Nepal, holds over 874 species of Birds, despite being a small country. The geographical location, along with the ecotonal presence of being sandwiched between two ecozones; Palaearctic ecozone to the north and Indo- Malayan to the south, has a mixture of both components which gives it very rich biodiversity. Despite occupying just a small area in the world, Nepal has around 8.9 % of total bird species of the world. The pristine habitat with diverse landscape makes Nepal a paradise for birds and birdwatchers. Nepal's primary economic development is dependant on agriculture and tourism. A fair number of tourists come to Nepal for wildlife safaris and bird watching. There are multiple prime bird watching locations, in various part of the country that is famous for the diversity of birds. More than 500 species of birds thrive around Kathmandu valley.
Bird watching is a fast-spreading activity, while Nepal is becoming one of the well-known destinations for Bird Watching!
Destinations for bird watching in Nepal
1.Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is one of the better-known destinations for Birdwatching. It is home to around 485 species of birds. Indian Nightjar, Watercock, White-Tailed Stonechat, Common goldeneye, Gull-billed Tern, Greater Adjutant stork, Bengal Florican are some of the species that can be found there.
Best Season for bird watching in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:
The best period for bird watching in this region is from October to March
How to reach Koshi Tappu:
Koshi Tappu lies in Eastern Nepal. The wildlife reserve is about 512 km from Kathmandu. You can either take a bus or fly from Kathmandu to Biratnagar. If you take a coach, you need to get off at Laukahi from where it is a 20-minute walk to the entrance of the park. You can get to the reserve easily if you fly to Biratnagar as the reserve is only 48 km from the airport.
There are several hotels and resorts in the surrounding area at Kashi Tappu.
2. Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is a haven for wildlife safari and birdwatching. The 932 sq. Km National Park is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger add the great one horned Rhino. It is home to a staggering 543 species of birds, and the numbers are increasing with bird species returning after decades of absence. Some of the common birds that are found in Chitwan are Sunbirds, Woodpeckers, Peacocks, Kingfishers, and Storks. The best period for birdwatching here is from April to June and from September to January.
You can get to Chitwan by either taking a bus or private car to Sauraha, or Jagatpur or Meghauli or fly to Bharatpur.
There are many guest houses, resorts and hotels of various standards at Sauraha, Jagatpur, and Meghauli.
3. Phulchoki and Shivapuri National park
There are more than 500 species of birds inside the Kathmandu valley alone. Two of the prime locations for Birdwatching in Kathmandu are The Shivapuri National park and Phulchoki. The endemic bird of Nepal - Spiny Babbler, is found in Shivapuri national park. Some birds such as Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Kalij Pheasant, Hill Partridge, Great Barbet, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Ringrose Parakeets, Shrikes, etcetera can be sighted in these places.
Birding in these areas are good except for the monsoon months of June to September.
Shivapuri national park and Phulchoki both lie in proximity of Kathmandu valley and can be reached relatively quickly.
4. Annapurna Conservation Area
The ACAP area provides diverse opportunities for birding as it starts from subtropical forests below 800 meters to some towering peaks along with wetlands.
Some of the vast variety of birds that are spotted here are Hoopoe, Jungle Crows; Red vented Bulbuls, Snow Pigeons, Chukar partridges, various types of Vultures are the commonly seen. The best seasons for bird watching in this area are the fall and Spring season. It comes alive with scores of Migratory birds during the winter that migrates from Siberia other parts of Europe.
The best season for birdwatching in the Annapurna area is from late August to early November.
The Annapurna conservation area is a large conservation area with multiple entry points.