Bhutan
Birding the Land of the Thunder Dragon
28 March-17 April 2008

Kaziranga (India) Extension
17-22 April 2008

Guides: Christian Boix and Josh Engel with Norbu
A Tropical Birding Custom Tour

All photos taken on this tour by the guides
and participant Ian Fulton.

         Birding the Shemgang Road

INTRODUCTION

Bhutan, a country steeped in tradition but moving towards modernization, has the highest percentage of remaining forest cover of any country on earth.  Access to this prime birding area, the montane forest of the eastern Himalayas, has long been difficult, but birders have begun taking advantage of Bhutan opening its doors to tourists.  This provides access to a wide variety of rare and little-known birds, many of which we saw on this year's tour, including Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Ward's Trogon, Beautiful Nuthatch, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler, Dark-rumped Swift, Rufous-necked Hornbill and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide.  The birding was truly exceptional.  There always seemed to be something to look at, and even when there wasn't, there was the sense that anything was just about to pop up.  With so much intact forest, mammals abound.  We had numerous sightings of the beautiful Yellow-throated Marten, but the undoubted mammal highlight was having prolonged views of a mother and cub Himalayan black bear feeding on a hillside opposite where we stood.  

Despite the incredible prevalence of birds and mammals, we managed to fit in some great cultural activities, visiting several of Bhutan's impressive and imposing dzongs, as well as monasteries, textile factories and markets.  As if that weren't enough, we got to eat delicious Bhutanese food every day; the camping crew often bringing it to us right while we were birding in the forest.  Bhutan is a remarkable country--the world's newest democracy, no less--but with modernization gaining traction, it is best to visit soon!

Christian continued on to Kaziranga National Park in India, home to a very healthy large mammal population and some excellent birding.  Besides some great birds like Bengal Florican, Greater Adjutant, Swamp Francolin, Barred Buttonquail, Red-headed and Slender-billed Vultures, Grey-headed and Pallas' Fish-Eagle, Brown Fish Owl and Spotted Owlet, Blue-naped Pitta, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Finn's Weaver, etc. Mammal sightings were plentiful, with daily sigtings of Indian One-horned Rhino, Asian Elephant, and even a brief Tiger sighting, and Hoolocks Gibbon being a definite highlight.

In essence, the Bhutan part of the tour yielded 348 species seen (plus 7 heard) and 17 mammals (not including unidentified bats), while the Kaziranga extension added 102 new birds and 10 additional mammals.  This makes the prospect of a combined Bhutan and Kaziranga NP extension, to yield ca.450 species in 24 days....Superb!!

Punkha Dzong (Christian Boix)
The Punakha Dzong is located at the confluence of two rivers. (Christian Boix)
          Rufous-necked Hornbill (Josh Engel)
A pair of Rufous-necked Horbills, a rare species that thrives in Bhutan's extensive forests. (Josh Engel)


DAILY LOG


March 28, Day 1: Arrival in Paro.

The flights into Delhi lined up beautifully and by noon most of the group had gathered in Delhi from the UK, Scotland and South Africa whilst others had made their way into the kingdom via Bangkok.

At the Delhi airport hall we compared runway sightings gathered during the transfer between domestic and international terminals.  Everyone has managed to clock Red-wattled Lapwing, Eurasian Collared Dove, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Common Myna and Pied Bushchat.  Whilst checking in for our Bhutan-bound flight we enjoyed the peculiar sense of humour of the Druk Air's ground personnel, with a manager adamant that no flight was scheduled for today, and a checking staff determined there was one and to book us on board.  The "laissez faire" looks of our e-tickets did not instill much confidence on us as they carried this weird header titled DYNAMIC BALLOON HELP....but then when we looked around to search for peace of mind....a similar sense of helplessness reigned at the next door booth of Buddha Air and Cosmic Air. Somehow, it all sorted itself out and before we knew it we were all seated and headed for Paro via Nepal. Everest was well tucked in the clouds and did not spare us a view...but no one missed the flying dzongs and chortens streaming past our windows as we merrily stooped our way into the narrow Paro valley, to finally yank up the nose before touchdown and doing something that felt like a stall and drop landing in the impressive Paro Airport.  BOY did it feel great to be alive!!

Soon enough we were through with custom formalities and meeting our local aide Norbu. A slight drizzle and fading light was not enough to put off a lifer-hungry mob to head for the nearest possible site with a chance to sight Ibisbill...and before we knew it we were birding the Paro Chhu (river) bagging on the way Common Merganser, Red-billed Chough, Hodgson´s and Plumbeous Redstarts, massive flocks of Plain Mountain Finch, River Lapwing, Large-billed Crow, Russet Sparrow and exquisite looking White Wagtails (ssp. alboides).

We scanned downstream a likely stretch of river, inspecting backwaters for Solitary Snipe and other waders...but the clouds, drizzle and fading light were dampening our hopes...when suddenly ...flying upstream two Ibisbills paddled their way into a chilly breeze and landed on a  rocky stream bed opposite ours. The excitement was palpable as we approached and planted our scopes and eventually gorged ourselves in point blank exquisite views of this great looking, much longed and dreamt.....highly desirable specialty.  Tom and Wendy who had arrived early and birded the vicinity of the Paro Dzong came across a Kalij Pheasant, a Northern Harrier, a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Rusty-flanked Treecreeper.

With a broad smile across our souls we gathered with the rest of the group at the Gangtey Palace our royal base to explore Chele La and the Paro Valley the following mornings.  The Palace now run by the current King´s First cousin was being managed by his beautiful daughter and charming wife.  The rooms were cozy, en suite, comfortable and decorated with traditional cloths and drapes, rugs and cushions.  The attention to detail throughout was exquisite, very Zen-like and it took a while to assimilate the richness in detail that goes into traditional Bhutanese building.  The night views over the floodlit Paro Dzong were mesmerizing and the food...DELICIOUS..contrary to many remarks from other travelers that Bhutan only knows how to cook chili.

March 29, Day 2: Chele La

Since the main targets of today were three pheasants we scheduled an early start.  By the time the first sun rays tinged the snowcapped mountains around is into a kaleidoscope of pinks, we were on site and ready to track down Kalij Pheasant. As it happens we found it effortlessly, just feeding next to the road...and several times throughout the morning, nearly always in groups of 3-4 and ended the day with an impressive tally of Kalij Pheasants (western race) of 17 individuals.  Common as they may have been we enjoyed every single one of them and their bewitching indigo hues.  Further on we lucked upon our first covey of Blood Pheasants, two females and one male, which we enjoyed at large as they scurried on crisp white snow showing off every colour they done. A sense of glee impregnated the group as the second pheasant was bagged.  Finally, whilst snaking our way towards the summit of Chele La our first of eight Himalayan Monals appeared...feeding on the side of the road peacefully yet working its way into some scrub.  For a few mega-entertaining seconds we watched this iridescent beacon in disbelief, trying to recall what other bird has an equally powerful iridescence whilst a beam of yellows and oranges glowing into gold smacked our retinas. The feast continued up the road as another covey was spotted and one male flew up into a tree providing grandiose and definitive views for all.

The breakfast site, the first one of many, seemed chosen out of a coffee table book on best picnic spots in the world. Atop Chele La, embedded in a plantation of white prayer flags, and strings of smaller colourful fraying prayer flags...we enjoyed hot cups of coffee and tea, a full English breakfast and some Bhutanese specialties such as cheese and chili and more chili with beef and rice, superb warmers.

After breakfast we slowly ambled down the hill, slowly thawing off, regaining our breath and  racking up a healthy list of  welcome species such as Black-faced Laughingthrush, Spot-winged Grosbeak, White-throated Redstart, Gold-billed Magpie, a superb low soaring adult Black Eagle, a cruising Mountain Hawk-Eagle, our first flocks of Snow Pigeons, Rosy and  Olive-backed Pipits, several Rufous-breasted Accentors, plenty Blue Whistling-Thrushes, the stunning White-collared Blackbird, Small Niltava, a very shy Red-flanked Bluetail, Blue-fronted Redstart,  females only of White-throated Redstart, our first of many hundred White-browed Fulvettas, Rufous Sibia, White-browed Rosefinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Collared and White-winged Grosbeaks.  From a distance we also got teased by calling Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes and Hill Partridges. Shortly before lunch, we came across a great flock of making it very simple to study and enjoy species such as Rufous-fronted (Black-browed) Tit, Rufous-vented Tit, Gray-crested Tit, Green-backed and Coal Tits, Eurasian Treecreeper. Other familiar species enjoyed throughout the morning were Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard, Oriental Turtle Dove, Eurasian Nutcracker, Goldcrest and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.  After lunch we birded our way down from Chele La, but birding became painfully slow and very little was added with the only remarkable sightings being a pair of Brown Parrotbills next to the road and a covey of Kalij Pheasants coming out into the fields to feed.

Another scrumptious meal capped a memorable first day in the Kingdom.  News that Josh Engel (TB Guide) had managed to obtain his visa and was on his way reached us. Apparently the Indian embassy in Johannesburg was stalling his passport under suspicion that he may have been a US reporter on his way to China to report on the events taking place.

Ibisbill (Ian Fulton) Himalayan Monal (Ian Fulton)
Ibisbill and Himalayan Monal were two highlights not only of the first full day, but also of the entire tour. (Ian Fulton)


March 30, Day 3: Paro to Thimphu.

Soon after breakfast we headed for some boggy swamps near the Paro River in search of  Black-tailed Crakes.  As soon as we got out of the car we flushed a Solitary Snipe from the river, and careful scanning and working of the area yielded another six snipes; enthralled by the sighting we nearly missed on a few Black-tailed Crakes making progress along the river bank.  By the end of the morning we managed to clock five different crakes and no less than 8 Solitary Snipes. Other birds enjoyed this morning included Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, a large flock of  Asian Martin with some Pale Sand Martin amidst, Gray Wagtail and a Little Bunting that Sonia relished after many years of frustrated chasing.

Before we returned to the hotel we swung by Paro and enjoyed a stroll through the local open market, which was bustling, colourful and mighty interesting.  The souvenir shops were not worth checking out as they were highly overpriced and geared for desperate tourists on a last chance to purchase mission before hitting the airport.

On our drive down to Thimphu we stopped to take a few shots of the impressive Paro Dzong and the access bridge, whilst doing so we scored our first White-capped Water Redstart...a bird we never tired of seeing or photographing. Other birds spotted en route included a rare vagrant Osprey, a large flock of roosting Snow Pigeons, Long-tailed Minivets, fishing Brown Dipper, roosting Great Cormorants and flocks of Rock Pigeons that most would not bother looking at but which later guide in hand proved to contain Hill Pigeons...based on the distinct white tail bands noted (by those who never give up on Rock Pigeon flocks).

After lunch in Thimphu we decided to visit the Takin enclosure at the outskirts of the capital. This is perhaps one´s best chance to see at close quarter this bizarre goat-antelope and endemic to Bhutan. The large enclosure also contained Sambar Deer and Barking Deer. Whilst enjoying these bizarre looking creatures, we also enjoyed good views of Long-tailed Minivets, Lemon-rumped Warblers and Black-throated Tits.  Soon after we headed for the Thimphu Water Treatment plant were we were greeted by a large flock of Ruddy Shelduck, a few Eurasian Wigeons, the ever more commonly recorded Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Green Sandpiper and no less than nine more Ibisbills by the river.
 
We ended the day in the warmth of the Druk hotel, pampered by yet another scrumptious meal and happy to see Josh joining the group.

March 31, Day 4: Cheri Valley.  

