Bird Watching in Nepal
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 Within 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 fork tail.
The Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve Situated 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 As 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 Is 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 Tick ell'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 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
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