In this paper, a tabu search based hyper heuristic is applied to the routing and wavelength assignment problem, considering physical impairments caused by Amplified Spontaneous Emission noise in erbium-doped fiber amplifiers and crosstalk noise at optical cross-connects. The objective is to minimize the total bit error rate of the routed lightpaths over optical wavelength division multiplexing networks. The results of the tabu search based hyper-heuristics are compared with single heuristic approaches. The results show that different heuristics provide the best result for different instances. The tabu search based hyper heuristic, which combines all the heuristics, gives comparable results to the single heuristics while using a modest amount of time. Furthermore, it has the best results for some problem instances.