We set off on a day trip from Thimphu up the Cheri Valley towards Jigme Dorji National Park.  Soon after leaving town we stopped for some roadside action, finding Long-tailed Minivet, Brown Dipper and what would be our first of many Rufous Sibia.  We soon entered the Cheri Valley, parking at a remarkable mural of Guru Rimpoche on a large rock, and walking along the roadside.  We had soon found some gorgeous Gould's Sunbirds as well as Rufous-fronted Tit and Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher, but the excitement really started when Christian screamed "WALLCREEPER!!"  For some, our first view would be of the Wallcreeper feeding on a chorten, a typically Bhutanese monument.  We rushed into the village on the other side of the river (pausing briefly for a pair of Maroon-backed Accentors on the way), where the bird had been.  After walking around the village for a tense fifteen minutes, Christian relocated the Wallcreeper and everyone had good looks at this bizarre montane denizen.

We continued on towards the park, arriving to find breakfast (complete with hot coffee!) at the ready.  We ate a distracted breakfast (there's no other way with so many birds around) and soon we were off on a walk through the forest.  We encountered several small warbler flocks giving us our first taste of this notoriously difficult-to-identify group, finding Pale-rumped (Lemon-rumped) Warbler, Blythe's and Large-billed Leaf-Warblers and Chestnut-crowned Warbler.  We arrived back to the bus to find out that Gerald had hiked to the monastery and had an up-close encounter with a habituated Goral, one of the Himalaya's famous goat-antelopes.  Scoping the hillside brought us distant views of this animal; fortunately much better views would come later in the trip.

On our way to lunch we stopped at a cliff to look for the rare Yellow-rumped Honeyguide.  We pulled up chairs and waited.  Sure enough, we eventually caught site of a sallying honeyguide which was eventually found perched.  And perch it did, sitting still for over 30 minutes as we watched and photographed this lovely male honeyguide, the Himalaya's sole representative of this predominantly African family.  After lunching below the Guru Rimpoche mural, we headed back to Thimphu.  Our driver took us to an overlook where we had stunning views of the new administrative building (as well as Little Buntings!) before doing a bit of souvenir shopping in town.  Most interesting was visiting the post office and learning that photos of Golden Langur by tour participant Gerald Cubitt were being used on Bhutanese stamps!!   

Having missed the first two days of the tour, Josh visited the Thimphu Sewage Works while the rest of the group had a chance to relax and sightsee around the capital.  He had soon found my main target, the absolutely fabulous Ibisbill, a pair of which fed in the rushing river.  Among the other birds present was a very shy but confiding Hume's Short-toed Lark, one of few records for Bhutan, that allowed me to get close enough for nearly frame-filling photos.    

Waiting for the honeyguide (Christian Boix) Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Josh Engel)
We got comfortable while we waited for the rare Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (right) to show up.  It was worth the wait!  (left: Christian Boix, right: Josh Engel)


April 1, Day 5: Thimphu to the Mo Chhu Valley via Dochu La and Punakha.

Our arrival at high pass of Dochu La coincided with the arrival of an impressive snowstorm.   We tried birding in it, but soon gave up and opted for the warmth of breakfast in a local restaurant.  Luckily our finishing of breakfast and the end of the snowstorm coincided; as soon as we stepped out of the restaurant we were swamped with birds to look at.  First was a group of Dark-breasted Rosefinches perched atop a spruce, but soon Norbu was waving at us.  We hurried over to find a group of extremely confiding female Red-headed Bullfinches.  As everyone scrambled to get camera gear ready, a male Dark-rumped Rosefinch popped up and started feeding on a bright red rhododendron flower!  

New birds were rapidly added as we walked down the road: Green-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-vented Yuhina, White-browed Fulvetta, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Striated Laughingthrush, White-throated Laughingthrush, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, White-tailed Nuthatch, Green Shrike-Babbler, Hoary-throated Barwing.   Many of these birds were part of a large and--for the most part--very cooperative mixed flock.  As the flock was dwindling the cry of Fire-tailed Myzornis went up and the group scrambled over.  Eventually everyone got great looks at these improbably green birds feeding on rhododendron nectar.  

We got back in the bus to head to lunch, but had to stop when we encountered a mixed flock at 2500m.  A singing Brown-throated Treecreeper first caught our attention and our first Gray-hooded Warbler and Black-throated Tit held it, while stellar views of Plain-backed Thrush ended our successful pause.  
A short post-lunch photography stop yielded a Slender-billed Oriole, Ultramarine Flycatcher and Hair-crested Drongo.  We spent the remainder of the afternoon on an unsuccessful hunt for the rare White-bellied Heron along the Po Chhu River.  All was not lost, of course.  Here we found our only Bar-headed Goose as well as our first Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler seen by some, White-throated and Common Kingfishers, and a very cooperative Crested Bunting.  Finally we made our way to our beautiful campsite set in the midst of the forest alongside the Mo Chhu.  

April 2, Day 6: Mo Chhu Valley.

 
The day began with an impressive dawn chorus.  Soon we were making our first of what would be many attempts for tesias, those difficult, nearly tailless warblers that inhabit dense understory.  Chestnut-headed Tesia was singing loudly, but it only showed itself to a few lucky participants.  Fortunately, most birds were more cooperative, and we had soon seen Greater Yellownape, Maroon Oriole, Bay Woodpecker, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Small Niltava, Speckled Woodpigeon and Great Barbet.  A small flock yielded another Ultramarine Flycatcher and our first Yellow-vented Warbler, and were starting to get accustomed to the abundant and stunning Verditer Flycatcher.     

We returned to camp for breakfast (and four species of redstarts), before setting back out along the road downriver from camp.  An Oriental Cuckoo sand from a bare treetop while small groups of Whiskered Yuhinas bounded through the forest.  Black-throated Sunbirds were common and we caught up with our first Scarlet and Gray-chinned Minivets and Mountain Bulbul, while a male Slaty-backed Flycatcher showed very well.  The highlight of the walk was undoubtedly the pair of Crimson-breasted Woodpeckers excavating a nest hole at eye level, allowing for great studies and many photographs.  

After lunch and a short rest back at camp, we set off to explore the roadside upriver from camp.  Things started out slowly but soon picked up with point-blank looks at a Bay Woodpecker and great looks at a male Greater Yellownape.   It started to drizzle as the afternoon was turning into evening and several people opted to return to camp.  Those who stayed out spent their time trying to coax two super-skulkers into view: Spotted Wren-Babbler and Slaty-bellied Tesia.  The wren-babbler sang its remarkable loud song and deafeningly close range, but we never saw more than a shape fly across a small opening.  The tesia was a little better, showing clearly for those in the right place at the right time!  We finished the day with a Golden-throated Barber before returning to camp.

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (Josh Engel)
We watched this male Crimson-breasted Woodpecker excavating a nesting cavity along the Mo Chhu River. (Josh Engel)
White-capped Water-Redstart (Christian Boix)
This White-capped Water-Redstart was a camp resident. (Christian Boix)


April 3, Day 7: Mo Chhu Valley to Pele La.  

A Crested Kingfisher and perched Mountain Hawk-Eagle got the day started right while we enjoyed our pre-birding (hah!) coffee and biscuits.  After the diversion, we spent the morning birding upriver from camp along the Mo Chhu.  A fruiting tree was near where we parked the bus was full of birds, including Great and Golden-throated Barbets.  Christian got lucky with a Blue-capped Redstart that disappeared before others got onto it, but Yellow-bellied Fantail and  Slaty-backed Flycatcher were more cooperative.  A group of Nepal Fulvettas as found in the understory and showed well, while a fantastic pair of Fire-capped Tits showed off in the canopy.  We made up for our earlier poor views of Goral with one on a steep cliff over the river directly opposite us.  A singing Spotted Wren-Babbler wouldn't come out for us, but this was soon forgotten when Wendy found a pair of Pygmy Wren-Babblers collecting nest material.  This normally skulking bird put on quite a show and we returned content to camp for breakfast.

After breakfast we returned to the town of Punakha, stopping along the way for a fantastic pair of Slaty-backed Forktails.  We stopped in town to visit its gorgeous dzong (seeing Chestnut-tailed Starling and Peregrine Falcon while doing so), located at the confluence of two rivers.  After a very nice tour of the dzong and photographing it from a great vantage point nearby, we continued our journey to tonight's camp at Pele La.

We stopped to eat lunch alongside a chorten and afterwards Josh went to explore some scrub along a nearby stream.  Soon he came rushing back to grab the group--it was full of birds!  We had soon relocated Blue-throated Flycatcher in a large flock which posed for all to admire, but the Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler was less cooperative.  We did have great looks at Speckled Piculet, Nepal Fulvetta and Fire-capped Tit, and soon we had relocated a pair of stunning Spotted Forktails.  It was incredible finding a small bit of exposed stream where birds were coming to bathe, in a few minutes of watching we saw Blue-winged Minla, Rufous-capped Babbler, Oriental White-eye and Nepal Fulvetta all bathing.  Returning to the bus we bumped into a group of at least seven Kalij Pheasants.

Continuing our drive we found a group of Barred Cuckoo-Dove and parked practically under a Crested Serpent-eagle that nonetheless allowed us to get out of the bus and photograph it before taking off.  We stopped once more for a group of Gray Langurs before reaching our camp.  

April 4, Day 8: Pele La to Trongsa.  

After a failed attempt to chase a calling Satyr Tragopan down a muddy trail, we decided it would be best to stick to the road.  Alas, we heard tragopans several times but never saw one.  Along the road we found several Fire-tailed Sunbirds among the abundant Green-tailed, some brilliant Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrushes and numerous mixed flocks that included Chestnut-tailed Minla, Buff-barred and Ashy-throated Warblers, Rufous-vented Tit and White-browed Fulvetta among others.  Two female Crimson-browed Finches fed quietly near camp.  After breakfast we began working our way back to the main road we continued encountering interesting birds, including three Himalayan Griffons that decided it was too foggy to be flying around and landed in a nearby tree.  A flock of White-winged Grosbeaks contained a male Collared Grosbeak and a group of White-browed Rosefinches fed along the roadside.   Arriving at the main road and its innumerable prayer flags we found one of our main targets for the morning after much searching when a group of extremely cooperative Brown Parrotbills obliged us by feeding in dwarf bamboo mere feet away from our admiring stares.  

We drove down to our lunch spot adjacent to a typical Bhutanese-style house.  The surrounding scrub contained a few goodies, not least a pair of Beautiful Rosefinches and a cooperative Eurasian Treecreeper.  After lunch we forged on towards the town of Trongsa, first finding no fewer than three Wallcreepers on a single roadcut.  Continuing on we made a birding stop in broadleaf forest and no sooner had we gotten out had we found a large mixed flock.  Rufous-winged and Golden-breasted Fulvettas fed in the roadside bamboo, while a pair of White-tailed Nuthatches worked the branches overhead and White-throated Fantail and White-spectacled Warbler foraged in the low trees.  Only minutes after leaving this flock had we found another, this time in bamboo understory that we had the privilege of looking down into.  A Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler showed well, if briefly, while Yellow-cheeked Tit was more cooperative.  The undoubted highlight of the flock was Black-throated Parrotbill that unfortunately was only seen by a lucky few.  As the flock was moving off we were able to call in a Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler for excellent views as it emerged from the bamboo below us.  Finally we made our way to our hotel in Trongsa where they had just begun a three-day maintenance-related power outage!  Fortunately they brought us hot water for bathing and plied us with free drinks to make up for it.

