Nepal: Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Bird Watching and Birding Programmes Organised by Nature Trails.

Nepal is blessed with a vast array of exceptionally rich  bird life with total of over 850 species recorded . A diverse topography and climate has resulted in a variety of habitats within the country, which are home to over 8% of the Worlds total bird population
  Nepal is a paradise for the birdwatcher. From the lowland jungle of the Terrai and the Kosi Tappu barrage through dense rhododendron and Oak forest of the middle hills to the windswept plateaus of the high Himalaya there is always something to keep one twitching.

Birds of the Kathmandu Valley

Birds of the Kathmandu ValleyWithin the Kathmandu valley alone, over 500 species of birds have been recorded. The surrounding hills offer a varied ecology ranging from primary and secondary forests to rhododendron, oak and pine forests. In addition, the wetlands and open fields inside the valley make up a diverse habitat for many species of birds. The most popular bird watching spot is the Phulchoki hill, the highest peak on the Valley rim situated 20 km South East of Kathmandu, with some 265 species recorded to date. The birds seen here included babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, minivets, woodpeckers, eagles and many migrant birds. Godavari, at the foot of Phulchoki hill where the Royal Botanical Garden is situated, records over 100 species of birds including the lesser racket-tailed drongo, Tibetan siskin and the spotted forktail.

The Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve

The Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife ReserveSituated 11km to the North of Kathmandu, is another very good location. Nagerjun Royal Forest on Jamacho hill is situated 5 km from Kathmandu on the way to Kakani from Balaju. It is a renowned sight for bird enthusiasts with blue magpies, kalij pheasants, Bonelli's eagles, great Himalayan barbets amongst thwe many species found here.

The Valley Wetlands

The wetlands in the valley, the banks of the Manohara river on the way to Bhaktapur, and the Bagmati river, which flows into the Valley from Shivapuri hill and out through Chobhar Gorge, are good places for watching waders and waterfowls. Harbouring 40 species of birds mostly dependent on wetlands, Taudaha, a lake on the way to Dakshinkali, attracts flocks of migrant birds.

Popular Bird Watching Sites Outside the Kathmandu Valley

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Koshi Tappu Wildlife ReserveAs well as other kinds of fauna, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is renowned for being one of the best locations for birding. Still within Nepal's sub-tropical Terai belt, this is the smallest (175 sq km) and Easternmost reserve in Nepal, just to the North East of the convergence of the Sapt Koshi and Trijuga Khola rivers. Its situation on the Sapt Koshi floodplain means that the environment of this reserve varies dramatically according to the seasons. During the Monsoon (May to September) the flow becomes torrential and covers most of the floodplain, while during the dry seasons, many flat, sandy islands are exposed. The habitat is a combination of scrub grassland and deciduous riverine forest, with over 280 species of birds recorded so far, including 20 species of duck, ibises, storks, swamp partridges (Francolinus gularis), herons, egrets, Bengal floricans (Eupodotis Bengalensis), and many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National ParkIs approximately five hours by road from Kathmandu or a 35 minute flight situated in the Terai region. It is renowned for its array of birds, with over 255 species recorded. There are many species of parakeets. Other birds include Blue-Throat (thrush), Long-tailed Nightjar, Indian Peafowl, Great Barbet, red-billed blue magpie and Tickell's red-breasted blue flycatcher. A two night/three day package, staying at a lodge within the park, is an ideal way to combine bird watching with other pursuits.

Bardia National park

Bardia National parkBardia is also a popular destination for bird watching situated in the far West of Nepal it is an area of extensive jungle which is covered by sal forest riverine and grass lands. A boat ride on the slow moving expanse of the Karnali River provides plenty of opportunities to view a vast variety of birds including Ruddy Shelduck, darters, brahmini kites, brown headed gulls, cormorants, oriental pied hornbills, night heron & purple heron, cinnaon bitterns, orioles and majestic peacocks.

Trekking Regions

One of the best ways of viewing birds in Nepal is a leisurely trek through the foothills. There are three main trekking areas in Nepal: the Langtang region six hours by road North of Kathmandu, the Solu Khumbu region eight hours by road East of Kathmandu and the Annapurna region, six hours by road or a 30 minute flight West of Kathmandu. Of the three trekking regions, the Annapurna region offers the widest variety of species. The region is also easily accessible.

The Annapurna Conservation Area

Bardia National parkTo set the scene a little, the Annapurna region is a Conservation Area is the largest and most protected region in the World (ACA), covering around 2600sq km towards the North-central region of Nepal. The Kali Gandaki river runs North to South through this region, through the world's deepest gorge, some 6000m below the high Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs, seven of these peaks are over 7000m, the highest (Annapurna I) at 8091m. A few facts and figures above, but as you can imagine, the ACA supports a remarkable but delicate biodiversity, with 441 recorded species of birds (so far), including the only endemic species of Nepal, the spiny babbler (Turdoides Nepalensis). The bird habitat ranges from the sub-tropical lowlands towards Pokhara in the south of ACA to dry sub-alpine conditions above the tree-line towards the North.

