Where to go for bird watching in Nepal?
Probably, after mountaineering and trekking, biodiversity is what attracts the tourists most in Nepal. With 12 national parks and various conservation sites over the country, Nepal boasts a rich and varied biodiversity, that has formed to be one of the major tourist attractions.
When not scaling the mountains, or trekking in Himalayan foothill, visitors of Nepal love to wander along the tropical forest in Terai that homes an array of wildlife and vegetation. National parks of Nepal are already a popular destination to embark on adventurous activities like jungle walk, birdwatching, elephant safari, canoe ride etc.
With a total of about 900 species (886 recorded), which constitutes 9% of the world’s bird population, Nepal is literally a bird watcher’s paradise.
And, in present bird watching in Nepal has found quite an interest amongst travelers as birdlife diversity is overwhelming. Well, taking a nature walk in the serene and lush jungle, while spotting the never-seen birds is definitely good-experience. So, here are some best places you can visit for bird watching in Nepal.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Located in the Terai region of eastern Nepal, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve comprises extensive mudflats, reed beds and freshwater marshes in floodplain making it a perfect residence for birds.
Home to 485 recorded bird species, Koshi Tappu, is the best destination for birdwatching in Nepal. Bengal Florican, Indian nightjar, black-headed cuckoo shrike, large adjutant stork, white-tailed stonechat, watercock, gull-billed tern, Pallas’s fish eagle, striated grassbird, common golden-eye, rufous-vented grass babbler and swamp francolin are some birdlife in Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve.
Not just birdlife, Koshi Tappu also exhibits varied wildlife including wild water buffalo, gaur, blue bull, spotted deer, hog deer, dolphin, gharial, mugger crocodile, and Asian elephant.
Chitwan National Park
One of the major tourist destination and even the UNESCO world heritage site; Chitwan National Park shares a greater part on the picture of Nepal’s biodiversity. With 700 wildlife species and within 70 species of mammals including prominent ones like Bengal Tiger and One-horned rhino, the influx is higher as the odds to observe wildlife is greater.
The subtropical forests of Chitwan National Park has recorded 543 species of birds and about two thirds of Nepal’s globally threatened species. Eastern imperial eagle, greater spotted eagle, Bengal florican, lesser adjutant, swamp francolin, Grey-crowned pirana, oriental darter, goosanders and brahminy ducks are some of the species from the array of birdlife in Chitwan National Park.
While Slaty-breasted rail, blossom-headed parakeet, black-chinned yuhina, bar-headed geese and Gould’s sunbird are some visitors to the park.
Annapurna Conservation Area
Established in 1986, Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) is the largest protected in Nepal with one of the most impressive mountain cirques in the world. However, not just mountains, the conservation area also harbors a large number of protected birds of Nepal; a perfect place for bird watching in Nepal.
The 486 species of bird in ACA gives a grandeur experience for those who are seeking for bird watching in Nepal. It is resident to eight globally threatened species including Cheer Pheasant and seven near-threatened species including satyr tragopan and yellow-rumped honeyguide.
Further, there are six restricted-range species including spiny babbler, Nepal wren babbler, and hoary-throated barwing; all of Nepal’s six Himalayan pheasants and about 40 migrating birds including demoiselle crane Grus Virgo.
Keeping bird watching in Nepal at bay; the conservation area has exotic wildlife like the red panda, snow leopard, clouded leopard, Asiatic black bear, grey wolf and Himalayan musk deer.
The alluring valley of Pokhara is the hot-spot tourism destination, and as the destination for bird watching in Nepal, the city boasts even more of its beauty. The best-known place of bird watching, while in Pokhara are surrounding area of Phewa Lake and Begnas Lake.
In Phewa lake, the forest around the south shore is away from human inhabitation, where you can observe plentiful of protected birds of Nepal. Falcons, gulls, terns, egrets, pipits, buntings, herons and ducks are popular sighting around the lake.
Likewise, Begnas lake, surrounded by the serene beauty of terraced and light forests, in another place in Pokhara for bird watching in Nepal. Some common sightings are pheasant-tailed jacana, hopei grey-bellied tessie’s, bulbul, ducks, and common pintail snipe. Red-thigh falcon, Eurasian griffon, red-headed and Eurasian black vultures, kalij pheasant and besar are some other birdlife.
Bardia National Park
With 407 species of birds, Bardia National Park is one of the best places to venture towards for bird watching in Nepal. Taking you towards western Nepal, bird watching in Bardia will be an off-the-track experience for you, as from culture and people to the weather and landscape; everything is different than the valley.
White-rumped vulture, Bengal florican, peafowl, bar-headed geese, aberrant bush warbler, jungle Prinia, grey crowned Prinia, lesser florican, sarus crane, chestnut-capped babbler, golden-headed cisticola and pale-footed bush warbler are the major birdlife in the jungle and grassland of the park.
Also, Bardia National Park is known for an array of activities like wildlife rafting, jungle walk, jungle safari, village tour, cultural dance, and camping.
Shivapuri National Park
Shivapuri National Park is a popular day-hike within the proximity of Kathmandu Valley. The lush vegetation forested in the park provides a serene ambiance for a day escape from the crowd of Kathmandu. However, the rich wildlife of the park acts as another attraction.
In total there are 318 species including barred cuckoo-dove, white gorgeted flycatcher, golden-throated barbet, Eurasian eagle-owl and slender-billed scimitar-babbler.
Be on your guard and look out for these birds, while scaling the verdant forest of Shivapuri National Park.
Surrounding Area of Kathmandu
Yes, the city of Kathmandu is the rail of a crowd with the cloud of smog, but don’t let the cover confuse you. The city is historical, with ancient feats; a cluster of Nepal’s overall culture, and a place to have a peaceful experience, if you know where to go.
Godavari, Phulchowki and Nagarjun are the best places within the proximity of Kathmandu, where you can enjoy quiet time and bird watching in Nepal. You can observe various species of birds in Kathmandu Valley.
Besra, Rufous-bellied niltava, Chestnut-headed Tesia, rufous-gorgeted flycatcher, whiskered yuhina, Yellow-browed tit, Nepal Cutia, Greater yellow nape, racket-tailed drongos, ultramarine flycatcher, black-winged cuckoo shrike, and grey-headed woodpecker are some birds in Kathmandu’s vicinity.
Located in the outskirts of Kathmandu, Taudaha lake is a popular local tourist destination. Apart from its beautiful location amid the grassy-land and intriguing legend referring it as the abode of “Snake God”, Taudaha Lake showcases an impressive birdlife making it an ideal and accessible place for birdwatching in Nepal.
The lake and its surrounding area have around 40 species of bird including red-vented bulbul, cattle egrets, black kite, black drongo, oriental magpie, jungle crow, common myna, rose-ringed parakeet, and white-throated kingfisher.
As the lake is probably the cleanest water body in the valley, it is a popular stopover for numerous migratory bird species. Summer visitors include Indian cuckoo and barn swallow, while winter visitors are common teal, northern pintail, great cormorant, mallard duck, gadwall, Eurasian coot and ruddy shelduck.
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