Bhutan Bird Watching Tour

Bhutan Bird Watching Tour

Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers and ornithologists. Over 670 species of birds have been recorded and many more are yet to be discovered. Around 50 species of the known birds are winter migrants. These include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings.

The partial migrants to Bhutan include cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, warblers and flycatchers. The country harbors more than 16 species of vulnerable birds. They are the Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Gray-bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Blyth’s King Fisher, Yellow-rumped Honey Guide, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark-rumped Swift, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Gray-crowned Prinia and the Beautiful Nuthatch all of which breed in Bhutan.

Bhutan is home to many species of birds that are in danger of extinction, including the Imperial Heron, which is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world and the rare Black-Necked Crane, which breeds in Tibet and then migrates over the Himalayas to Bhutan during the winter months. The Cranes can be spotted in Phobjikha Valley in Western Bhutan, Bumthang in Central Bhutan and in Bumdeling in Eastern Bhutan. They migrate to these winter roosting sites in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March.

Itinerary at glance

DAY 1: Arrive Paro

DAY 2: Paro

DAY 3: Paro – Punakha

DAY 4: Birding in Punakha – Gasa

DAY 5: Punakha – Gangtey/Phobjikha

DAY 6: Phobjikha – Thimphu

DAY 7: Departure

Detail itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive Paro

A representative of Bokar tours will be there to receive you at the Paro airport and drive you to your hotel.

In the afternoon you will visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan, and Ta Dzong. Once a watchtower for the defense of the Paro Rinpung Dzong the Ta Dzong today is museum of natural history.

Evening, stroll along the Paro River and spot some river birds.

DAY 2: Paro

After breakfast drive to Chele la, the highest road mountain pass in the country, and later to Drugyel Dzong to the north of Paro valley.

The species found in these areas are Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Kalij Pheasant, Ibisbill, Common Sandpiper, Crested Kingfisher, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Hoopoe, Nepal House Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Spotted Nutcracker, Yellow-browed Tit, Grey-crested Tit, Rufous-fronted Tit, Black-throated Tit, Plumbeous Water Redstart,Brown Dipper, White-capped Water Redstart, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Himalayan Buzzard, etc.

DAY 3: Paro – Punakha

Today you drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s old capital, passing through some of the kingdom’s most fertile river valleys.

The first stop is at Dochu La (pass) at 3,050 meters. The snow-capped eastern Himalayan range can be seen from here on a clear day. You could also circumambulate the 108 stupas of the Druk Wangyal Chorten.

The birds found in Punakha and Wangduephodrang valleys are Himalayan Cutia, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Collared Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, White-browed Fulvetta, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Plain Mountain Finch, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, Black-throated Parrotbill, Himalayan Bluetail, White-browed Bush Robin, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Chestnut-tailed Minla (Bar-throated Siva), Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Little Bunting, White-bellied Heron, Common Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Crested Kingfisher, Grey Treepie, Spotted Nutcracker, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Slaty-backed Forktail, Spotted Forktail, Eurasian Jay, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Streaked-breasted Scimitar Babbler, etc.

DAY 4: Birding in Punakha – Gasa

In this Punakha to Gasa stretch you will sight Jungle Owlet, Asian-barred Owlet, Osprey, White-bellied Heron, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Lesser Fish Eagle, Great Cormorant, Black-throated Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, Black-throated Yuhina, Striped-throated Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Straited Yuhina, Scarlet Minivet, Long-tailed Minivet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Grey-bellied Tesia, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Small Niltava, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Great Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Asian Koel, Grey-hooded Warbler, Golden-spectacled Warbler, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Buff-barred Warbler, Yellow-bellied Fantail, White-throated Fantail, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Hoary-throated Barwing, Blue-fronted Robin, Lesser Shortwing, Himalayan Cutia, Green Shrike-babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Spotted Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Speckled Piculet, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-tailed Nuthatch, Maroon Oriole, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon.

DAY 5: Punakha – Gangtey/Phobjikha

From Punakha you will drive eastward toward Phobjikha through the black mountain region. The Phobjikha valley is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country and it serves as the nesting grounds for the endangered Black-necked Crane in winter.

The bird species found in this valley are Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Blue-capped Rock Thrush,Fire-tailed Myzornis, Great Parrotbill, Alpine Accentor, Green-tailed Sunbird, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Scaly Thrush, Tickell’s Thrush, Fire-capped Tit, Amur falcon, Ward’s Trogon, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Red-headed Bullfinch, Scarlet Finch, White-tailed Nuthatch, etc.

DAY 6: Phobjikha – Thimphu

Before driving back to Thimphu, you visit the crane observation and information centre. Drive to Pelela at 3,300m to spot the Himalayan Monal, Spotted Laughingthrush, Himalayan Griffon, Brown Parrotbill, and Great Parrotbill. Stop at Dochula for lunch. Continue drive to Thimphu. Evening stroll around Thimphu

DAY 7: DEPARTURE

Early morning you will drive to Paro Airport for your onward journey.