The Kali Gandaki valley is also a major migration pathway in the autumn, when 40 species, including demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides Virgo), can be seen around Jomsom and Tukche. Happily this coincides with one of the two trekking seasons (Spring and Autumn).

Migrating West about this time further South around Kaare and Dhampus are about 20 identified species of eagle and other birds of prey. The most commonly observed are:lammergeier gypaetus barbatus (Bearded Vulture), known as the giddha in Nepal, it frequently occurs at 4100m.and the golden eagle Aquila Cryaetos, known as baaj in Nepal.

There are six Himalayan pheasants to be found in ACA: Himalayan The Monal Lophophorus impejanus satyra Tragopan Tragopan satyra (Crimson Horned Pheasant) Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichiiKalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelana, are the most commonly occurring of Nepali pheasants.

Nature Trails ongoing bird watching and wildlife programmes run from October to May each year. One month advance notice please.

An introduction to the Birds of the Kathmandu Valley . (Eight days)

Bardia National parkThe tour is designed for those with less time. It is a full and very interesting tour providing the the best locations for bird spotting in the time available. We stay at three different destinations around Kathmandu including two hill resorts outside of the Kathmandu valley renowned for their variety of birds.

Itinerary early starts late finishes.
Day 01 Arrive Kathmandu, transfer hotel / tour briefing / Introductory evening meal
Day 02 Drive Phulchowki and surrounds./ return hotel
Day 03 Drive Shivapuri watershed and wildlife reserve / return hotel
Day 04 Drive early a.m.to Nargakot hill resort / overnight
Day 05 Nargakot / overnight
Day 06 Drive Dulikhel hill resort /overnight
Day 07 Dhulikhel hill resort / return Kathmandu late p.m. / transfer hotel
Day 08 Groups choice of bird watching destination within the valley based on preference.
Day 09 Transfer airport for onward destination
For price and further information, please e-mail to us.

Wing Nepal with Nature Trails. Twenty Days.

Bardia National parkA fully inclusive and varied tour (apart from lunch and dinner in hotels Kathmandu and Pokhara) allowing the an ideal opportunity to view birds in a variety of ecological locations and at various altitudes. From The Terrai plain in the South of the country at almost sea level to our Study Centre in the Annapurna Himal situated at an altitude of 6,400 feet. Commencing within the exotic Kathmandu valley we travel to the wet lands of the Terrai plains and on to the dense Jungle terrain of Royal Chitwan National Park.We continue to the wonderful lakeside setting Pokhara with arguably the most impressive mountain backdrop anywhere in the World and birds to match. A days hike follows, for an exclusive three day stay at our Study Centre in the Annapurna Region . A total birding experience in the time available which in terms of species is very hard to match anywhere in the World..

Tour Breakdown.
a . Six days in the Kathmandu visiting the important bird sights within the Kathmandu valley.
b. Internal flight to Biratnagar transfer for. three nights four days at the Koshi Tappu Aqua Bird Wildlife Reserve.
c. Air conditioned support / transport overland for a two nights three days stay inside Royal Chitwan National Park.
d. Air conditioned support/ transport for three nights fours days stay in Pokhara, Phewa Lake and surrounds. (staying in a resort hotel)
e. Trek into the mountains for one day, for a three nights four days exclusive stay at Nature Trails Study Centre in the Annapurna Region.
f . One further night in Pokhara followed the next day with an internal early morning flight to Kathmandu, transfer for two further nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu.
g. Airport Transfer for onward destination.

Day 01 Arrive Kathmandu, transfer hotel / tour briefing / Introductory evening meal
Day 02 A full day sightseeing tour within the Kathmandu valley
Day 03 Godawari botanical garden and surrounds (full day)
Day 04 Phulchowki hill (full day) early
Day 05 Manohara river (full day)
Day 06 Fly, Kathmandu / Biratnagar / Koshi Tappu Aqua Birds Resort
Day 07 Koshi Tappu Aqua Birds Resort
Day 08 Koshi Tappu Aqua Birds Resort
Day 09 Biratnagar / drive Chitwan National Park
Day 10 Chitwan National Park
Day 11 Chitwan / drive Pokhara / transfer hotel
Day 12 Bird watching around the lake Phewa and surrounds.
Day 13 Birdwatching around lake Begnes and surrounds
Day 14 Pokhara drive / Nayapul trek Ghandruk Study centre
Day 14 Ghandruk Study Centre
Day 15 Ghandruk Study Centre
Day 16 Ghandruk / Pokhara
Day 17 Pokhara fly Kathmandu/
Day 18 Kathmandu at leisure
Day 19 Transfer to airport for your onward destination

For price and further information, please e-mail to us.

These itineraries run from the beginning of October through to May each year. The price is based on a minimum of four people travelling. We offer a 10% discount on the quoted price for groups of 6 and above. The group will be accompanied by an English speaking expert on the birds of Nepal. The tour is based on sunrise to sunset days throughout. People are requested to bring their own optics and other equipment with them from their country of origin.

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