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Bird Watching in Bhutan
Bhutan is a god’s gift for nature lovers and heaven for bird watchers and ornithologists. It is home to over 670 avian species and more are yet to be discovered. With less population, this country offers the best bird watching experience in Eastern Himalayas as its dense forests and natural habitats are untouched. The Bhutanese values have made the people of this small kingdom live in harmony with the environment. Though the country welcomes its visitors with warm hospitality, it is not without some reserves bearing in mind the side-effects of uncontrolled tourism. The entire country offers variety in aerial delights but mentioned below are some of the places for a fantastic bird watching experience -
This bowl shaped valley offers an aerial view of the expansive fields and lush greenery of the Black Mountains of Wangdue Phodrang. As this valley is situated 3000m above sea level, it is comparatively cooler and hence a winter home for migratory birds like black-necked cranes that escape the harsh winter of Tibet. This endangered species is quite revered by the locals and the monks of this area. Phobjikha Valley also known as Gangtey is a paradise for bird watchers and nature photographers.
Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is the also home to the Royal Family of the Bhutan kingdom. Covered and surrounded by temperate evergreen forests and Blue Pine trees, it is also one of the best places to spot some beautiful avifauna. The stream near Motithang and in and around Begana and Cheri villages are some of the ideal places to spot species like Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos), Redrumped Swallow (Hirunda daurica), Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus melaschistos), Grackle or Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla caspica), Whitebellied Yuhina (Yuhina xanthoteuca), Upland Pipit (Anthus sylvanus), Plumbeous Redstart (Rhyacornis fuliginosus).
Royal Botanical Park is the perfect place to get acquainted with an exquisite collection of Himalayan plants and offers a great opportunity for bird watching. While driving to Punakha through the Dochula pass you’ll witness the sun peaking through the temperate leafy forests where rhododendron and bloom in March and April. Some of the species that you’ll come across in the beautiful location of Punakha are Black-chinned Yuhina (Yuhina nutriment), Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), Blackchinned Babbler (Stachyris pyrrhops), Black-breasted Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata), Redbreasted Rosefinch (Carpodacus puniceus), Fulvous-breasted Pied Woodpecker (Picoides macei), Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides melcolmi), Himalaya Tree Pie (Dendrocitra vagabunda), Little Bunting (Emberiza striolata), Slatybacked Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus), Whitebreasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), Yellowbilled Blue Magpie (Cissa flavirostris), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Steppe Eagle (Aquila rapax nipalensis), Small Niltava (Muscicapa macgrigoriae), Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis), Speckled Wood Pigeon (Columbia hodgsonii), Grey Tit (Parus major) and Redcrowned Jay (Garrulus glandarius).
Passing through the dense of the gigantic fir forests and some really tricky roads, you’ll reach Limithang. One of the driving spots on the way is the Namling 'Death Drop'. The name itself is quite self-explanatory. Your journey to Limithang will be something that you’ll remember for a long long time. Some of the species that you’ll come across on your way and in Limithang are Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes madagascariensis), Blyth's Pipit (Anthus godlewskii), Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus), Gould's Shortwings (Brachypteryx stellata), Redheaded Bullfinch (Pyrrhula erythrocephala), Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla caspica), Whitethroated Munia (Lonchura malabarica), Whitebrowed Blue Flycatcher (Muscicapa leucomelanura), Yellowbellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum melanoxanthuon), Bluebeaed Bee-Eater ( Nyctyornis athertoni), Parrotbill (Paradoxornis nipalensis), Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus), Redvented Bulbul (Pyconotus cafer), Lesser Racket-Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer), Fantail Warbler (Cisticola exilis) and Rufousthroated Hill Partridge (Arborophila rufogularis).
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