Red-headed Bullfinch (Ian Fulton) Red-headed Bullfinch (Christian Boix)
Red-headed Bullfinches were seen several times at higher elevations and were usually very confiding.  (male on left by Ian Fulton, females on right by Christian Boix)


April 5, Day 9: Trongsa to Shemgang.

This morning we set off early for three nights of camping along the famed Shemgang Road.   It was to be a long drive, so we scheduled our day with early morning birding close to Trongsa, then driving through the middle of the day, then finishing the day with birding closer to Shemgang.  Thus our birding began only a few minutes outside of Trongsa, where we were quickly inundated with new birds in the scrub adjacent to the forest, including Gray-winged Blackbird, Russet Bush-Warbler, Hill Prinia, male and female Crimson-browed Finch and Streaked Laughingthrush, a species that had recently been split and is now a near-endemic called Bhutan Laughingthrush.  

Moving into the forest, we soon found a flock that included a cracking male Large Niltava as well as the beautiful Red-tailed Minla and Short-billed Minivet.  Flocks of Tibetan Siskins were flying about and were nice enough to perch in the treetops for us.  A party of the cute Black-chinned Yuhina bid us farewell to this stretch of forest as we boarded the bus to drive to Shemgang.

A large raptor caught our attention and turned out to be a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle.  The stop proved convenient as it gave us a chance to wander around a typical Bhutanese village, poking our heads into shops and admiring the art and architecture.  We stopped again when we reached Shemgang, and after walking through to the other side of town (full of Large-billed and House Crows) came across a small flock that included a Little Pied Flycatcher and several Tickell's Leaf-Warblers.  

We stopped several times on the way to camp.  At one point we watched as a parade of babblers flew across the road, starting with Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes that perched on the side of the road for great views before continuing across the road.  Rusty-fronted Barwings joined the fray, and some people caught up with an elusive Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush.  Flowering Erythrina trees in the area were covered in Rufous Sibia, and a chorus of cuckoos led to great views of Common Cuckoo but only brief views of the vociferous Large Hawk-Cuckoo.  Some saw Brown Bullfinch and Rufous-bellied Niltava, while others would have to wait to catch up with them later in the trip.  A White-browed Shrike-Babbler was a treat and a much-hoped-for Rufous-bellied Woodpecker really showed off on a dead snag.  The group was very pleased with a party of typically tame Golden Langur, a near-endemic primate that we would see many of in the area.  As light faded we caught up with a charismatic group of White-crested Laughingthrushes and we arrived for a three-night stay at our gorgeous camp to a chorus of Mountain Scops-Owls and Collared Owlets.  


April 6-7, Days 10-11: Shemgang Road and Tingtibi.
   

We enjoyed two full days of birding at elevations ranging from 650m to over 2000m, while based at a perfectly situated camp on the edge of the forest in the midst of some spectacular birding.  We started the first morning above camp, quickly coming across several mixed flocks.  The first contained the appropriately named Golden Babbler, lighting up the understory with its bright plumage.  A bit further up the road a flock of Rusty-fronted Barwings (showing off their rusty front, no less) yielded a Blue-winged Laughingthrush, while a Bar-winged Shrike-Flycatcher was much less skulking.  Soon Norbu was rushing back alerting us to the present of Cutia just up the road.  We showed up to no less than four of these spectacular babblers poking around mossy branches just above eye level.  A flock was clearly around them, and soon we had found two more targets: White-browed and Black-eared Shrike-Babblers.  These were soon forgotten, however, when Christian--somewhat nonchalantly--said 'Beautiful Nuthatch!'  Unfortunately this bird would prove extremely elusive, only giving brief views to a couple people as it stayed underneath the epiphytes on the huge trees.  It would be hearing from us again, however.  Our drive back to camp for lunch was livened up by some charming and extremely photogenic Golden Langurs, as well as by our first Blue-throated Barbet, it's blue and green perfectly complementing the bright red Erythrina flower on which it fed.  

After lunch we headed to lower elevations, stopping frequently.  First we stopped for Gray-faced Woodpecker, then for a Lesser Yellownape (where a Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch also showed up).  Arriving lower down we were greeted by a couple new bulbuls, White-throated noisily making their presence known in the understory and Ashy higher up, to complement the ever-present Red-vented and Black.  The real excitement started a little later, however, when Norbu again came running to fetch us.  Hornbills!!!!! After a few tense minutes of seeing nothing more than shapes flying occasionally behind the trees, a magnificent pair of the rare Rufous-necked Hornbill emerged, sitting side by side, in the open, for all to admire.  
 Hornbill!!!
 The cry went up and all of the sudden we didn't know where to look, a brilliant Great Hornbill flew over, landing in a treetop, right in the open.  A perfect way to to end the day's birding.  

We spotlighted our way back to camp, finding a night-feeding Goral (that gave us fits to identify until it finally came into the open), but, alas, all owls remained out of view.

The following morning we began our birding at our lowest elevation to date, walking on a broad trail through scrub and forest edge.  We quickly picked up some quality birds, starting with Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker and soon followed by a pair of handsome Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes and a Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler.  Soon Tom picked out the call of Long-tailed Broadbill which responded strongly to tape and flew in to a bare treetop for outstanding views of this stonker.  It was soon vying for attention with a Drongo Cuckoo (the square-tailed form) in the same tree.  Walking back towards breakfast Christian spotted a Gray-capped Pygmy-Woodpecker, but most people had moved on a few minutes later when he and Sonia saw a Black-headed Shrike-Babbler.  A small stand of bamboo held a couple of interesting warblers, including a Rufous-faced that only a few people saw and a Yellow-bellied that gave everyone great looks.  A pair of Pin-tailed Green Pigeons whizzed past while Asian Palm Swifts made several passes overhead.  The drive back to camp was punctuated by a walk that a few people embarked on up a small stream bed.  Eventually movement caught our attention and we spent quite some time sorting out a small and very skulking mixed flock.  It eventually revealed its secrets, highlighted by a Ferruginous Flycatcher and White-browed Scimitar-Babbler and also featuring Gray-chinned and Golden Babblers.  

We ate lunch back at camp, where our after-lunch rest was disturbed by the presence of a Rufous-necked Hornbill.  We then spent a rather slow afternoon searching for Beautiful Nuthatch in the area where had had seen it the previous day.  We did find a likely flock, but a thorough search revealed Red-tailed Minla and White-tailed Nuthatch, but no Beautiful.  Just as bird activity was dying down, we heard it sing, moments later it flew onto a mossy branch far over our heads.  It then flew off to the ridge top, taking a moment to come slightly lower in response to our playback, but once again it didn't properly show itself.      

Hodgson's Redstart (Christian Boix) Bridge with prayer flags (Christian Boix)
Hodgson's Redstarts were seen frequently in secondary growth at higher elevations.  (Christian Boix)


April 8, Day 12: Shemgang to Trongsa.  

We devoted our final morning in the area to again searching for Beautiful Nuthatch.  Walking up and down the road, just before we had to leave, we found a promising flock.  Then all of the sudden there it was!  A group of at least three, rapidly making their way through the treetops climbing up the hillside.  Before we knew it they were gone, but most people caught their flash of brilliant blue before they disappeared.  And speaking of brilliant blue, moments after the nuthatch disappeared a gorgeous male Sapphire Flycatcher put in a blazing performance, atypically perching right in the open allowing for great views.  

We made one more stop along the road near Shemgang.  Walking along the road was rather slow until Norbu caught some motion in the understory.  Josh quickly got on it--Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler!  Eventually the group caught up and this very responsive bird posed brilliantly at close range, displaying its outrageous bill and subtly beautiful plumage.

With that final success we headed back to Trongsa, arriving in time for a tour of its dramatically-situated dzong.  We were even allowed into the art classroom where we could admire the exquisite wall paintings and beautiful shrine.  Finally we made it to our hotel near town, where a much-anticipated hot shower awaited.

April 9, Day 13: Trongsa to Jakar.

Today we spent a relatively slow day birding our way over Yotongla.  A couple Spotted Laughingthrushes perched out for us on the drive up, while at the pass Yellowish-bellied (Hume's) Bush-Warblers sang their remarkable song, but showed only briefly, unlike Gray-sided Bush-Warbler which was much more cooperative.  Christian called a Hill Partridge in very close, but it came into only his line of view.  A pair of Alpine Accentors fed along the roadside.  Red-flanked Bluetail and Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher showed nicely.  We passed through some dry agricultural land that revealed our first Eurasian Magpies of the trip as well as a couple more Beautiful Rosefinches.  

We were sure to make it to Jakar in time for some cultural activities, starting with a textile factory on the way into town.  Local women worked the looms while the shop displayed their beautiful, colorful wares.  In town we visited an incredible monastery, where the monks and student monks were in the middle of a week-long prayer session for world peace.  

Alpine Accentor (Ian Fulton)
We only saw a couple Alpine Accentors.  (Ian Fulton)
Golden Langur (Christian Boix)
Golden Langurs were common on the Shemgang Road. (Christian Boix)


April 10, Day 14: Jakar to Sengor.  

Glowing is the adjective one associates with Himalayan Monal, but it truly has to be seen to be appreciated.  No sooner had be exited this bus this morning than a monal, dressed in improbable neon hues, flushed from the roadside and flew into a fir tree where we could admire its glow.  What a way to start a day!  After a showy start, things slowed down considerably.  A few Goldcrests graced the usual tit flocks and Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrushes began to dot the roadside.  A female White-browed Rosefinch showed off her white brow in a small roadside flock, while an extremely responsive White-browed Bush-Robin shot into view and showed off his as well.  With lots of bamboo around, Great Parrotbill was a major target.  None were responding to our playback attempts, so we were quite taken aback when a pair of these giants flew into the top of a small spruce before shooting across the road.  The briefly came back out to playback but despite our best efforts they eventually disappeared into the dense scrub.  

As we were approaching Sengor we had been walking for a few kilometers, when Gerald came running up from behind.  A car problem.  We shouldn't proceed any further until we know what the problem is.  In a remarkable coincidence, just then a caravan of cars pulled up from the same ground agent and was able to give us a lift to the bus.  We arrived at the bus just as our resourceful driver, Karma, was finishing up.  We decided to get in and continue on our way to camp TRAGOPAN!!!!!  Pandemonium broke out in the bus when Norbu's shout went up.  There it was, in all it's crimson and blue glory, a male Satyr Tragopan strutting across the road.  As it passed into a open area on the roadside, we scrambled out of the bus and lined up to watch as it made its way into the bamboo understory and out of view.  Spectacular!!  This is a bird that has to be seen to be believed.

As nothing could quite compare with that, we headed down to camp, stopping briefly for a confusing Zoothera thrush that we eventually decided was a Plain-backed Thrush.

April 11, Day 15: Sengor to Lingmethang Rd.


We started the day with a roadside tragopan search, just to be greedy.  A female was seen briefly scurrying off the road, as was a male a short time later, but no views to compare with yesterday's.  A Darjeeling Woodpecker was found during the search, but not finding a tragopan only made us appreciate yesterday's amazing male even more.  We returned to camp for breakfast before continuing eastwards towards Yonkola and the Lingmethang Rd.  More tragopanning, so to speak, after breakfast yielded a female for Christian and a Barking Deer for Peta, but little else.  A roadside stop a little later yielded a distant pair of Little Forktails active around the waterfall-side nest; we would have much closer looks later in the day of these charming birds.  

