Birding

birding

Bhutan has a rich diversity of avifauna. With over 70% of the country’s total landmass under forest cover, one can spot birds of all colors, and even endangered species. And that’s what makes Bhutan a birder’s paradise.

Bhutan’s vast biodiversity and ecosystem is host to over 700 bird species of which 22 are globally threatened. In addition to a huge variety of plant and bird species, Bhutan is also rich in butterflies. Bhutan has as many as 800 to 900 butterfly and moth species, of which 28 are endemic to the Eastern Himalayas.

The White-bellied Heron (Ardea Insignis) is among the endangered species due to its low population count and loss of habitat.

Bird habitats of Bhutan are divided into forest, scrub, wetlands, alpine habitats, and agricultural land. The rich, diverse and enchanting landscape makes a beautiful place for birding.

Bhutan’s reverence for birds is evident from the Raven Crown of the King. Raven is the national bird.

Known to nest in the walls of monasteries and dzongs (fortress), seeing a raven is considered auspicious. Other birds to look out for is the wild jungle fowl, violet cuckoos, Crimson Sunbird, White-throated Kingfisher, Cattle Egret and Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, among others.

A common sight in Bhutan, the wild jungle fowl still live in the wild although the bird has been domesticated since a long time back. These birds can be spotted dodging vehicles and darting off into the brushes. Cuckoos are also common in Bhutan but are difficult to approach.

Birding areas in Bhutan (Source – TCB)

WEST

Mochhu valley and Rimchu to the Jigme Dorji National Park

Here warm broad leaf forests are the habitat of the rare White-bellied Heron, white-gorgoted flycatcher and the yellow-vented warbler.

Best time to visit: November to early May.

Mochhu valley to Wangduephodrang (1300m)

The river to the north of Wangduephodrang is an excellent area for waterfowl and migratory birds like the bar-headed goose, eurasian wigeon, oriental dwarf kingfisher, and the rare white-bellied heron.

Tashithang to Damji (Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park/ 6-day trek)


View ward’s trogan and lesser shortwings in these warm broad leaf forests.

Best time to visit: April to early May.

Damji to Gasa (1700m / 2430m)

The warm broad-leaved forest is home to the black tailed crake and the grey-sided laughing thrush.

Gasa to Koina to Laya (2700m / 3200m)

Cool broad leaf forest mixed with coniferous fir, spruce and juniper. Birds at home here include the bush robin, firetail myzornis, purple cochoa and the gold-naped finch.

Drugyel Dzong to Jangothang to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park (2580m / 4090m)

The alpine region is ideal for viewing the Tibetan snowcock, isisbill, Himalayan griffon and the golden eagle.

Above Dodina (2575m) below Cheri Lhakhang on the trail towards Shodu, Thimphu Valley (Jigme Dorji Wang- chuck National Park)

The Oak forests are home to spotted laughing thrush, fire-capped tit, and yellow-bellied flower picker thrive.

Phobjikha Valley (3050m)

Home to the endangered Black-necked cranes.

Best time to visit: November

East of Dochu La Pass (3115m)

Fir, rhododendron, oak and bamboo forests prime up in April to May. It is ideal for viewing satyr tragopan, rufous-breast bush robin, slender-billed scimitar babbler.

birding2

EAST

Sengor to Namling (3050m / 2360m)

An area of hemlock and cool broad leaf forests where one can view tragopans, bar-winged wrens and the fire-tailed myzornis.

Best time to visit – April to May.

Namling to Yongkhala (2360m / 1700m)

Cool and warm broad leaf forests host the yellow-rumped honey guide, rufoused-necked hornbill, laughing-thrush, coral billed scimitar babbler, and the golden-breasted fulvetta.

Best time to visit: November to early May.

Yongkola to Lingmethang (1700m / 650m)

Warm broad leaf forests towards the south are home to the rufous-bellied hawk eagle, collarded treepie, and the yellow-vented warbler.

Best time to visit: November to early May.

Narphung La to Deothang (1700m / 850m)

Warm broad leaf to subtropical forests allows viewing of Rufous- necked Hornbill, Beautiful Nuthatch, and the Gold-naped Finch. November to early May.

Over Yotong La Pass (3520m)

Fire-tailed myzornis, great parrotbill and yellow-bellied bush warbler nestle the fir, rhododendron and bamboo forests.

Best time to visit: April and May

CENTRAL

Bumthang Valley (2600m)

Isisbills and migrant birds flock home to the broad-fields and river- areas during March – May and October – November.

Best time to visit: March to May and October to November

Over Pele La Pass (3390m)

Habitat Fir, Rhododendron and Bamboo forests come full bloom in April to May where Brown and Green Parrotbills, Marron-backed Accentor reside visibly.

SOUTH

Deothang to Samdrup Jongkhar (850m / 250m)

Subtropical forests in the southern part of Bhutan are the home of the wreathed hornbill, the rare violet cuckoo, pied falconet, and the greater rufous-breasted parrotbill.

Best time to visit: November to early May.

Toorsa River, Phuentsholing (150m)

Various migratory birds from Tibet rest here at the banks of the Toorsa from November to April.

 

Yu-Druk Tours & Treks
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Telephone: 975-2-323461
Fax 975-2-322116
E-mail: yudruk1985@gmail.com / yudruk@druknet.bt

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Mr. Robin Pradhan +975-1762-9898
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Story on Peter Schmid living in Bhutan
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Updated: May, 2015