Nepal is blessed with a vast array of exceptionally rich bird life with total of over 848 species recorded (more the 500 out of them are found in the wetlands and open fields inside the Kathmandu valley). 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.
Major Bird watching Places:
Bird Watching in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve can claim its distinct identity for one good reason; the vast expanse of the Koshi River .
Today, with the wild buffalo preserved, the reserve has also won its niche as a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Not only does the water look beautiful, but it also has created floodplains and wetlands thus inviting many species of bird from far off places.
The other side of the river is hard to gauge at many places. Once on your raft, you will definitely enjoy the tranquility of the reserve. As the mild current takes your raft southward, you will witness the feathered creatures of all sorts; around 439 of different species have been recorded so far.
Most of the time in the riverbanks, you will see 20 species of ducks, herons, storks, egrets, it is, among others; either searching for their food or preening of basking.
The wetlands in the reserve beckon all sorts of bird species. These birds fly all the way from Siberian to migrate during winter. The fact that many birds that arrive here are nowhere else seen Nepal makes this reserve birdwatchers’ paradise in its true sense.
After your rafting on the Koshi River is over, disembark the raft and you reach an observation point. That is from where you will see the far stretching river and the wetlands full of innumerable species of birds.
Dusk and dawn are the best times when you spot varieties of birds and animals along the river and the wetlands in the reserve.
Bird Watching in Chitwan National Park:
The chirping and preening winter birds including waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, bar-headed geese, cormorants, are what can be seen as visitors cross the river to reach the parkland. This is also the place where migratory birds arrive from as far as Siberia during winter.
Their resident cousins in he park jungle are several species of woodpeckers, hornbills, peacocks, peahens, floricans, and redheaded trogons, among others. The forest goes more alive during summer when migrants including paradise flycatcher, the Indian pitta and parakeets are abundantly found. No doubt, this is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Bird Watching in Bardiya National Park:
Located in Nepal ‘s western palin lands (known as Terai), east of Karnali River the park covers an area of 968 square kilometers.
With more than 70 per cent of the park covered by sal forest and a mixture of grassland and savannah forests, the park hosts 30 different mammals, over 360 species of birds and varieties of reptiles and aquatic animals.
The endangered birds are Bengal florican, lesser florican, Silver-eared mesia and Sarus crane.
Since the park is regarded as the bird-watchers’ paradise, it would be wise to carry binoculars. February onwards, visitors may wear light clothes while before that warm clothes should be carried since the plain lands during winters are blanketed with cold dew.
Bird Watching in Shivapuri Watershed:
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.
Bird Watching in Kathmandu Valley
Out of 873 species available in Nepal, 500 different species are available on only in Kathmadnu valley and its surroundings. The surrounding hills offer a varied ecology ranging from primary and secondary forests to rhododendrons, 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 Kathmandu valley has four main bird watching areas. One can start on the banks of the Bagmati and Manohara Rivers . The Chovar gorge is particularly recommended as an area for birds as its isolation from human habitation has encouraged their presence. 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.
Bird Watching in Phulchowki Hill:
The most popular bird watching spot is the Phulchoki hill, the highest peak on the Valley rim situated 20 km southeast of Kathmandu, with some 265 species recorded to date. The birds seen here included babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, minuets, 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.
Bird Watching in Pokhara Valley
In Pokhara, the two well known lakes Phewa Tal and Begnas Tal and the surrounding areas are highly recommended. Of particular interest are the areas with minimum disturbances, away from human inhabitation the forests around the south shore of Phewa lake. Look out in the fields and pools especially in the winter for Egrets, Herons, Pipits, and Buntings etc. other birds are occurring are Gulls, Terns, Ducks, and Falcons etc.