Our next productive stop was lunch, not just for the delicious food but also for the fantastic birds our lunch stop offered.  Everyone finally caught up with great looks at Brown Bullfinch, quietly feeding in buds, while a Sapphire Flycatcher was also in the area.  Our attention was distracted when female Gold-naped Finches were found and sat feeding on roadside weeds just long enough for everyone to see.  This was followed seconds later by another brilliant Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler emerging from the bamboo understory below us.  Moving on we found some nice mixed flocks, one of which contained our first Yellow-throated Fulvetta of the trip.  A frustrating Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler showed for some, while most had only the most fleeting glimpses of this super skulker.  A couple mammals on a distant hillside caught our attention and turned out be a mother-young pair of Himalayan Serow, another strange goat-antelope feeding calmly on fresh leaves.  A few minutes later Ian spotted another mother-young mammalian pair on the hillside--Himalayan Black Bear!  We watched this rarely seen animal for half an hour as they fed on leaves, completely oblivious to our stares.

We then caught up with another pair of Little Forktails, whose antics we thoroughly enjoyed watching in the raging stream below us, while Yellow-rumped Honeyguides sallied around the bee hives on the cliffs opposite where we stood.  Not finished yet, a flock of dapper White-naped Yuhinas grabbed our attention and moments later we caught up with our first proper views of  Large Hawk-Cuckoo, while a Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo called in the distance.  We finally made our way to our camp, the VIP camp as it turned out, which would be our home for the next three nights.

Himalayan black bear (Christian Boix)
The mammal of the trip--mother and cub Himalayan black bear. (Christian Boix)
White-browed Shrike-Babbler (Christian Boix)
This White-browed Shrike-Babbler really posed for us. (Christian Boix)


April 12-13, Days 16-17: Lingmethang Rd.

Our first morning's target was clear: the rare and reclusive Ward's Trogon.  We headed up to the appointed area (stopping on the way for a remarkable white-winged Gray-winged Blackbird) and began our search.  A Chestnut Thrush of the pale-headed Himalayan race rubrocanus was a special treat, not only one of few records for Bhutan but it fed uncharacteristically our in the open with a Blue Whistling-Thrush, providing great views.  A flock of no fewer than eleven Cutia fed on mossy branches before flying, one after another, across the road. A snazzy Rufous-bellied Niltava eventually perched on a bare snag, but all other thoughts disappeared when Gerald showed up, wildly waving us to come.  He was sure he had just seen a Ward's Trogon; he even described it perfectly.  

A few tense minutes--there it is!  A brief flight view quickly morphed into numerous prolonged views of the male (and a few nice views of the female as well) as we spent half-an-hour watching and photographing this rare and beautiful trogon.  Once the trogons had had their fun watching us, we moved on to attempting to lure a couple of skulkers out of the understory, first a Hill Partridge that only the leaders saw then a Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler that again proved elusive.  As we headed lower, one adorable (and shy) Pygmy Blue Flycatcher came out for us, while others were heard singing their high pitched tunes.

We moved lower as the rain began, and some in the group chose to head back to camp to relax for the afternoon.  Those who stayed out soon found an outstanding and cooperative mixed flock that held our attention for an hour in which we ultimately found eighteen species.  Our first Mountain Tailorbird showed well and added confusion when a possible Broad-billed Warbler was found.  More satisfying was a lovely pair of Black-faced Warblers, as well as a male Black-eared Shrike-Babbler and a couple White-naped Yuhinas, while two stunning Asian Emerald Cuckoos cavorted in the treetops.  Our attention was instantaneously diverted from this flock, however, when Norbu came back reporting parrotbills just a few meters down the road.  Sure enough we showed up and had great views of a group of beautiful Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills feeding in roadside bamboo.  Sonia glimpsed a Scaly Laughingthrush in their midst.  Hearing Slaty-bellied Tesia at close range, we attempted to lure him in.  In doing so we seemed to incite a duel, one male on either side of the road--yet despite both coming very close, neither showed.  After a busy afternoon the rain arrived in earnest, so we returned to camp, stopping to see and photograph our first Capped Langurs.  The rain let up a bit, so we took a short walk from camp in the drizzle.  It was well worth it when a pair of Rufous-chinned Laughingthrushes showed up providing scope views for the whole group and a pair of Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches showed at very close range.

The next day began at lower elevations in the fragmented forest below our camp.  A pre-breakfast effort for Red-headed Trogon didn't succeed, but some people caught up with a White-tailed Robin singing its melodies.  After breakfast we headed to a new area, where it didn't take long to add a couple great new birds, first when a cooperative group of Rufous-necked Laughingthrushes popped out of the scrub, then when a flock was found that contained a stunning Red-faced Liocichla and a couple of Gray-throated Babblers.  Birding in this open habitat allowed us to get some great views and photographic opportunities of birds we had seen previously, like Great, Golden-throated and Blue-throated Barbets, Drongo Cuckoo, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Mountain Hawk-Eagle, as well as a perched Besra, our first.  Blue-throated Flycatchers were fairly common along this stretch of road, a Lesser Yellownape was our first since much earlier in the trip and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler was seen by some.  Open country birds, like Oriental Magpie Robin, Gray Treepie and Spangled Drongo were all common and seen well, but only a few people caught up with Bronzed Drongo.  A Mountain Hawk-Eagle provided nice company during breakfast, watching over us and even calling.

We returned to areas a bit higher in the afternoon. The bus came to a screeching halt when a perfectly posed pair of Rufous-necked Hornbills was found on a bare snag.  We watched and photographed these calm birds for twenty minutes before Norbu came to fetch us: Scarlet Finch!  We had done exceedingly well on finches already and were ecstatic to have a chance for the brightest of all.  The birds had flown by the time we showed up, but Norbu was determined to find them for us again and sure enough, he did.  We watched flock of these beautiful finches, the males lighting up the tree like rhododendron flowers.  To cap the excitement, we looked towards the sky where a Crested Goshawk was performing its strange display flight.

Ward's Trogon (Josh Engel)
Capped Langur (Josh Engel)
Two sights from the Lingmethang Road.  Left: male Ward's Trogon, one of Bhutan's most sought-after species (Josh Engel); right: Capped Langur, the eastmost ranging of Bhutan's three langurs (Josh Engel).


April 14, Day 18: Lingmethang Rd. to Trashigang.

We spent the early morning in the forests above camp.  It was fairly slow, but an incredible encounter with a large group of Cutia was spectacular to behold. We watched them display--hopping over each other in groups of three, feed, preen, sing and generally cavort.  We got some great photos and video of these birds which are not the easiest photo subjects, generally staying in the canopy feeding among epiphytes.  A female Gold-naped Finch, calmly feeding on roadside grass, likewise made a perfect object of our photographic affections.  Blue-winged Laughingthrushes feeding in the open on the edge of the road provided our best views yet.  On the way down we stopped again to try for Red-headed Trogon without success, but some people caught a glimpse of Asian Barred Owlet while everyone caught up with our first Dark-sided Flycatcher.  

We continued our journey eastward after breakfast.  A Blue-bearded Bee-eater, our first that cooperated, posed for us along the road.  We stopped as we went over Kori La, walking through the interesting forest that covers its slopes.  Gray-winged Blackbird was fairly common there, with males and females feeding in the open understory.  We came across several mixed flocks, containing goodies like Red-billed Leiothrix, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Black-eared Shrike Babbler, while Chestnut-tailed Minla was very common.  A group of handsome Black-faced Laughingthrushes showed well, while White-tailed Nuthatch and Verditer Flycatcher posed for the photographers in the group.  The remainder of the drive was through relatively sterile chir pine forest.  An Asian Barred Owlet provided a momentary distraction before we arrived at our hotel in Trashigang.

April 15, Day 19: Trashigang to Narphung.

We decided to take the morning to do a bit of exploring around Trashigang, with people visiting shops, viewing the architecture and seeing what a Bhutanese town awaking looks like.  Some people chose to go birding around the edge of town, finding Striated Prinia, White-cheeked (Himalayan) Bulbul, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Green-billed Malkoha, Golden-spectacled Warbler, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch and Common Rosefinch, while a couple of people who went to get good views of the town's imposing dzong found Eastern Crimson Sunbird.

From Trashigang our voyage shifted directions and we started heading south towards the Indian border.  A stop at the university campus yielded a Phylloscopus flock that included a Hume's Leaf-Warbler, while Red-rumped and Barn Swallows fed overhead.  Some activity caught our attention as we crossed a pass, and getting out Christian noticed a large female pheasant on the slope below--a tragopan!!  Josh went around the corner where he thought the view would be better and sure enough there it was.  He got it in the scope and everybody enjoyed scope views of this very shy female as she foraged among the mossy fallen logs.  A Ward's Trogon was singing in the distance, another surprising find, but nobody was too concerned when it didn't come in to playback considering the fantastic looks we had a few days prior.  

Arriving at our campsite near Narphung, we had a few minutes of daylight to explore a nearby trail.  Few birds were active in the low-light conditions, but we saw enough to whet our appetites for the next morning.  We did get very close to calling Chestnut-breasted Partridge, but they didn't emerge from the dense undergrowth.  Back at camp, Mountain Scops-Owls serenaded us during dinner. 

Cutia (Ian Fulton)
This male Cutia was part of an amazing show of displaying, singing and feeding Cutia.  (Ian Fulton)
Crested Serpent-Eagle (Ian Fulton)
A striking Crested Serpent-Eagle.  (Ian Fulton)


April 16, Day 20: Narphung to Samdrup Jonkhar.

We started the morning walking the trail near camp.  It was rather disappointing (in part thanks to intermittent rain showers), but we made the most of it.  A male Rufous-necked Hornbill interrupted our walk to the trail while nearby a Spotted Bush-Warbler sang but wouldn't come out of the scrub.  We did find a few mixed flocks along the trail, containing a good variety of birds we had only seen once or twice, including Black-faced Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler, and Yellow-cheeked Tit.  Christian spied a White-browed Shortwing, but it didn't stick around for others to see.  Our first Plaintive Cuckoo surprised us by perching cooperatively on a fence as we returned to breakfast.  Back at camp Tom heard an unfamiliar call note, which led he and Josh to an interesting Cettia warbler, the very yellow Aberrant Bush-Warbler.

The rest of the day was spent making to lower elevations.  Lunch was spent surrounded by a swirling swift flock that contained at least two of the rare Dark-rumped Swifts among the more common Fork-taileds, as well as the torpedo-like White-throated Needletail.  We stopped several times, picking up a lovely Rufous-backed Sibia, but singing Snowy-browed Flycatchers weren't responding to playback. Silver-eared Mesia had become common and we had many great views of this stunning bird.  Closer to Samdrup we stopped when a couple shorebirds were spotted in a roadside stream.  They turned out to be Green and Common Sandpipers, but more exciting was a brilliant Black-backed Forktail nearby, who disappeared before everyone had seen it, only to reemerge and give us all great views.  While waiting for the forktail, a Crested Kingfisher flew over and briefly alighted on a wire before continuing upriver.

We arrived to town with plenty of daylight left, so we birding along the border, with views of the Indian plains below us.  The birding got hectic here, it seemed that every bird we saw was new!  Ashy Woodswallow, Greater Flameback, Common Iora, White-rumped Shama, Eastern Crimson Sunbird, Plain Flowerpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Stork, Asian Koel, Lineated Barbet, Hill Myna, Asian Pied Starling.  Greater Racket-tailed Drongos harassed a Great Hornbill, while a male Kalij Pheasant scuttled through the bamboo.  We also added a new primate, Rhesus Macaque, as well as seeing Capped Langur for the second time.  It was certainly a very satisfying final afternoon!

April 17, Day 21: Samdrup Jonkhar to Guwahati.  Departure.

