A good number of people, from experienced birders to novices, visit these places in Nepal to get the most of birdwatching
Nepal has more than 850 recorded species of birds and amazingly, half of these birds can be seen in and around the Kathmandu valley alone. The hills around the valley especially Nagarjuna, Godavari and Phulchowki are popular for bird watching adventures. Whether it is a sport or hobby, its thrills are worthwhile.
Phulchowki at 2,760 mt boasts about 90 bird species including the endemic Spiny Babbler, which was thought to be extinct until it was spotted in Nepal. Another rare species, the Red-Headed Trogon, was also sighted here in April, 2000. Spiny babbler, great cormorant, common coot, minivets, woodpeckers, flycatchers, long-tailed broadbill and racket-tailed drongo are common bird species spotted in the area.
Chitwan National park
National parks like Chitwan and Bardia harbour a wide variety of birds too. It is speculated that Chitwan National Park is home to over 540 species of birds. Several grassland species, including Bengal Florican, Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla and Slender-billed Babbler Turdoides longirostris, can be seen in the park.
The Bis Hazari lake, the Narayani and Rapti rivers are also teeming with wildlife. One can easily witness the beauty of these enchanting feathered creatures fluttering about on an early morning canoe ride. The ‘Vulture Restaurant’ in Chitwan even feeds the endangered vultures safe carcasses, protecting them from contaminated food.
Bardia National Park
To the south of Khaptad, is by far the largest national park in Nepal comprising 968 sq km, bounded by the eastern bank of the Karnali River and intersected down the middle by the Babai River. Bardia started off as a Royal Hunting Reserve in 1969 and was only established as a national park in 1988.
Bardia National Park has lots to offer visitors: bird watching through forested trees, rafting in the Karnali River, elephant safaris, and jungle/nature walks. Hop on an elephant or jeep safari through the majestic jungles of Bardia and keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready for birds that may come out of its hiding.
The park has 513 species of birds and is mainly known for hosting the Bengal Florican, a critically endangered bird species. Moreover, dove, vulture, crane, kingfisher, sparrow, pigeon, hummingbird, woodpecker, cookoo, egrets, black ibis, warbler and various migratory birds also cohabit in this protected area.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
The Koshi Tappu region is home to a large number of resident and migratory birds, 441 species in total. It has about 26 varieties of ducks alone. Make the most of your camera, the Black Ibis, Honey Kites, Ospreys, Black Headed Orioles, Peregrine Falcon, Partridges, Ruddy Shelduck, Storks, Vultures and Eagles among others have been sighted there.
(Photo credit: nepaltrekways.com)
The reserve extends to neighbouring Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur districts. The Koshi river, Nandan, Indian camp and Kamaldaha ponds receive footfall from serious bird watchers. The Bar-headed goose, greater and lesser adjutant and falcated duck, among others, are found here.
The higher Himalayan region is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to different species of raptors and birds of prey. Pristine mountain ranges, rocky cliffs and the rambunctious rivers all invite different bird species to cohabit.
(Photo credit: Hrudanand Chauhan)
The lammergeyer, snowcock, snowpatridge, choughs, bunting, redstarts and dippers are often seen along the rivulets. Nepal’s national bird, the Danphe or Impeyen Pheasant, is also found here. These splendid beings belong to the Galliformes order and Phasianidae family. It prefers the alpine and subalpine areas where it is steep and grassy with rocky slopes and the adjacent forests during summer. They descend to lower altitudes in rhododendron forests during the colder months, especially in times of heavy snowfall.
A rare bird known as Jerdon’s Baza was also sighted in Nepal. Over the past few years a conservation group has worked specifically in the Lumbini area to conserve the Sarus Crane.