Explore the beauty of the Himalayas with Bird Watching in Nepal, a country with topographical diversity beyond measure. From the Terai flatlands in the south to the hilly region sandwiched in between and the plateaus and high mountains towards the north, the country has an altitude as low as 59m in the plains peaking at the top of Everest at 8848m. This has resulted in an immense variety of flora and fauna that can be imagined in such a small area (147,181 sq km).
Bird Watching in Nepal is a satisfying journey with a recorded 848 species of birds (8 percent of the total birds in the world) which also includes rare and endangered species like the Impeyan Pheasant, the national bird of the country, and Spiny Babbler, the rare bird found only in Nepal. Since bird watching also inculcates hiking and exploration, it’s a fun activity suitable for anyone.
We have explored bird habitats in Kathmandu Valley in our previous post. Here, we add more other popular places for birding in Nepal.
Places in Nepal for Bird Watching:
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Considered the best for Bird Watching, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (175 sq km) is the smallest reserve in eastern Nepal lying to the north-east of the convergence of Sapta Koshi and Trijuga Rivers. Monsoons cover most of the flatlands with water; however, in dry seasons sandy islands are numerous and serve as a stay for migratory birds. With a total of 485 bird species recorded in the reserve, over a hundred of them can be spotted in a day. Rare species include ibises, 20 duck species, herons, egrets, and swamp partridges among many others. In addition to this, you may rejoice at the sight of the last surviving population of Wild Buffalo thriving here besides other rare mammals.
Chitwan National Park
Also listed in the World Heritage Site list, Chitwan National Park is well known for its conservation of one-horned rhino, the Bengal tiger, crocodiles, butterflies, monitor lizards, and many others. The park is equally spellbinding for birding with over 543 species of birds (recorded in 2006) and 160 species of migratory birds. These include parakeets, red-billed blue magpie, great barbet, long-tailed nightjar, kingfishers, flycatcher, etc.
Bardia National park
This national park lies in the flatlands of the Terai towards far-west Nepal and is covered mostly by sal forests and grasslands. A total of 407 species of birds have been recorded which include Bengal florican, silver eared mesia, Sarus crane, and lesser florican among the endangered ones. The list extends with a white-rumped vulture, peafowl, jungle Prinia, striated grassbird, golden-headed cisticola, chestnut-capped babbler to name a few. The best way to absorb bird life in Bardia National Park is to take a slow boat ride along the Karnali River. The park includes several rare wild animals including one-horned rhino, blackbuck antelope, Gangetic dolphin, crocodile, and wild elephants.
The Annapurna Conservation Area
Trekking around Annapurna falls among the most frequented route in the world. If you are going that way, you might as well enjoy bird watching en route. The conservation area is home to 441 recorded bird species which even includes the spiny babbler among other rare species, the variety owing to variation in topography. About 40 migratory species have been recorded along the Kali Gandaki valley(Jomsom and Tukche). Bird species include eagles, vultures, and six types of Himalayan pheasants among many others.
The valley of Pokhara is also popular for its birding destinations in the lakesides of Fewa and Begnas where you can find herons, ducks, pipits, egrets, bulbuls, and pheasant tailed jacana to name a few.