North East India is one of the biologically richest regions in the world since it serves as the geographical “gateway” for much of India’s flora and fauna. The northeastern region of India has the highest floristic variety and, as a result, has a wealth of priceless genetic resources. Two major birding areas in the northeast are Mishmi Hills and Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary. These two areas are like Mecca for Birders. The Northeast is a haven for birders. Currently, there are 1314 species of birds in India, with the northeast supporting some of the highest avian diversity in the Orient, with about 850 species.
The quantity and variety of birds in the area are greatly influenced by the variety of habitats found there due to its extensive altitudinal variation. The Eastern Himalayas and the Assam lowlands have been designated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as Endemism Bird Areas. Only this area is home to 24 species with restricted ranges worldwide. The lowland and montane damp to wet tropical evergreen woods in this area are thought to mark the northernmost boundary of authentic tropical rainforests on earth. In North-East India, WWF has selected the following priority ecoregions: Eastern Himalayan Broadleaved Forests, Eastern Himalayan Sub-alpine Coniferous Forests, and India-Myanmar Pine Forests are among the forest types in the Brahmaputra Valley that are semi-evergreen.
With an area of almost 2,62,380 square kilometres, because of the floristic composition, the naturalness of the flora and the regional climate, Northeast India has been classified into two biogeographic zones: Eastern Himalaya and North East India(Rodgers and Panwar, 1988). Because of the high level of precipitation brought on by the direct confrontation of monsoon-laid wind moving from the Bay of Bengal by sharply rising hills, the Eastern Himalaya, which includes Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, is more music. The most significant of the North East India biogeographic zone’s eight states—Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura—is the transition zone between the Indian, Indo-Malayan, and Indo-Chinese biogeographic regions, as well as the point where the Himalayan Mountains meet those of Peninsular India.
Let me tell you about some of the Key Birding areas in North East India state-wise.
Key Birding Areas in Assam
A variety of bird species call Assam home because of its lush surroundings, lovely valleys, and abundance of wetlands and crystal-clear rivers. If you’ve grown to appreciate watching birds, Assam provides a wonderful opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. Birds are almost everywhere, however, there are some protected areas and some natural habitats where you get to see the maximum species of birds. Let me take you through some of the areas where you must visit for Bird Watching in Assam.
1. Guwahati: Assam’s capital and the communication centre for the Northeastern Hill States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura are both located in Guwahati. In western Assam, on the south bank of the massive Brahmaputra River, sits the city of Guwahati, which is well-served by all modes of transportation. With the mighty and picturesque Brahmaputra, river islands (like Umananda), beaches, beach-islands (balicapori), thick tropical green cover, natural sweetwater lakes, hills with thick forests, and with a beautiful and lively native population, Guwahati is also one of the most beautiful cities in South Asia.
The finest site to begin your birding tour in North East India is Guwahati. Ferruginous Pochard, Grey-headed Lapwing, Greater and Lesser Adjutant, Watercock, Common Bittern, Fulvous Whistling duck, Greater Painted Snipe, Solitary Snipe, Bengal Bushlark, Ashy wood swallow, Striated Grassbird, Blue throat, Rosy, Richard’s and Blyth’s Pipits, Black-faced Bunting, Brahminy Kite, Palla’s Fish Eagle, White-backed and Long-billed Vultures, Himalayan Griffons, Marsh and Pied Harriers, Spotted Steppe, Booted and Black eagles, Rufous-vented Prinia, Swamp Prinia and many more.
2. Kaziranga National Park: Kaziranga is one of the most diverse National Park in Northeast India with the maximum number of One-horned rhinoceros in the world. Along with the diversity in mammals, this place is also known for its diversity in Avifauna. It can also be stated that Kaziranga National Park would have been among the best birding destinations in the world if it weren’t so well renowned for its One Horned Rhinoceros. More than 500 different bird species can be found in Kaziranga National Park alone. Some of the key bid species you find here in Kaziranga are like Great Hornbill, Kalij Pheasants, Lesser Yellow Nape, Lesser-white Fronted Goose, Bear’s Pochard and Ferruginous, Blue-naped Pitta, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-breasted Parrotbill and many more.
3. Hoolongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary: The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, is located in the Jorhat region of Assam and is arguably the greatest place to witness India’s sole ape, the Hoolock Gibbon. This little sanctuary is a must-visit for every birder visiting the surrounding Kaziranga National Park because it is home to at least 230 species of birds. The diverse birdlife in this area includes some North-east exotic species like the Collard Treepie, Green-tailed and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Sultan Tit, Rufous-bellied and Large Niltava’s, Long-tailed Sibia, Mountain Tailorbird, Abbot’s and Marsh Babblers, Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, Speckled and White-browed Piculet, Ashy wood pegion and many more.
4. Manas National Park: The Royal Manas Park in Bhutan continues as the Manas National Park in Assam’s Barpeta district. It is one of the most significant forest reserves in North-East India and is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The park is named after the Manas River, one of the major tributaries of the enormous Brahmaputra River, which flows through the centre of the national park. Manas is one of India’s most abundant national parks, home to 60 different kinds of mammals and about 400 different bird species. It has the world’s largest population of the critically endangered Bengal florican. The list of other significant bird species also includes great hornbills, jungle fowls, bulbuls, brahminy ducks, kalij pheasants, egrets, pelicans, fishing eagles, crested serpent-eagles, falcons, scarlet minivets, bee-eaters, magpie robins, pied hornbills, grey hornbills, mergansers and many more.
5. Nameri National Park: Nameri National Park, which is home to more than 370 species of birds and is situated in the Eastern Himalayan foothills, is a popular site for bird watchers. In addition to 11 vulnerable species and biome species, including the Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea), Black-backed Forktail (Enicurus immaculatus), and the Crow-billed Drongo (Dicrurus annectans), the most secure population of White-winged Duck is located here . The Himalayan Flameblack (Dinopium shorii), Grey Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum), Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush ( pectoralis), Rufous-necked Laughing thrush (G. ruficollis), and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush (Garrulax moniliger) are some other species of birds we find in the region.
6. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park: A brief look at the map of Assam reveals the distinctive topography of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (DSNP). The national park rises like an island and is surrounded by the rivers Brahmaputra, Dibru, and Lohit. Since the channel of these rivers is continually changing, a significant amount of silt is deposited and little chaporis, or river islands, are created everywhere throughout the national park. Additionally, there are numerous perennial beels, or freshwater ponds, on the park’s main island. Together, they form a vital component of the Brahmaputra floodplains. A variety of birds can find refuge in this mosaic of wetlands, swamp woodlands, and dry and wet grasslands. Numerous species are known from here, including the threatened white-winged duck (Cairina scutulata), Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis), and swamp grass babbler (Laticilla cinerascens).
7. Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary: The last remaining lowland tropical rainforests in the nation cover 200 sq km in Assam’s Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and the neighbouring Jeypore Reserve Forest. One of India’s best-kept secrets is the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located at the foothills of the Patkai Hill Ranges, next to Namdapha National Park and on the border with Myanmar. Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is home to around 330 species of birds some of the key species of birds found in the Wildlife Sanctuary are the Slender-billed vulture, White-winged Duck, Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Spotted Eagle, Gray Peacock-Pheasant, Rufous-necked hornbill, Pale-capped Pigeon, brown hornbill, etc.
Key Birding Areas in Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is a prime location for birding since it is a hub for ecological diversity. Arunachal Pradesh in the northeastern corner of India is a biodiversity refuge with an irresistible pull for any nature lover looking to do the best birding tours in India due to its proximity to the Himalayas and abundance of natural resources. Arunachal Pradesh is blessed with a vast area of naturally occurring greenery, including subalpine forests, pine forests, temperate woods, and tropical forests. In this hilly state, up to ten rivers slash through the mountains to form five river valleys. Arunachal Pradesh’s bird diversity is especially astounding, and these woods and rivers support an incredible variety of flora and fauna.
Arunachal Pradesh is the perfect place to go birding in the Himalayas because it is home to around 800 of the about 1314 bird species found throughout India. Let me take you through some of the Important Birding Areas in Arunachal Pradesh.
1. Namdapha Tiger Reserve: The Namdapha National Park, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. It is regarded as one of India’s most biodiverse regions. About 425 bird species have been identified in the Namdapha National Park’s avifauna, and there are undoubtedly many more at the higher elevations. The area has been home to five different species of hornbills. Some of the key species of birds we find here rae the Rufous-throated Hill-partridge, White-cheeked Hill-partridge Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Green Cochoa, Himalayan Wood-owl, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ruddy Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, White-tailed Fish Eagle, Purple Cochoa, Eurasian Hobby, Pied Falconet, White-winged Wood Duck, Amur Falcon, and many more.