With our final morning upon us, we set out early for Guwahati to ensure plenty of time for birding stops along the way.  This was definitely the right move--new birds came fast and furious.  We stopped on the bridge at the border crossing where a Thick-billed Warbler frolicked in the lantana and Tom spotted a Bengal Bushlark.  We had essentially our first wetland birding of the trip, so the myriad rice paddies and ponds were stocked with new species:  Indian Pond Heron, Little, Intermediate and Great Egrets, Purple Heron, Little Ringed Plover, Asian Openbill Stork, Little Cormorant, Red-wattled Lapwing.  Better still were Lesser Adjutant, Watercock, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacana, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Citrine Wagtail, Richard's Pipit and Pacific Golden-Plover.  The trees held our first Rufous Treepie, Coppersmith Barbet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Red Collared-Dove and our second sighting of Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, while scrubby areas held Nutmeg Manakin, Jungle Myna and Black Drongo.    

Finally we reached the airport, bid farewell, and embarked on our journeys home or onward to Kaziranga National Park.  It had been an incredible tour, and one that both guides very much look forward to leading again.

Kaziranga Extension
17-22 April

Today most of the group parted to their respective homes, but those of us with a bit more time in hand continued towards Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Whilst waiting for transport outside Guwahati International Airport several new species new for the trip were recorded, namely Greater Adjutant (35), Brown-headed Gull, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and Bengal Bushlark.

The drive to Kaziranga was three and a half hours, somehow the poverty, filth, tension and chaotic driving experienced between Samdrup Jonkhar and Guwahati subsided as we entered a different atmosphere...filled with peasant workers, rice paddies, water buffalo, cleaner roads, relaxed traffic and a lot more trees and peace.  We reached our accommodation at the edge of the park by nightfall.

Kaziranga    

Kaziranga is an ambassadorial park famous for its large population of endangered and protected One-horned Asian Rhino...and it is very safe to guarantee a sighting of this magnificent creature as there was not a single a day that we came out of the park having sighted less than 50 individuals. Similarly Asian Elephants are also very common here and we often came across large herds, 20-30 strong. Other mammals thoroughly enjoyed here was a fleeting Tiger that never really showed up well, and super views of Barking, Sambar, Swamp and Hog-nosed Deer. A highlight for me was to come across Hoolock Gibbon at Paamvari Forest...as it is always great to come across apes...especially after being serenaded by its howling calls all morning.  

Birding was done over two full days and an extra morning, which proved to be enough and ideal given the are that the park allows one to cover. Birding was most pleasant and productive on the Central and Eastern ranges, with the drive to the Bhramaputra Banks being my absolute favourite and one that epitomizes the natural splendour of this park.  Birding was rather slow in the Western Ranges yet most enjoyable at adjacent patches of forest fringing the extensive tea estates.

male one-horned rhino (Christian Boix) one-horned rhino (Christian Boix)
We saw dozens of Indian one-horned rhinos daily. (Christian Boix)


At Paamvari Forest, birding was good and active throughout, with the eerie calls of Asian Elephants bulls in musth fighting in the distance, yet filling the air with their trumpeting as well as Hoolock Gibbons wailing and Capped Langurs jumping from tree to tree with loose abandon. An impressive overture of cuckoos started the day, with Oriental, Eurasian, Large Hawk and Drongo Cuckoo all at the same fruiting tree that else held our first Large Woodshrike.  The same tree full of Yellow-fronted Green-Pigeons revealed one Thick-billed Green-Pigeon and more than one Blue-eared Barbet that would take a while to tease out.  Inside the forest Black-naped Monarch, Striped Tit-Babbler and Asian Fairy Bluebird showed incredibly well.  At clearings we enjoyed Plain Flowerpecker, Common Iora and Little Spiderhunter. A small stream outside the forest was being frequented by Brown Crakes, whilst hooting in the vicinity alerted us of female Barred Buttonquails in "musth" and they were not hard to locate.

At the unassuming Tea Estate Gardens, which we visited several times, we had several Blue-naped Pitta calling from bamboo gullies and tea bushes several times. We also enjoyed cracking views of the rather large and great looking Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush and Rufous-necked Laughingthrush. With a bit of patience and crouching effort we secured top views of a very responsive Rufous-fronted Babbler. Playback was the only way we managed to get decent views of the handsome White-browed Piculet. A surprising encounter with a pair of seldom-seen Chestnut-winged Cuckoos was perhaps the best bird that we squeezed out of the estate, though Rafik´s superb "spotting prowess" yielded a gorgeous Brown Fish Owl that will never be forgotten, Asian Bared Owlet and the rather large Gray Nightjar... as well as several Indian Flying Foxes took over the night shift at dusk. The scrub surrounding the tea estate was also productive and here we added White-tailed Rubythroat, Ashy MinivetScarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Crimson Sunbird and Black-hooded Oriole to our tally.

The Western Range is fairly touristy due to the large observation tower it is endowed with, offering superb views of the sweeping floodplains and open grasslands which allow for easy Rhino spotting. The wooded areas to the north were relatively quite in the afternoon, and here only Pale-chinned Flycatcher was added.  The floodplains were however buzzing with the typical entourage of  Indian wetland "classics" such as Black-necked Stork, Asian Openbill, Lesser Adjutants, White-breasted Waterhen, Watercock, Bronze-winged Jacana, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and flocks of Baya Weaver. One-horned Asian Rhino was more than abundant...and from the observation tower we counted over 25 individuals, including two mating.  A carcass near the reeds had gathered several White-rumped and Slender-billed Vultures. The search for florican was fruitless, but instead we bagged Alexandrine Parakeet, Striated Grassbird, great views of Swamp Francolin and Lesser and Greater Coucal.

The Central Range was largely avoided for most of our stay as it was a spring festival dedicated to the reverence of the Elephant, and although it was not as crowded as one would have expected by Indian terms, there were caravans of up to 20 vehicles cruising through this section in the park in almost convoy fashion.  We thus birded this area in the early afternoon and once briefly in the early morning. The heat of the afternoon did not help at all to locate Bengal Florican, of which we only got very hazy, distant views.  Large pans and river bends were frequented by Bar-headed Goose, Lesser Whistling-Duck, Indian Spot-billed Duck and Cotton Pygmy-Goose. A number of Eurasian species were spotted as well such as the colourful Common Shelduck and Northern Shoveler, the colourful-less Gadwall and the rare Ferruginous Duck. The typical entourage of fresh water waders such as Greenshank, Redshank, and Green, Wood and Common Sandpiper were all there...but perhaps the one to phone home about was a lonely Long-billed Plover and several Pintail Snipes.  Elegant River Terns patrolled the waters and an armada of Spot-billed Pelicans cruised by.  Checking streams and rivulets we eventually caught site of a beautiful perched Storkbilled Kingfisher.The grasslands were perhaps more exciting to bird, and the fact that at many sections the road is elevated, gave us an excellent chance to scan and spot movement in the reeds and grasses below. Here, we spotted over two visits Finn´s Weaver, Striated Babbler, the exquisite looking Chestnut-capped Babbler, fleeting glimpses of Yellow-eyed Babbler, Chestnut Munia, Ashy and Plain Prinias and bright views of India Roller and Chestnut-headed and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters. All the while we were being very cautious not to upset the many grazing Rhino that frequent the area, and whom have a serious inferiority complex with their stature and horney lump, whatever it was it would take very little to enrage them with our stationary presence....which was amusing and at time fairly exciting. A rather humbling find, I thought, was a Tiger´s scratch pole (a tree used to sharpen THE BIG cat´s nails).

Red Junglefowl (Christian Boix) Asian elephant (Christian Boix)
Two frequent roadside sightings in Kaziranga: left, Red Junglefowl; right, Asian elephant. (Chrisitan Boix)


The Eastern Range was so varied and unfrequented, so diverse in habitats and so extensive that per force it felt the WILDEST section of the park and the one that I took home as my WILD INDIA experience. The large floodplains, dense swamp and riparian forests and river's edge by the mighty Brahmaputra were all awe-inspiring.  Birding and game watching was constant with something new and interesting to look at every minute.  The pans were filled with the usual cast of herons and egrets with Purple Heron worth a mention and Indian Pond Heron everywhere. Little and Great Cormorants were abundant and Oriental Darters ubiquitous.  A flock of lazy Gray-headed Lapwings that had not yet departed for the summer was thoroughly enjoyed. Very easy to spot along the pan's edge perched atop snags were Pallas´s and Grey-headed Fish Eagles scanning for fish, and equally abundant were Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk-Eagle and one Oriental Honey-Buzzard.  Near a Tiger kill digesting their meal we had our first Red-headed Vulture, sharing a perch with several other White-rumped Vultures. There was hardly a single kilometer that the common yet brazen, flighty and actually very beautiful Red Junglefowl would not make an appearance and at one instance we even had a group of Kalij Pheasants feeding on the road verge.  The cooing of Green Imperial Pigeons and Emerald Doves set the low bars of the forest atmosphere, occasionally pierced by the screeches of Red-breasted, Rose-ringed and Blossom-headed Parakeets. Birding the mid strata also yielded Shikra, many Oriental Pied and Great Hornbills, Black-rumped Flameback, Gray-capped Pygmy and Streak-throated Woodpeckers as well as Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Bronzed Drongo, White-vented Myna and Rufous Treepie to mention some.  There were several spots were one could alight of the car and without wandering too far and from many different forays we manged to bag several goodies such as a family of Spotted Owlets, Taiga (Red-throated) Flycatcher, the stunning Greater Scimitar-Babbler, skulking Abbott´s Babbler, shy Puff-throated Babbler, boring Dusky Warbler, several White-rumped Shamas and a nest building Ruby-cheeked Sunbird pair. But by far the most enjoyable sighting was to come upon a pair of Blue-naped Pitta males having a territorial dispute and having become intensely unaware of my presence which gave us a regal chance to enjoy this large and great looking birds quarreling in an open patch of boggy swamp forest...STUNNING.  

It was here too that inadvertently I got caught amidst a Rhino dispute whilst a dominant Rhino male was chasing away a younger one, but as soon as it spotted me on the road decided to chase me first, well....15 years telling clients to climb or stand behind a tree when chased by a Rhino were fully ignored and would you believe it.... I could not find a tree inside a swamp forest when I needed one...fortunately pure adrenaline fueled me, my scope, bins, camera with zoom lens and recording gear into the safety of our jeep...HOW??? I DON¨T KNOW...I JUST DID.


TRIP LIST--Main tour
Taxonomy follows Clements, James F.  2007.  The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World.  6th Edition.  Cornell University Press.  Alternate names are in parentheses.  An (I) after the common name means the species was only seen in India, on the drive from Samdrup Jonkhar to Guwahati.  355 species were observed on the main part of the tour (Paro to Guwahati), including 7 species that were only heard.  See separate list below for the species seen on the Kaziranga extension.

Great Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo

Little Cormorant (I) Phalacrocorax niger
A few seen on the drive to Guwahati.

Great Egret (I) Ardea alba

Intermediate (Yellow-billed) Egret (I) Egretta intermedia

Little Egret (I) Egretta garzetta

Indian Pond-Heron (I) Ardeola grayii

Cattle Egret (I) Bubulcus ibis

Asian Openbill (I) Anastomus oscitans

Black Stork Ciconia nigra
One flew over us near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Lesser Adjutant (I) Leptoptilos javanicus
Common on the drive to Guwahati.

Lesser Whistling-Duck (I) Dendrocygna javanica

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
One was in the river near Punakha while we searched for White-bellied Heron.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Seen first at the Thimphu Sewage Works.

