Here’s a partial list of all the animal life we spotted on two 3-hour jeep safaris in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, with a few comments. BTR is open savannah/dry deciduous forest habitat in the Western Ghats, just north of Ooty and south/southwest of Mysore. Altitude is about 1,000 m. This list is from a late afternoon and early morning safari.
Elephants – multiple sightings, including a pregnant female, several small herds, two females who mock-charged our jeep not once, but twice, and a dead baby.
Spotted deer – hundreds of them
Gaur (Indian bison) – seen several times, once up close
Sambar (alarm call heard around the time we saw the tiger – see below)
Leopard – at the end of our morning safari, on the way back, we saw it in the bushes off the side of the road, trying to sneak up on a small herd of spotted deer.
Tiger – a big male, they think about 5-6 years old, who came out of the woods and walked down the road. We followed it in our jeep for quite a while, 20 minutes or so. It ignored us until once we got too close and it looked back and gave us the evil eye.
Birds (special thanks to Dr. Albert Relton of Bishop Heber College for identifying these birds for us!):
Crested hawk eagle
Crested Serpent eagle
Red wattled lapwing
Yellow-footed green pigeon
White bellied drongo
Jungle fowl – 2 males and 1 female
Spotted Owlet – male and female pair
Long tailed shrike
White-bellied woodpecker – male and female together. Apparently quite rare, so our guides were pretty excited.
Many other unidentified birds and birds our guides identified but did not even point out because they were gone too quickly.
Giant wood spider, male and female together on same web
Multiple species of dragonflies
Jumping spider – unidentified