2. Eagles Nest and Sessa Wildlife Sanctuary: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Sessa Orchid Sanctuary are located in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, in Northeast India. These both region is adjoining to each other. Eaglenest is also called as a Macca for the birdwatcher. The Red Eagle Division of the Indian Army, which had a base there in the 1950s, served as the inspiration for the name of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary zone still boasts the presence of the Indian Army and includes 218 sq km of forested land with a diverse array of wildlife. Nearly 500 species have been found in this forest, and it is well known for the Bugun Liocichla, which Ramana Athreya declared to be a new species to science in 2006 and which helped put Eaglenest on the map of the world’s birding destinations.
The Bugun Liocichla is one of the key species that can be seen here more easily than almost anywhere else, along with Blyth’s and Temminck’s Tragopans, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Long-billed Wren-Babbler, Himalayan Cutia, Fire-tailed Myzornis, and Beautiful Nuthatch. These gems are joined by targets like the Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, more than 20 species of warblers like the Broad-billed and White-spectacled, Coral-billed and Slender Scimitar-billed Babblers, ten laughingthrushes like the Grey-sided, Blue-winged, Scaly, Bhutan, and Spotted, and Hoary-throated Barwing, Red-faced Liocichla and Beautiful Sibia, several fulvettas including Golden-breasted and Manipur, six species of parrotbills, yuhinas, both Purple and Green Cochoas, Golden Bush Robin, Blue-fronted Robin, and many flycatchers, sunbirds, grosbeaks, bullfinches and rosefinches.
3. Mishmi Hills (Dibang and Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary): The Mishmi Hills are situated in northeastern Arunachal Pradesh, near the very northeasternmost point of India. It is another paradise for birdwatchers in Northeast India. The Great Himalayan Mountain Range continues southward into the hills. According to reports, this is the Himalayan region’s biogeographically richest province. It is regarded as one of the world’s mega biodiversity hotspots. Forests, which are homes to a variety of plants and animals, have grown as a result of the topographical and climatic diversity. The diversity is evidenced by the over 500 bird species that have been recorded from this area.
The Rusty-throated Wren-Babbler, also known as the Mishmi Wren-Babbler, is an endangered species native to the Mishmi highlands that was previously only known from a specimen that Salim Ali and S.D. Ripley obtained using a mist net in 1947. About 680 different bird species exist. Some of the key species of birds in Mishmi Hills are Sclater’s Monal, Blyth’s and Temmink’s Tragopan, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Rufous-necked Hornbill, pale-capped Pigeon, Ward’s Trogon, dark-sided Thrush, Green and Purple Cochoa, Rusty-bellied and Gould’s Shortwing, Beautiful Nuthatch, Rusty-throated and Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, at least four Parrotbill species, Black-headed Greenfinch, Scarlet Finch, Grey-headed Bullfinch and many more.
4. Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary: Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary also called as Pakhui, has a mountainous and undulating topography and is located in the foothills of the Himalaya. Due to dense foliage, rocky terrain, and a lack of trails or paths, a sizable amount of the Sanctuary’s northern and central regions are inaccessible. On the lower plains and foothills, there are areas of tropical evergreen and subtropical broadleaf forests, while higher up on the hillsides, there are tropical semi-evergreen forests. Bamboo, cane brakes, and palms are in abundant growth in wet places near streams. Along the bigger permanent streams, there are patches of tall grassland and shingle beds, which give place to lowland damp forests.
There are around 300 species of birds in the area, including the Jerdon’s baza, pied falconet, white-cheeked hill-partridge, grey peacock-pheasant, elwe’s crake, ibisbill, emerald cuckoo, red-headed trogon, green-pigeon species, forest eagle-owl, collared and long-tailed broadbills, blue-naped pitta, lesser shortwing, white-browed shortwing, daurian redstart, leschenault’s forktail, lesser necklaced laughing-thrush, silver-eared leiothrix, white-bellied yuhina, yellow-bellied flycatcher-warbler, sultan tit, ruby-cheeked sunbird, maroon oriole and the crow-billed drongo.