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope

Two males and two females were at the Thimphu Sewage Works.

Cottom Pygmy-Goose (I) Nettapus coromandelianus
A lovely male at a wetlands on the drive to Guwahati.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina
A male was at the Thimphu Sewage Works.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
One in Thimphu and one on the Mo Chhu.

Common Merganser (Goosander) Mergus merganser

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
One seen on the drive from Paro to Thimphu.

Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
One was seen soaring near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Black Kite (I) Milvus migrans

Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis
Excellent views both in flight and perched at Pele La.

Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
This beautiful raptor was widespread.  Our first was an extremely close perched individual on the drive to Pele La.

Northern (Hen) Harrier Circus cyaneus
Tom saw one near Paro.

Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
One was seen displaying overhead on the Lingmethang Rd.

Besra Accipiter virgatus
Our first was a great perched individual on the lower Lingmethang Rd.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Widespread at higher elevations.

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentiles
Seen twice, first in the Cheri Valley and again later harassing a Large-billed Crow near Thrumsing La.

Eurasian (Himalayan) Buzzard Buteo buteo
Seen a few times, first near Thimphu.  A perched individual also watched over us as we ate breakfast at Sengor.

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis

Rufous-bellied Eagle Aquila kienerii
Only juveniles seen, first on the drive to Shemgang and again at Kori La.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis
Widepread, we had a number of excellent studies perched and in flight.

Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens
A very surprising find was one in degraded forest near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo
Josh saw one flying past at Samdrup Jonkhar.

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
One was chasing pigeons at the Puhakha Dzong.

Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola
Heard abundantly, especially at higher elevations, it was seen briefly by Christian and Josh.

Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii
Heard several times including very close at Narphung La, but never seen.

Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis
Another extremely shy partridge, heard a number of times but never glimpsed.

Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus
Great views at Chele La walking around in the open.  Wendy saw another near Sengor.

Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra
A definite trip highlight was an incredible male that walked across the road in front of the bus near Sengor.  And to think we only saw it because of car troubles!  We also had scope looks at a female at a pass in eastern Bhutan.

Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus
A truly spectacular bird, we saw it first at Chele La, then another male at Thrumsing La.

Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos
Very widespread, we saw 17 (!) on our first full day in Bhutan at Chele La.  Our last was a bird in bamboo understory near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Black-tailed Crake Amaurornis bicolor
This sought after bird was seen by everybody present at a wetlands near Paro.

Watercock (I) Gallicrex cinerea
A handsome breeding male was in a rice paddy on the drive to Guwahati.

Common Moorhen (I) Gallinula chloropus

Pheasant-tailed Jacana (I) Hydrophasianus chirurgus
Several at a very productive pond on the drive to Guwahati.

Bronze-winged Jacana (I) Metopidius indicus
Several at the same pond as Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Cotton Pygmy-Goose and others on the drive to Guwahati.

Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii
Many views of this remarkable mountain bird around Paro and Thimphu.

River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii

Red-wattled Lapwing (I) Vanellus indicus

Pacific Golden-Plover (I) Pluvialis fulva
One rice paddy on the drive to Guwahati held a good sized flock of birds displaying a wide variety of plumages, including some in close to full breeding garb.

Little Ringed Plover (I) Charadrius dubius

Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria
Always an uncommon species, we saw at least eight in rice paddies near Paro, possibly the highest count ever for the country.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
One in a river near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

Snow Pigeon Columba leuconota
We had excellent views near Paro of this beautiful pigeon, and then saw it a couple more times near passes in central Bhutan.

Speckled Wood-Pigeon Columba hodgsonii
Seen well in the Mo Chhu Valley and again near Deothang.

Oriental Turtle-Dove Streptopelia orientalis

Red Collared-Dove (I) Streptopelia tranquebarica

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis

Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall
Seen first on the drive to Pele La and subsequently a few more times in mid-elevation broadleaved forest.

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Heard at Tingtibi and the lower Lingmethang Rd., Tom and Josh got brief flyby views near Tingtibi.

Pin-tailed Pigeon Treron apicauda
A pair did a brief flyby near Tingtibi, showing off their namesake tail.

Wedge-tailed Pigeon Treron sphenurus
Excellent views in a fruiting tree near Tingtibi.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides
Heard abundantly, we got our best views near dusk on the Lingmethang Rd. and in the rain as we drove towards Narphung.

Hodgson's (Whistling) Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus nisicolor
Heard a couple of times, but never glimpsed.

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Seen well near Shemgang, heard at a couple other places further east as well.

Himalayan (Oriental) Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
First seen in the Mo Chhu Valley, its characteristic call was heard nearly daily.

Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
One seen very well at Narphung La.

Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculates
A couple excellent views were had, first near Tingtibi and then again later on the Lingmethang Rd.

Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
Seen near Tingtibi and on the lower Lingmethang Rd.; this is the ‘square-tailed’ form that will likely be split.

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
Heard in Punakha, we had to wait until Samdrup Jonkhar to see one.  Very common on the drive to Guwahati as well.

Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
A pair was seen near Trashigang.

Mountain Scops-Owl Otus spilocephalus
Heard a number of times, perhaps most incessantly at our camp near Shemgang, but never seen.

Collared Scops-Owl Otus lettia
Heard at close range at our camp near Shemgang, it wouldn’t show itself.

Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei
Heard commonly, one was seen by Christian on the Lingmethang Rd.

Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Heard fairly commonly, some people glimpsed one on the Lingmethang Rd and others saw one from the bus near Trashigang.

Gray Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus
Surprisingly elusive, we heard them several times but only some people saw one near Shemgang.

Himalayan Swiftlet Aerodramus brevirostris

White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
Only seen a couple of times, it wasn’t until near Trashigang that we finally caught up with it.  We saw it again near Deothang.

Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
First seen near Tingtibi, we saw additional ones near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Dark-rumped Swift Apus acuticauda
A pair of these rare swifts were seen near Deothang while we ate lunch.

Fork-tailed (Pacific) Swift Apus pacificus

House Swift Apus nipalensis

Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardi
We had spectacular views of this rare trogon on the Lingmethang Rd.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
One was seen near Punakha.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris
First seen while we ate breakfast along the Mo Chhu, we caught up with another one at the end of the trip near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
After several too-brief encounters, we had great looks at one on the lower Lingmethang Rd.

Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Great views first near Tingtibi, we saw another one at closer range near Samdrup Jonkhar being dive-bombed by a pair of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos.

Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis
One of Bhutan’s key species, we saw an excellent number of birds, first near Tingtibi and later several well-photographed birds on the Lingmethang Rd.

Great Barbet Megalaima virens
Common and widespread, we had some great looks at these impressive birds.

Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineate
Only seen at lower elevations near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii

Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica

Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Heard near Samdrup Jonkhar, we didn’t actually see one until we were in India.

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus
We first came across this scarce species near Thimphu, then found a couple more on the Lingmethang Rd.

Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus

Gray-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
A pair was seen well near Tingtibi.

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
An excellent pair was near Tingtibi and another was in India.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
Great views of one near Shemgang.

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos cathpharius
We spent a very enjoyable half-hour watching and photographing a pair excavating a nest cavity in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis
We finally caught up with this large woodpecker near Sengor.

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus
Heard near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus
Very nice views on the Shemgang Rd. and on the Lingmethang Rd.

Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha
Great views in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Gray-faced Woodpecker Picus canus
Seen well near our camp on the Shemgang Rd.

Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Brief but good looks near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis
Widespread by voice and seen several times.  Best was a seriously up-close encounter with one in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae
Great views of one near Tingtibi after Tom heard one and called it in.

Hume's (Short-toed) Lark Calandrella acutirostris
Josh saw and photographed one at the Thimphu Sewage Works.  This is one of very few records for Bhutan.

Pale Sand Martin Riparia diluta
A few were seen near Paro.  A rare record for Bhutan.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Asian (House-) Martin Delichon dasypus

Nepal (House-) Martin Delichon nipalense
The most widespread and common swallow, usually seen in flocks.

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica

Richard's Pipit (I) Anthus richardi
A couple were in a rice paddy on the drive to Guwahati.

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus
Some nice views near Paro and Thimphu including some with rosy breasts.

Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Quite widespread, we saw migrants at various locations as well as birds on territory at some of the higher passes.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Widespread, these birds represent the subspecies alboides.

Citrine Wagtail (I) Motacilla citreola
A male and female of the gray-backed nominate subspecies were seen in a rice paddy in India.

Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei
One seen near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melaschistos
Fairly common in broadleaved forest at mid-altitudes, we first saw it in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Common, especially at higher altitudes.

Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris
Fairly common, we typically saw this species at middle altitudes.

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
Common over a wide range of altitudes, but particularly common lower down.

Gray-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris
Seen regularly, mostly at middle elevations.

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
Seen a couple of times along the Shemgang Rd.

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus

Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Seen at lower altitudes near Tingtibi and Samdrup Jonkhar.

Red-whiskered Bulbul (I) Pycnonotus jocosus

White-cheeked (Himalayan) Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys
Seen in the drier valleys of eastern Bhutan.

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer

White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus
These noisy birds were seen well near Tingtibi.

Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii

Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
Replaced the following species at low elevations near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii
Common at middle elevations.

Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
One seen briefly near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
Common in fast-flowing rivers at upper and middle elevations.

Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
Seen very well at Yatong La.

Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata
Widespread in small numbers, we encountered singles or pairs regularly at a wide range of altitudes.

Maroon-backed Accentor Prunella immaculate
Three enounters, first was a pair in the Cheri Valley, then a single at Pele La, then Josh saw a pair near Sengor.

Blue-capped Rock-Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus
A common and welcome sight along many roadsides.

Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush Monticola rufiventris

Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
One male near Punakha.

Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus

Plain-backed Thrush Zoothera mollissima
Seen very well as we descended Dochu La and again near Sengor.

White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus

Gray-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
Seen several times, our best views were at Kori La.  An amazing individual with white (as opposed to gray) in the wings was seen on the Lingmethang Rd.

Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus
A male of the pale headed nominate Himalayan subspecies was seen very well on the upper Lingmethang Rd.  This form has only been recorded a couple times previously in Bhutan.

Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys
Heard on the Lingmethang Rd.

White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx Montana
Christian caught a glimpse of one at Narphung La, while the rest of us only heard it.

Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera
Several were seen at Trashigang in the scrub around the town.

Hill (Black-throated) Prinia Prinia atrogularis
Seen a few times, best on the Lingmethang Rd.  This form is often split as Black-throated Prinia.

Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
Seen on the lower Lingmethang Rd.

Chestnut-headed Tesia Tesia castaneocoronata
Seen well by a few people in the Mo Chhu Valley and by others on the Lingmethang Rd.

Slaty-bellied Tesia Tesia olivea
Very widespread by voice, it was a real bugger to see, with most people eventually seeing one.

Gray-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer
A few people got on one on the Lingmethang Rd, where several were heard.

Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler Cettia fortipes

Aberrant Bush-Warbler Cettia flavolivacea
One was seen by Tom and Josh at our campsite near Narphung.

Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler Cettia acanthizoides
Only seen by a few people, its extremely characteristic voice was heard at Yatong La.

Gray-sided Bush-Warbler Cettia brunnifrons

Russet Bush-Warbler Bradypterus seebohmi
Seen by a couple people and heard by others near Trongsa.

Thick-billed Warbler (I) Acrocephalus aedon
One seen well just past the border in India.

Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus
Seen along the Lingmethang Rd.

