Bird Watching in Nepal
With more than 850 species of birds, Nepal is a veritable paradise for birdwatchers. A diverse topography and climate has resulted in a variety of habitats within the country, a home to over 8% of the total bird population. In the deep jungles of the Terai and the Kosi Tappu barrage, among the thick rhododendron and Oak forest of the middle hills and the windswept plateaus of the Himalayas you will always be greeted with a birdsong: the chirps, the cheeps, the twitters and the hoots. Grab your binoculars and head for the hills!
In Kathmandu Valley
The most popular bird watching spot is the Phulchoki hill, situated 20 km south- east of Kathmandu, with some 265 species recorded to date. Over here you can sight the babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, minivets, woodpeckers, eagles and many migrant birds. Godavari, lying 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 wetlands and open fields inside the valley make up a diverse habitat for many species of birds. 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. Taudaha, a lake on the way to Dakshinkali,south of Kathmandu, also attracts flocks of migrant birds.
The Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve situated 11km to the north of Kathmandu, is another very good location. Nagarjun Royal Forest situated 5 km from Kathmandu on the way to Kakani from Balaju is also renowned for its blue magpies, kalij pheasants, Bonelli’s eagles, great Himalayan barbets, Forktails, Redstarts and Kingfishers. Gokarna forest, 7 km to the northeast of Kathmandu, boasts of the speckled mountain thrush, orange-headed ground-thrush, brown wood owl and the white-bellied yuhina among other colorful varieties.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is renowned for being one of the best locations for birding. The smallest (175 sq km) and easternmost reserve in Nepal, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies north-east of the convergence of the Sapt Koshi and Trijuga Khola rivers. During monsoon (May to September) the flow of the river becomes torrential and covers most of the floodplain, while during the dry season, 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. See Swamp Francolins, White Ibis, Storks, Lesser Coucal, Striated Marsh Warbler, Black Bellied Tern, Imperial Eagle, Pied and Marsh Harrier, Common Quail, Bengal floricans (Eupodotis Bengalensis), and many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal. .
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan is rich in wildlife. The Chitwan National Park is the ultimate destination for wildlife enthusiasts. With over 255 species of birds recorded, among them, many species of parakeets, the Blue-Throat thrush, Long-tailed Nightjar, Indian Peafowl, Great Barbet, red-billed blue magpie and Tickell’s red-breasted blue flycatcher, the park offers much for the serious birdwatchers.
Bardia National park
Bardia National park situated in the far West of Nepal is also a popular destination for bird watching. Covered by sal forest riverine and grass lands, a boat ride on the slow current of the Karnali River provides you with an opportunity to view the birds, including Ruddy Shelduck, darters, Brahminy kites, brown headed gulls, cormorants, oriental pied hornbills, , cinnaon bitterns, orioles and peacocks.
The Annapurna Conservation Area
The Annapurna Conservation Area supports a remarkable biodiversity, with 441 recorded species of birds, including the spiny babbler. 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. Crimson Horned Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant ,Cheer Pheasant ,Kalij Pheasant are some species of pheasants seen around the conservation area.
In Pokhara and Fewa Lakeside you get to see Ibisbills, Wallcreepers, Brown Dippers, Green Magpies, Lesser Raquet Tailed Drongos along walking tails in the sub tropical forest and aquatic species during a relaxing boating trip
The Kali Gandaki valley is also a major migration pathway in the autumn, when 40 species, including demoiselle cranes , can be seen around Jomsom and Tukuche. 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: Bearded Vulture and the Golden eagle.