Key Birding areas in Meghalaya
Meghalaya literally translates from Sanskrit as “abode of clouds.” The wettest region in the planet is in the state of Meghalaya. The state has forests covering 70% of it. In terms of the amount of land covered by forests, Meghalaya ranks as the seventh-largest state in India. It is incredibly biodiverse and home to rare orchid species and medicinal plants.
Despite its tiny size, Meghalaya features a diverse bird population. The most sacred grove in North East India is Law-Lygndoh in Mawphlang. Other significant birding locations are Nokrek National Park, Cherrpunjee, and Mawsynram, there are in total nine Important birding areas in Meghalaya. Some of the bird species you find in these regions are Crested Finchbills, Long-tailed & Tawny-breasted Wren-Babblers, Grey Sibia, Dark Rumped Swifts, and others. Oriental White-backed Vulture and Slender-billed Vulture are two critically endangered species, and Lesser Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Red-headed Vulture, White-cheeked Hill-Partridge, Blyth’s Kingfisher, and Great Pied Hornbill are near threatened species. Let me provide you with the brief description of the two of the Key Birding Areas in Meghalaya below:
1. Upper Shillong and Kashi Hills: In the East Khasi Hills district, near to Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, lie the Upper Shillong Protected Forest and its neighbouring Riat Laban Reserve Forest and Laitkor Protected Forest. Over a century has passed since these woodlands were first protected and managed. The area is adjoining to Kashi hills. A bird that deserves notice is the Khasi Hills Swift (also known as the Dark-rumped Swift), which is only known to breed in the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya and the Blue Mountains in Mizoram.
This region offers a diverse mix of birds in addition to indigenous and common species because of its proximity to the Malayan Fauna. Some of the species of birds we find here are Blyth’s Kingfisher, Golden-throated Barbet, Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike, Rufous-bellied Bulbul, Black Bulbul, Golden Bush-Robin, Aberrant Bush-Warbler, Orange-barred Leaf-Warbler, Grey-faced Leaf-Warbler, Orange-gorgeted Flycatcher, Green-backed Tit, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Short-billed Minivet, Crested Finchbill, Grey-winged Blackbird, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Blue-winged Minla, Striated Yuhina, Grey-headed Flycatcher-Warbler, Black-spotted Yellow Tit, Streaked Spiderhunter and many more.
2. Cherrapunji: Just around 50 km away from Shilong city, Cherrapunji, the wettest place on the earth is located. This place is another paradise for birdwatchers. Along with birding to have an experience in being in the region of tropical rainforest is just amazing. There are more than 200 species of birds in the region one can expect to see Emerald Doves, Oriental Turtle dove, Black-and-Crested Serpent Eagles, Great, Golden-Throated, and Blue-Throated Barbets, the Red-Headed Trogon, Piculet, White-browed Long-tailed shrikes, Black-naped orioles, the bay woodpecker, Scarlet and short-billed Minivets, Large Cuckooshrikes, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrikes, black bulbuls, White-bowed and streak-breasted Scimitar babblers, puff-throated babblers, Blue-winged Minla, Red-billed Leiothrix, Silver-eared Mesia, Nepal Fulvetta, Orange-gorged Fly Catcher, Whiskered Yuhina, River redstarts with plumed and white caps, Green-backed tits, chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, blue whistling thrush, Russet sparrow, Oliver-backed pipit, and numerous others.
Key Birding Areas in Manipur
One of the Seven Sister States and one of the eight states that make up Northeast India is Manipur. The state is bordered by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, Assam to the west, and the eastern and southern borders of Myanmar. Manipur falls in the Indo-Burma global biodiversity hotspot and Eastern Himalayan Endemic Bird Area. As per the recent record Manipur has around 650 species of birds in the state out of which 55 species are conservation concerns.
There are several species that stand out as being particularly noteworthy in the area, including the Golden Babbler, Grey Sibia, Slaty-backed Forktail, Crested Finchbill, Striated Bulbul, Flavescent Bulbul, Ashy Bulbul, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Grey-hooded Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, White-browed Laughingthrush, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Golden-throated Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker etc.
In Manipur there are nine Important Birding areas which are, Ango or Anko Hills, Bunning Wildlife Sanctuary, Dzuku Valley, Jiri-Makku Wildlife Sanctuary, Kailum Wildlife Sanctuary, Loktak Lake, Shiroy Cummunity Forest, Yangoupokpi Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary and Zeilad Lake Sanctuary.