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius

Tickell's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus affinis
This migrant was first seen in Shemgang.

Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher
Common at high elevations.

Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
Fairly common at high and mid-elevations.

Pale-rumped (Lemon-rumped) Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus
Common, especially at middle elevations.

Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei
First heard in the Mo Chhu Valley, one was seen later near Trashigang.

Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
A couple of these migrants were seen with mixed flocks.

Large-billed Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
Only seen a couple times, first in the Cheri Valley.

Blyth's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides
Common, especially at middle elevations.

Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator
Common, particularly along the Shemgang Rd.

Golden-spectacled (Green-crowned) Warbler Seicercus burkii
Two members of the Golden-spectacled Warbler complex occur in Bhutan.  This one occurs lower; best was a singing bird at Trashigang.

Whistler's Warbler Seicercus whistleri
The higher altitude of the Golden-spectacled complex, we saw it first at Dochu La.

Gray-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos
Common at middle elevations.  This species has recently been shown to be a member of the genus Phylloscopus.

White-spectacled Warbler Seicercus affinis
Seen several times in mid-altitude forests.

Gray-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys
Seen a number of times in mid-altitude forests, seemed especially common on the Lingmethang Rd.

Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps
Common, especially with mixed flocks in mid-altiture forests.

Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis
A couple were seen near Tingtibi.

Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
One seen very well in a bamboo patch near Tingtibi.

Black-faced Warbler Abroscopus schisticeps
A very handsome warbler, common in eastern Bhutan, mostly in mid-altitude forests.

Dark-sided (Siberian) Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
First seen by Christian only on the Shemgang Rd., everyone else caught up with one on the Lingmethang Rd.

Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea
One seen by those who scrambled up a streambed near Tingtibi.

Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii
Seen very well with a mixed flock in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
Quite common in the understory at mid- and upper-elevations.

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra
Heard only near Deothang.

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni
Fairly common, seen first in Shemgang.

Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris
A good number near Punakha, the only place where we saw them.

Sapphire Flycatcher Ficedula sapphire
Great views of this little gem, first near Shemgang and again on the Lingmethang Rd.

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
A very common bird, but one that you can never tire of.

Large Niltava Niltava grandis
First seen well near Trongsa, we would see it again on the Lingmethang Rd.

Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae
Common, especially by voice, we saw it best in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
Not too many seen, but we saw them very well on the Lingmethang Rd. and at Korila.

Pale Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
Seen very well on the Shemgang Rd.

Blue-throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides
Seen well several times, first at our lunch stop on the way to Pele La then again on the Lingmethang Rd.

Pygmy Blue-Flycatcher Muscicapella hodgsoni
A tough bird to see, we heard several on the Lingmethang Rd. and some people had very nice views.

Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
A common bird, most mixed flocks contained a pair.

Red-flanked Bluetail (Bush-Robin) Tarsiger cyanurus
Seen very well at some of the high passes, including near Paro, Chele La and Thrumsing La.

White-browed Bush-Robin Tarsiger indicus
A brilliant and responsive male showed superbly near Sengor. 

Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis

White-rumped Shama
Copsychus malabaricus
One near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Blue-capped Redstart Phoenicurus caeruleocephala
Christian caught a glimpse of a male in a fruiting tree in a the Mo Chhu Valley.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Christian and Tom saw one near Sengor.

Hodgson's Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni
Rather common and widespread, we saw mostly females.  A male was at our camp in the Mo Chhu Valley.

White-throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps
A winter resident nearing the end of its stay, we saw females at Chele La and later a male near Sengor.

Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis

White-capped (Water-) Redstart
Chaimarrornis leucocephalus
This stunning redstart was seen throughout the trip in appropriate habitat.

Plumbeous Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosa
A common denizen of streams and rivers in Bhutan.

White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum
Heard frequently at the appropriate altitudes, only one was seen on the Lingmethang Rd.

Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri
A wonderful pair was watched on the Lingmethang Rd.

Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus
A very responsive male was near Sandrup Jonkhar.

Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus
A beautiful pair was in the Mo Chhu Valley on our way back to Punakha.

Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculates
We first caught up with this stunner at our lunch stop on the drive to Pele La, we saw another pair briefly near Tingtibi.

Siberian (Common) Stonechat Saxicola maurus

Gray Bushchat Saxicola ferreus

Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha
A regular mixed-flock follower at mid- to upper-elevations.

White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
A lively bird that was seen a number of times at middle elevations.

White-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax albogularis
A gregarious and bold laughingthrush that was seen a number of times.

White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus
A very noisy laughingthrush, we saw it several times, including a group feeding in the middle of the road on our way to Trashigang.

Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger
A beautiful pair was well seen near Tingtibi.

Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus
A common and vocal resident, we saw them numerous times.

Rufous-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficollis
Beautiful views on the lower Lingmethang Rd.

Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush Garrulax rufogularis
Seen briefly the first time around near Shemgang, we had scope views near our camp on the Lingmethang Rd. 

Spotted Laughingthrush Garrulax ocellatus
A big and beautiful laughingthrush that we saw very well at Pele La and Thrumsing La.

Streaked Laughingthrush Garrulax lineatus
Seen several times in scrubby habitats, this form is sometimes split as Bhutan Laughingthrush G. imbricatum.

Scaly Laughingthrush Garrulax subunicolor
Sonia spied one of these skulkers with the flock of Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills on the Lingmethang Rd.

Blue-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax squamatus
Seen a couple times, best was a very cooperative pair on the roadside of the Lingmethang Rd.

Black-faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis
Another handsome laughingthrush, we had scope views at Pele La and more great views at Korila.

Chestnut-crowned (Red-headed) Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus
Common by voice, we saw them several times, including very well near Shemgang.

Red-faced (Crimson-faced) Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea
Great views were had of this beauty on the Lingmethang Rd.

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrogenys
Seen furtively several times, including near Punakha, Tingtibi, the Lingmethang Rd. and Narphung La.

White-browed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps
Only seen once by those who scrambled up a streambed near Tingtibi.

Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis
Seen a few times, perhaps best with a large mixed flock in bamboo on the Shemgang Rd.

Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler Xiphirhynchus superciliaris
A trip highlight, we had great views of this amazing bird first on the Shemgang Rd, then again on the Lingmethang Rd.

Pygmy Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla
Great views of a pair gathering nesting materials that Wendy found in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis caudatus
It took a few tries, but everyone got good looks at this skulker on the Linmethang Rd.

Spotted Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis formosus
Another skulker, we saw this one best on the Shemgang Rd.

Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps
A common resident of mid-altitude forests, most mixed flocks had a pair.

Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea
A beautiful and fairly common bird of the understory in mid-altitude forests.

Gray-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps
First seen by a few people near Tingtibi, we saw it again for everyone on the Lingmethang Rd.

Jungle Babbler (I) Turdoides striata
A couple groups were seen on the drive to Guwahati.

Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris
After getting glimpses at Narphung La, we had many great views near Deothang.

Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea
Only seen a couple times, best was at Korila.

Cutia Cutia nipalensis
Another tour highlight were the many Cutia we saw.  They put on a particularly incredible show on our last morning on the Lingmethang Rd.

Black-headed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer
This rare bird was only seen by Christian and Sonia, near Tingtibi.

White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis
Seen very well several times, including one that posed for the photographers on the Shemgang Rd.

Green Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus
Seen a few times at higher elevations than the other shrike-babblers, first in a large mixed flock at Dochu La.

Black-eared Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius melanotis
A diminutive but striking shrike-babbler, seen several times, including on the Shemgang Rd, Lingmethang Rd. and at Korila.

Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni
Seen a number of times in mid-altitude forests, it was first seen on the Shemgang Rd.

Hoary-throated Barwing Actinodura nipalensis
Seen a couple times, first (and best) at Dochu La.

Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera
Common in mid-altitude forests, usually with mixed flocks.

Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula
Numerous, often with other minlas but also occurs higher than the others.

Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta
Common with mixed flocks in mid-altitude forests.  About 30 formed the core of one flock that we found in the rain on the Lingmethang Rd.

Golden-breasted Fulvetta Alcippe chrysotis
This beautiful fulvetta was seen a few times with mixed species flocks, first on the Shemgang Rd.

Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea
Fairly common in eastern Bhutan, this warbler-like fulvetta was most numerous on the Lingmethang Rd.

Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps
Fairly widespread, we first saw this handsome little bird at Pele La.

White-browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus
Common, especially at higher altitudes.

Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis
Common and not too difficult to see despite residing in the understory, we first saw it in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Rufous-backed Sibia Heterophasia annectens
One seen well near Deothang.

Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata
One of the most common and widespread birds in Bhutan, we saw some impressive gatherings in flowering Erythrina trees on the Shemgang Rd.

Striated Yuhina Yuhina castaniceps
Seen regularly at fairly low altitudes, first near Tingtibi.

White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri
This handsome yuhina was first seen on the Lingmethang Rd.

Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis
A common resident of mid-altitude forests, often moving about in flocks.

Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis
Common and vocal at high altitudes.

Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis
Seems to replace Whiskered Yuhina at higher altitudes, where it was common.

Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta
A small yuhina typically seen in flocks at mid and lower altitudes, we first saw it near Trongsa.

White-bellied Yuhina (Erpornis) Yuhina zantholeuca
No longer considered a yuhina, this species is generally places in the enigmatic genus Erpornis.  We saw it only a couple times, first on the Shemgang Rd.

Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura
This sought after bird was seen twice, first at Dochu La by everybody, then seen again by some near Sengor.

Great Parrotbill Conostoma oemodium
Only one pair was found, near Sengor, where most people saw them.

Brown Parrotbill Paradoxornis unicolor
Outstanding looks were had of a group of about eight of these parrotbills at Pele La.

Black-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis nipalensis
A couple of these handsome birds were seen in a mixed flock in bamboo on the Shemgang Rd.

(Greater) Rufous-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis ruficeps
One group of these beautiful parrotbills was seen on the Lingmethang Rd.

Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
Flocks of this species were regularly seen at middle elevations, below the following species.

Black-browed (Rufous-fronted) Tit Aegithalos iouschistos
The higher elevation of the Aegithalos in Bhutan, this species is often split from the Chinese form as Rufous-fronted Tit.

Coal Tit Periparus ater

Rufous-vented Tit Periparus rubidiventris

Gray-crested Tit Lophophanes dichrous

Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus

Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus
This handsome tit was seen several times in mid-elevation forests, first along the Shemgang Rd.

Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus

Sultan Tit
Melanochlora sultanea
This huge tit was seen three times, first along the Shemgang Rd.

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea

White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis

Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta Formosa
Although we saw it three times, it proved remarkably elusive and not everybody saw it well.

Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria
This winter resident was seen several times, first in the Cheri Valley (on a chorten!).  Later three were seen on the same road cut between Pele La and Trongsa.

Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris

Rusty-flanked Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis
Seen well a couple times at higher altitudes such as Dochu La and Pele La.

Brown-throated Treecreeper Certhia discolor
Seen at lower altitudes than Rusty-flanked, it was seen very well the first time we found it as we descended Dochu La.

Fire-capped Tit Cephalopyrus flammiceps
Seen well twice, first in the Mo Chhu Valley then again at our lunch stop on the way to Pele La.

(Mrs.) Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
Seen best in the Cheri Valley where it was rather common, but numbers dropped off further east.

Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
The common sunbird at high altitudes.

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturate
The common sunbird at mid-altitudes.

Eastern Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
First seen by some people at Trashigang, the rest caught up with a male near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda
A few pairs were seen at Pele La, where they were outnumbered by Green-tailed Sunbirds.

Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
A few were seen at lower elevations, such as the lower Lingmethang Rd.

Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor
One was seen very well near Sandrup Jonkhar.

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectum

Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus

Slender-billed Oriole Oriolus tenuirostris
One was seen well near Punakha.

Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii
A common resident of mid-altitude forests, we saw them first in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach

Gray-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
First seen near Punakha, we also saw them in India.

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus

Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer

Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Seen harassing a Great Hornbill near Samdrup Jonkhar.

Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus

Gold-billed (Yellow-billed Blue) Magpie Urocissa flavirostris

(Common) Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
This beautiful corvid was seen well near Tingtibi.

Rufous Treepie (I) Dendrocitta vagabunda
It became common on the Indian plains.

Gray Treepie Dendrocitta formosae

Eurasian Magpie Pica pica

Eurasian Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus
One seen only briefly at Chele La.

House Crow Corvus splendens

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Common and widespread.  The lowland form, which we saw near Sandrup Jonkhar, is sometimes split as Eastern Jungle Crow, C. levaillantii.

Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
A few were seen well near Sandrup Jonkhar.

Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus
These were common once we entered India.

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis

Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra

Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnia malabarica
First seen at the Punakha Dzong, we saw many more of them near Sandrup Jonkhar.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Nutmeg Mannikin (Scaly-breasted Munia) Lonchura punctulata

Plain Mountain-Finch Leucosticte nemoricola
Common, especially at high altitudes, it was not unusual to see flocks of over 100 birds twirling around.

Crimson-browed Finch Pinicola subhimachala
Males and females both seen very well, first at Pele La then again near Trongsa. 

Dark-breasted Rosefinch Carpodacus nipalensis
A small group at Dochu La were a welcome sight after the snowstorm cleared.

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
We saw females a few times, first on the Shemgang Rd.  Males were seen only near Trashigang.

Beautiful Rosefinch Carpodacus pulcherrimus
Seen a couple times in scrubby habitat, first near Pele La.  The nominate form from the Himalayas is sometimes split from the Chinese form as Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch.

Dark-rumped Rosefinch Carpodacus edwardsii
One male was seen well just after the snow cleared at Dochu La.

White-browed Rosefinch Carpodacus thura
Seen a couple times, first at Chele La, then males and females at Pele La and finally a female was with a mixed flock at Thrumsing La.  The nominate form from the Himalayas is sometimes split from the Chinese form as Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch.

Yellow-breasted (Himalayan) Greenfinch Carduelis spinoides
Seen only a handful of times, first near Thimphu.

Tibetan Serin Serinus thibetanus
Only Ian and Josh saw a flock winging its way down the Mo Chhu Valley, fortunately we found more cooperative flocks near Trongsa that perched for us.

Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis
This sluggish bird was seen a few times, first along the Shemgang Rd. then better the next time around with scope views on the Lingmethang Rd.

Red-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythrocephala
A very confiding group of females was a welcome sight after the snowstorm at Dochu La.  Further down the slope we would find males and females.

Collared Grosbeak Mycerobas affinis
First seen well at Chele La, another male was at Pele La with a group of White-winged Grosbeaks.

White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes
Seen a number of times mostly at high altitudes, such as Chele La and Pele La.

Gold-naped Finch Pyrrhoplectes epaulette
We had nice views of two females early on the Lingmethang Rd., then spectacular looks at another confiding female lower down a few days later.

Scarlet Finch Haematospiza sipahi
A brilliant group that Norbu found showed very well on the Lingmethang Rd.

Crested Bunting Melophus lathami
First was a singing bird near Punakha, we saw a number of others in agricultural areas later on.

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla
This winter visitor was seen several times in scrubby habitats as far west as Thimphu and as far east as Narphung.

 

 

Golden Langur Presbytis geei
This beautiful monkey was common and very confiding on the Shemgang Rd.

Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus
Seen only a couple times, first on the Lingmethang Rd. then again near Sandrup Jonkhar.

Nepal Gray Langur Semnopithecus schistaceus
The highest ranging of the langurs, we saw them in the west such as at Pele La.

Assam Macaque Macaca assemensis
The most widespread primate we saw.

Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatto
Seen only near Sandrup Jonkhar.

Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula
This beautiful mustelid was seen a number of times, including feeding on rhododendron nectar in the Cheri Valley.

Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjac
Seen only by Peta near Sengor, the rest of us heard them at night on the Lingmethang Rd.

Himalayan Pika Ochotona roylei

Large-eared Pika Ochotona macrotis

Hodgson's Flying-Squirrel Petaurista magnificus
One of these huge flying squirrels was seen while spotlighting on the Lingmethang Rd.

Black Giant Squirrel Ratuga bicolor
This beautiful behemoth was seen on the Shemgang Rd.

Orange-bellied Squirrel Dremomys lokriah

Hoary-bellied Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus

Himalayan Striped Squirrel Tamiops mcclellandii

Goral Nemorhaedus goral
This wonderful animal was first seen in the Cheri Valley, but was seen much better in the Mo Chhu Valley.

Himalayan Serow Capricornis sumatraensis
A mother and her single young were seen on a hillside on the Lingmethang Rd.

Himalayan Black Bear Ursus thibetanus
A mother and her cub were seen very well on the Lingmethang Rd. just after seeing the Serow.  Certainly the mammal of the trip!!

KAZIRANGA EXTENSION  TRIP LIST
215 species.  Species marked with an asterisk (*) were seen only on the extension.

Species Scientific name
Little Grebe* Tachybaptus ruficollis
Spot-billed Pelican* Pelecanus philippensis
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger
Darter* Anhinga melanogaster
Gray Heron* Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Ardea alba
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
Woolly-necked Stork* Ciconia episcopus
Black-necked Stork* Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus
Greater Adjutant* Leptoptilos dubius
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Common Shelduck* Tadorna tadorna
Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Gadwall* Anas strepera
Spot-billed Duck* Anas poecilorhyncha
Northern Pintail* Anas acuta
Northern Shoveler* Anas clypeata
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Ferruginous Pochard* Aythya nyroca
Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Pallas' Fish-Eagle* Haliaeetus leucoryphus
Gray-headed Fish-Eagle* Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
White-rumped Vulture* Gyps bengalensis
Slender-billed Vulture* Gyps tenuirostris
Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis
Eurasian Griffon* Gyps fulvus
Red-headed Vulture* Sarcogyps calvus
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
Shikra* Accipiter badius
Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
Changeable Hawk-Eagle* Spizaetus cirrhatus
Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Swamp Francolin* Francolinus gularis
Red Junglefowl* Gallus gallus
Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos
Barred Buttonquail* Turnix suscitator
Brown Crake* Amaurornis akool
White-breasted Waterhen* Amaurornis phoenicurus
Watercock* Gallicrex cinerea
Bengal Florican* Houbaropsis bengalensis
Little Bustard* Tetrax tetrax
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
Gray-headed Lapwing* Vanellus cinereus
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Common Ringed Plover* Charadrius hiaticula
Long-billed Plover* Charadrius placidus
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Pintail Snipe* Gallinago stenura
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Common Greenshank* Tringa nebularia
Marsh Sandpiper* Tringa stagnatilis
Wood Sandpiper* Tringa glareola
Common Redshank* Tringa totanus
Little Stint* Calidris minuta
Ruff* Philomachus pugnax
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
River Tern* Sterna aurantia
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Oriental Turtle-Dove Streptopelia orientalis
Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Thick-billed Pigeon* Treron curvirostra
Yellow-footed Pigeon* Treron phoenicopterus
Green Imperial-Pigeon* Ducula aenea
Alexandrine Parakeet* Psittacula eupatria
Rose-ringed Parakeet* Psittacula krameri
Blossom-headed Parakeet* Psittacula roseata
Red-breasted Parakeet* Psittacula alexandri
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo* Clamator coromandus
Large Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides
Indian Cuckoo* Cuculus micropterus
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus
Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
Greater Coucal* Centropus sinensis
Lesser Coucal* Centropus bengalensis
Brown Fish-Owl* Ketupa zeylonensis
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Spotted Owlet* Athene brama
Gray Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus
Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
Red-headed Trogon* Harpactes erythrocephalus
Stork-billed Kingfisher* Pelargopsis capensis
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Pied Kingfisher* Ceryle rudis
Blue-tailed Bee-eater* Merops philippinus
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater* Merops leschenaulti
Indian Roller* Coracias benghalensis
Dollarbird* Eurystomus orientalis
Oriental Pied-Hornbill* Anthracoceros albirostris
Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Great Barbet Megalaima virens
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii
Blue-eared Barbet* Megalaima australis
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
White-browed Piculet* Sasia ochracea
Gray-capped Woodpecker* Dendrocopos canicapillus
Streak-throated Woodpecker* Picus xanthopygaeus
Black-rumped Flameback* Dinopium benghalense
Blue-naped Pitta* Pitta nipalensis
Bengal Bushlark* Mirafra assamica
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
Striated Swallow* Cecropis striolata
Bank Swallow* Riparia riparia
Plain Martin* Riparia paludicola
Asian Martin Delichon dasypus
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Yellow Wagtail* Motacilla flava
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei
Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melaschistos
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
Ashy Minivet* Pericrocotus divaricatus
Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus
Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Zitting Cisticola* Cisticola juncidis
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Ashy Prinia* Prinia socialis
Plain Prinia* Prinia inornata
Dusky Warbler* Phylloscopus fuscatus
Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus
Blyth's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides
Striated Grassbird* Megalurus palustris
Taiga Flycatcher* Ficedula albicilla
Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae
Pale-chinned Blue-Flycatcher* Cyornis poliogenys
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
White-tailed Rubythroat* Luscinia pectoralis
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Black-naped Monarch* Hypothymis azurea
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush* Garrulax pectoralis
Rufous-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficollis
Abbott's Babbler* Malacocincla abbotti
Puff-throated Babbler* Pellorneum ruficeps
Large Scimitar-Babbler* Pomatorhinus hypoleucos
Rufous-fronted Babbler* Stachyris rufifrons
Striped Tit-Babbler* Macronous gularis
Chestnut-capped Babbler* Timalia pileata
Yellow-eyed Babbler* Chrysomma sinense
Jungle Babbler Turdoides striata
Striated Babbler* Turdoides earlei
Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata
Coal Tit Periparus ater
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch* Sitta frontalis
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird* Chalcoparia singalensis
Eastern Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Little Spiderhunter* Arachnothera longirostra
Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectum
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Black-hooded Oriole* Oriolus xanthornus
Asian Fairy-bluebird* Irena puella
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Gray-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus
Large Woodshrike* Tephrodornis gularis
Common Woodshrike* Tephrodornis pondicerianus
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
House Crow Corvus splendens
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Slender-billed Oriole Oriolus tenuirostris
Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnia malabarica
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
White-vented Myna* Acridotheres grandis
Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Bank Myna* Acridotheres ginginianus
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Baya Weaver* Ploceus philippinus
Yellow Weaver* Ploceus megarhynchus
Chestnut Munia* Lonchura atricapilla
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
Mammals Checklist
Species Scientific name
Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatra
Hoolock Gibbon* Hylobates hoolock
Grey Langur Presbytis entellus
Common Palm Civet* Paradoxurus hermaphroditus
Tiger* Panthera tigris
Indian Elephant* Elephas maximus
Indian Rhinoceros* Rhinoceros unicornis
Wild Boar* Sus scrofa
Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjac
Swamp Deer* Cervus duvauceli
Hog Deer* Cervus porcinus
Sambar Deer* Cervus unicolor
Water Buffalo* Bubalus arnee
Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor