With a total of 680 different species of birds, of which many are considered rare or endangered, Bhutan has a thriving avian life. Come, here’s a look at some of the most beautiful birds you can spot in this mountain kingdom.
Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers and ornithologists
The world’s largest population of white-bellied herons are found in Bhutan.
Did you know? Bhutan now has the largest population of the critically endangered white-bellied heron in the world at almost 47%.
You can spot the glossy Baer’s Pochard in Bhutan.
Named after the Estonian naturalist Karl Ernst von Baer, this glossy diving duck is found mainly in eastern Asia. In 2008, the Baer’s pochard was put on the critically endangered bird species list.
The black, yellow and white Great Hornbill makes for a majestic sight in Bhutan.
Along with the rufous-necked, wreathed, and oriental pied hornbill, the rare great hornbill can also be seen at Morong and Tingtibi in Bhutan.
You may see the crimson horned pheasant, satyr tragopan, in the Himalayas.
Also known as the crimson horned pheasant, the satyr tragopan is native to the Himalayan region and can be found at Sengor, Namling, Gasa, Koina, Laya, and along the Packhorse Trail near Dochu La in Bhutan.
If you’re lucky, you will get to spot the beautiful fire-tailed myzornis on a Bhutan holiday.
Nestling amidst bamboo thickets, junipers, and Rhododendron shrubs, the rare fire-tailed myzornis, with its emerald-green feathers and a bright red tail, is a common sight in tropical Bhutan.
Rufous-Breasted Bush Robin
The vibrant colours of the rufous-breasted bush robin is a sight for sore eyes!
Found in the forests between Namling and Yongkhala, Deothang and Samdrup Jongkhar, and Gasa-Koina-Laya, the rufous-breasted bush robin is easily recognised by its dark royal blue and ochre yellow feathers.
Also known as the Himalayan Vulture, the Himalayan Griffon is a huge carrion-feeding bird found in the Jigme Dorji National Park during May and June. It is perhaps the largest and heaviest birds found in the Himalayas.
Slender-Billed Scimitar Babbler
This dull brown babbler stands out due to its slender, stunningly curved bill. The slender-billed scimitar babbler can be seen in the forests between Namling and Yongkhala, Damji and Gasa, and along the Packhorse Trail near Dochu La in Bhutan.
The pallid harrier is a medium-size bird of prey that is found in open country.
A migratory bird of prey, the pallid harrier is on the near-threatened list of global bird species. The mid-size raptor seen in Bhutan breeds on open plains, heathland and bogs, drifting low to the ground to hunt small mammals, lizards and birds.
Ibisbill is apparently a monogamous breeder.
Found in the Jigme Dorji National Park and the Bumthang Valley, the Ibisbill is a grey wading bird with a white belly, red legs and downward curved bill. Not very shy of humans, these birds prefer to swim across rivers instead of flying.
Black-necked cranes form long-lasting pairs and are territorial during the breeding season.
The last-ever species of crane to be discovered by ornithologists, the black-necked crane is also known as the Alpine Crane. They form small groups and forage on the ground, with one bird keeping guard.
Eurasian Peregrine Falcon
The Eurasian peregrine falcon is highly trainable, with many being bred in captivity.
Historically known as the duck hawk, the Eurasian peregrine falcon is an intimidating raptor that preys on smaller birds and bats. This versatile bird is a strong hunter, who mates for life and normally nests on cliffs or even tall buildings.
White-Throated Bush Chat
The rapid loss of grasslands has led to a reduction in the number of white-throated bush chat.
Also known as Hodgson’s bushchat, the endangered white-throated bush chat is a small and shy bird. With a population estimated at between 2,500 and 10,000, this species has been classified as vulnerable.
Hunting, habitat degradation has put the ferruginous duck on threatened species list.
Boasting of a deep chestnut-coloured plume, the Ferruginous Duck is a medium-size diver duck on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These birds often feed at night, eating aquatic plants with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish.
Pallas’s Fish Eagle
Overfishing, pollution and hunting contribute to the decline of the Pallas’s fish eagle species.
Also known as the band-tailed fish eagle, the Pallas’s fish eagle is a rare species found in Bhutan. This large, brownish sea is a partially migratory bird feed on fish and smaller sea birds and is listed as vulnerable with a population of 2,500 to 10,000.
Which one is your favourite among these?