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world, and the Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in North-Eastern India and a Ramsar site. Simply said, Ramsar sites are Important Bird Areas where, in addition to the presence of globally threatened species, more than 20,000 migratory water birds gather annually. Our understanding of the other IBAs and their species is inadequate, despite the fact that Loktak Lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park have distinct habitats and are home to the endemic and internationally threatened cervid Cervus eldi eldi, locally known as the Sangai.
Key Birding Areas in Nagaland
Nagaland state is located in extreme Northeast India. It shares borders with Manipur to the south, Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Burma to the east, and the state of Assam to the west. Tropical wet evergreen, tropical moist deciduous, montane, wet climate, and sub-tropical pine forests make up the forest type. Its area has a forest cover covering 52% of it. In Nagaland, there are records of around 500 different bird species. Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Brown Hornbill, White-bellied Heron, Blyth’s Tragopan, Manipur Bush Quail, Wood Snipe, Dark-rumped Swift, Mountain Bamboo-Partridge, Eurasian Woodcock, Blue-naped Pitta, and other bird species have been spotted in the state. There are numerous other birds to watch for, including the 11 Warblers, Bulbuls, Yuhinas, Babblers, Naga Wren-babblers, Pygmy Wren-babblers, Streak-breasted & Spot-breasted Scimitar Babblers, 5 species of Laughing thrushes, Red-faced Liochichlas, Barwings, Fulvettas, Grey Sibias, Minla’ Sunbird’s, Thrushes and many more to look for.
Every places in Nagalnd hold the good number of birds, count from the village area to the outskirt of the city. There are 10 places in Nagaland which is sactioned as a Important Birding Areas and they are, i) Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary and Saramati area, ii) Intanki National Park, iii) Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary, iv) Mount Paona, v) Mount Zanibu, vi) Mount Ziphu, vii) Pfutsero Chizami, viii) Pulie Badze Wildlife Sanctuary, ix) Satoi Range and x) Doyang Reservoir and Pangti Forest.
Key Birding Areas in Mizoram
In North Eastern India, Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States. Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Bangladesh, and the Chin State state of Burma are its neighbours on land. It also has land borders with Bangladesh. The region of Mizoram is home to a diverse range of tropical plants and animals, including many different species of trees. In Mizo, “country of the highlanders” is the literal translation of the word Mizoram. The River Kaladan, which is also referred to as Chhimtuipui Lui in the native Mizo language, is the largest river in Mizoram. The Blue Mountain, which is 2210 metres high, is Mizoram’s tallest mountain. All year round, it has a moderate climate thanks to its tropical position and high altitude.
There are 07 places in Mizoram which are sanctioned as the Important Birding areas and are some of the best places to see birds in Northeast India. The list of IBAs are i) Blue Mountain National Park, ii) Dampa Tiger Reserve, iii) Lengteng Wild Life Sanctuary, iv) Murlen National Park, v) Ngenpui Wildlife Sanctuary, vi) Palak Lake and vii) Thorangtlang Wildlife Sanctuary.
There are around 670 species of birds found in Mizoram out of which 32 species are globally threatened. Some of species of birds you can find in the region are, Kalij Pheasants, Mountain Bamboo Paartridge, Barred Button Quail, Common Kestrel, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Rufous bellied Eagle, Black Baza, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Asian Barred Owlet, Green billed Malkoha, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Asian Emrald Cuckoo, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Greater and Lesser Yellow Nape, Fork-tailed Swift, Forest Wagtail, Flavescent Bulbul, Black bulbul, Long Tailed broadbill, Lesser Raxket Tailed Drongo and many more.
Key Birding areas of Tripura
Another state in North-East India, Tripura covers 4,036 square miles (10,453 km2) of land. Bangladesh borders Tripura to the north, south, and west. To the east are the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram. The state has a very rich biodiversity and is situated in the biogeographic zone 9B-North-East Hills. the indigenous plants and animals of the Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese subregions. There are 379 tree species, 320 shrub species, 581 plant species, 165 climbers, 16 shrubs that climb, 35 ferns, and 45 epiphytes. Sipahijola, Gumti, Rowa, and Trishna wildlife sanctuaries are among the state’s wildlife reserves. Rajbari National Park and Clouded Leopard National Park are two of the national parks in the state. Total size of these protected areas is 566.93 km2 (218.89 sq mi). Gumti is a significant bird area in the region. Numerous migrating waterfowl flock to Gumti and Rudrasagar lakes in the winter.
