Trip report: Northeast India, Assam and Eaglenest (March 2011) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Josh Engel.

Northeast India has been gaining quickly in popularity as a birding destination in recent years. With elevations ranging from 100m along the Brahmaputra River to high Himalayan peaks, this region harbors a diversity of birds unrivaled anywhere else in Asia. Our tour covers elevations ranging from the lowlands of Nameri National Park to Sela Pass at 4200m, though the real focal point of the tour is the area in between, the remote forests of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. The tour extension to Kaziranga National Park not only adds over 100 additional species of birds, including a wide variety of waterbirds, raptors, and grassland rarities, but gives the opportunity to visit Asia’s best mammal-viewing park, with its abundance of elephants, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, and deer. (See separate trip report for the Kaziranga extension.) We recorded over 400 species between the main tour and the extension, plus an excellent diversity of mammals. Bird highlights included White-winged Wood Duck, Pied Falconet, Oriental Hobby eating its avian breakfast, Ibisbill, Long-billed Plover, Black-tailed Crake, six owls seen, Slender-billed and Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Blackish-breasted Babbler, Wing-barred and Rufous-breasted Wren-Babblers, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Green Cochoa, spectacular views of Beautiful Nuthatch, male Blyth’s Tragopan, and a Rufous-breasted Partridge feeding calmly on the track in front of our vehicle. We were also lucky enough to see a wild elephant cooling itself in the Jia Bhareli River and to scope a Himalayan palm civet on a night drive in Eaglenest.

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