Birding in Bhutan

Although Bhutan is a relatively small country it has an immense variety of landscapes, and habitats, ranging from low tropical forest in the south of the country to vast Himalayan peaks in the north. Thanks to government efforts it also has a significant number of national parks, and sanctuaries, which help to preserve the indigenous wildlife. The upshot is that Bhutan is one of the most biodiverse countries in the region and host to wild horses, monkeys, black bears, yak, wolves, blue sheep, elephants, tigers, snow leopards, red panda, the unique takin and a yeti or two - to name but a few of the 200 species of mammal that can be found in the country.

Bhutan is also home to an estimated 600 species of birds and whilst it can be difficult to find the larger, rarer mammals it is easier to arrange a bird-watching tour to take in some of the diverse birdlife that the country has to offer. Birding tours come with specialist guides and often mean early starts to get to the best location to see birds at their most active. They also tend to access some more remote parts of the country, often by way of camping. 

Possibly the most famous, and certainly, the most revered bird in Bhutan in the black-necked crane. This rare bird usually resides in Tibet but when the climate turns bitterly cold there in November they migrate to neighbouring Bhutan. One of their favourite winter destinations is the Phobjikha Valley and it is usual for around 300-400 birds to make their way here for the months of November through to February. Their arrival in November usually coincides with the end of the harvesting period and a special Black-Necked Crane festival is held in the valley each year to herald the return of this fabled bird.

Other birds are not so easy to pinpoint to a specific time and place but if you would like a tour to focus on the birdlife in Bhutan please let us know and we can put together a suitable itinerary. 

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