs around in the wintry trees and tall bushes in search of berries, seeds and other food.

Many birds will be seen during our extended (6 nights) stay at Singalila. The Eastern Himalayas are the richest part of the chain and even in the winter months (which is the best season for seeing Red Pandas), many species are still present.

Among the species that are quite likely during our stay are such highlights as the amazing Satyr Tragopan, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Rufous-fronted Bushtit, White-browed and Golden Bush Robins, Brown and Black-throated Parrotbills, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Scaly, Spotted, Black-faced and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, Hoary-throated Barwing and Golden-breasted Fulvetta. With good fortune, we will encounter the lovely Fire-tailed Myzornis.

There is even a hide/blind at our accommodation where many birds and sometimes Red Pandas come to feed!

This expedition can be combined with: BANGLADESH EXPEDITION

Spiny Babbler Extension Option: Guests on this tour have the option to sign up for a short extension to look for the Nepal-endemic Spiny Babbler in the Kathmandu Valley. Please contact us if you are interested in participating.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The lodge is warm and comfortable and the bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms. Road transport is by cars (including 4×4 cars). Roads are variable in quality.

Walking: The walking effort during our Red Panda expedition is easy to moderate grade.

Climate: It will be quite cold in the daytime, with a mixture of sunshine and overcast conditions. Some snow is likely

Bird & Mammal Photography: Opportunities during our Red Panda expedition are good.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Encounters with the wonderful Red Panda, one of the most charismatic Asian critters.
  • Watching a male Satyr Tragopan in all its fiery glory.
  • Finding the bizarre Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, one of the strangest-looking birds of the Himalayas.
  • Watching Golden Bush Robins and laughingthrushes hopping around in front of the hide/blind.
  • Enjoying some amazing Himalayan vistas , some stretching all the way to the ice-clad Himalayan giants.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Morning expedition start at Bhadrapur airport in southeast Nepal. Drive into the Himalayas to Singalila Ridge.
  • Days 2-6: Exploring Singalila National Park.
  • Day 7: Return to Bhadrapur airport for afternoon expedition end.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.

PRICE INFORMATION

Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)


2026: provisional £1980, $2550, €2320, AUD3850. Bhadrapur/Bhadrapur.

Single Supplement: 2026: £480, $620, €560, AUD930.

Please note that there are no twin-bedded rooms at the lodge. Rooms are available for single or double occupancy by couples only.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

RED PANDA EXPEDITION: DETAILED ITINERARY

Red Panda: Day 1  Our expedition begins this morning at Bhadrapur airport, situated at the base of the Himalayas in southeast Nepal. From there we climb into the Himalayas, enjoying some spectacular views, to Singalila Ridge for a six nights stay.  After a time we enter the reserved forest and wind our way upwards to our accommodation which is situated right on the ridge. We will make a few stops along the way.

[There are regular flights to Bhadrapur from Kathmandu. We can easily arrange just the internal flights for you if you are not having us handle your intercontinental air travel.]

Red Panda: Days 2-6  Singalila National Park protects a huge area of Himalayan forest and open meadows on the Singalia Ridge that forms the border between Nepal and West Bengal state in India. The park covers an area of 78.6 square kilometres (30.3 square miles) and its elevation ranges from around 2100m (6900ft) to around 3600m (11800ft), although we will likely not get much above 3000m (9800ft) during our visit.

At this time of year, the Himalayan vistas are often quite extraordinary and from different places on the Singalila Ridge, you can see panoramas of Himalayan ridges stretching away into the distance to the great ice-clad peaks of the Main Range. The scene is often dominated by the huge massif of Kangchenjunga (or Kanchenjunga), at 8,586m or 28,169ft this is one of the highest peaks on earth.

Each day our expert trackers will sortie out and try to locate approachable Red Pandas. Not only should we see and photograph this wonderful animal, but at this time of year, we can reasonably hope for multiple encounters!

There is also a hide/blind we can visit where many birds and sometimes even Red Pandas come to feed!

Lots of bird species inhabit Singalila, and while cuckoos, flycatchers, warblers and some other species head for the foothills and plains in the colder months, many species remain, including some of the most spectacular birds of the Eastern Himalayas.

Among the best birds at Singalila are the magnificent Satyr Tragopan (those males glow like fireballs, especially if seen against the snow) and the beautiful Fire-tailed Myzornis, although the latter is often a tricky bird to find.

Among the many other species that are possible at the Singalila Ridge at this season are: Himalayan Griffon, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Himalayan Buzzard, Kalij and Blood Pheasants, Darjeeling and Crimson-breasted Woodpeckers, Green Shrike-babbler, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Grey Treepie, Spotted Nutcracker, Large-billed Crow, White-collared Blackbird, Alpine Thrush, Black-throated Thrush (and perhaps Red-throated also), Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Golden and White-browed Bush Robins, Himalayan Bluetail, Blue-fronted and White-throated Redstarts, the bizarre Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Striated, Streaked, Chestnut-crowned, Scaly, Black-faced and Spotted Laughingthrushes, Hoary-throated Barwing, Rufous Sibia, Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas, Red-tailed and Chestnut-tailed Minlas, the gorgeous Golden-breasted Fulvetta, White-browed and Rufous-winged Fulvettas, Brown and Black-throated Parrotbills, Goldcrest, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, White-tailed Nuthatch, Rufous-fronted Bushtit, Yellow-browed, Red-vented, Coal, Grey-crested and Green-backed Tits, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Green-tailed Sunbird, Dark-rumped, Pink-browed, Dark-breasted and Himalayan White-browed Rosefinches, Plain Mountain Finch, Red (or Common) Crossbill, Red-headed Bullfinch, Gold-naped Finch and White-winged Grosbeak.

Apart from the Red Pandas, there are also fair chances for such mammals as Yellow-throated Martin, Himalayan Serow and Himalayan Ghoral.

Note: It is important to appreciate that this is a Red Panda Expedition and that priority will be given to gaining sightings and good photographs of this endearing critter. There will be lots of birds to see and enjoy but seeing as many bird species as possible is not the goal of this special expedition.

Red Panda: Day 7  Today we will descend to Bhadrapur airport where our expedition ends this afternoon.