The three of important birding areas (IBAs) of Tripura are Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary, Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary and Rudrasagar Lake.
There are around 550 species of birds found in the entire state of Tripura. Some of the key species of bird you find in the region are, fist the Green Imperial Pigeon, the state bird of Tripura and other birds are Eurasian Teal, Large Tailied Nightjar, Crested Treeswift, Greater Coucal, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Pale Capped Pigeon, Orange breasted Green Pigeon, Slaty breasted Rail, Eurasian Coot, Great Crested Grebe, River Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Oriental Pratincole, Yellow vented Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler, Rufuscent Prinia, Dark-necked Tailor bird and many more.
Apart from 07 states of far east Sikkim also falls under Northeast India Region.
Key Birding Areas of Sikkim
Sikkim is a part of the Eastern Himalayan region along with Arunachal Pradesh. It is a rocky region with steep mountains. between the Indian North Bengal Darjeeling Kalimpong, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. This little area is about 150 km deep and 90 km broad. The climate fluctuates between the valleys’ tropical heat and the snowy regions’ alpine cold. It is the Himalayan region with the highest humidity, receiving 348 cm of rain on average. The dry months are November through March. The vegetation can be classified into four different altitudinal zones: tropical, subtropical, temperate, and alpine. Sikkim with a bird count of around 700 species is a paradise for birdwatchers. Being a small state, the region has 11 areas which have been sanctioned as Important Birding Areas, i) Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, ii) Dombang Valley-Lachung Tsunthang, iii) Kangchendzonga, iv) Kyongnosla Alpine, v) Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, vi) Lhonak Valley, vii) Lowland Forests of South Sikkim, viii) Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, ix) Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, x) Tso Lhamo Lake and xi) Yumthang-Shingba Rhododendron Wildlife Sanctuary. Let me brief you about some of the best places to visit Sikkim for birdwatching.
1. Meenam Wildlife Sanctuary: At Kewzing, which is located at an elevation of 1700 metres above sea level and has the tallest peak in the area, Maenam (3500 metres), 200 bird species are recorded in the region. The Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan Satyra), one of the endangered species of Pheasants found in the Eastern Himalayas, is well known for inhabiting the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. Fire-tailed Myzornis is another notable bird species to search for. Only in our own woodland, were three birds have been residing there for years, is it possible to shoot a Brown Wood Owl in broad daylight. The Great Sultan Tit, Puff-throated Babbler, and Streaked Spiderhunter are three species of birds that live in the lower valleys of Tashiding.
2. Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary: The Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in West Sikkim is another popular location for birdwatching excursions. There, you can see large flocks of rosefinches, including Common Rosefinches, Dark-breasted Rosefinches, White-Browed Rosefinches, and even Beautiful Rosefinches, in the month of September. The spectacular Spotted Laughingthrush, a few Parrotbill species, Small Beautiful Fire-capped Tit, species of Shortwings like White-Browed and Lesser Shortwings, Kalij Pheasants, and Satyr Tragopan are more birds to keep an eye out for in this sanctuary.
3. Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary: in th East Sikkim, Fambong Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places for birdwatching. The majority of the birds at this location are common, but they are nevertheless worth spotting for first-time birders in this region of the world. Rufous-capped Babbler, Red-headed Laughingthrush, Brownish-flanked Bush warbler, Slaty-bellied Tesia, and other species are some to watch out for in this area. Numerous species of birds can be found in Fambonglho, including the Rufous-Throated Wren Babbler, Indian Blue Robin, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Blue-fronted Robin, Grey-bellied Tesia, and Chestnut-Headed Tesia.
FAQs on North-East India Birding
- Where Do I start the birding tour in Northeast India?
You can start the tour from three different airports in the Northeast, Bagdogra to start birding from Sikkim, Guwahati, to start birding from Assam and Dibrugarh to start birding from East Assam or Arunachal Pradesh.
- How many days is enough for birding in the Northeast?
It depends on how many places you are exploring. If it is just Eaglenest or Mishmi hills minimum of 06 days is recommended.
- Which is the best month to visit Northeast India for Birding?
Starting from February to May is the best time to visit Northeast India for Birding.
- Is the birding in the Northeast expensive?
Yes, around 20-30 per cent is expensive, because of the remoteness of the birding destinations.