750 & more species with 26 threatened birds
Bhutan a Bird-Watcher's Paradise
Bhutan has 70% forest coverage which translates to a literal paradise for birding and infinite avian delights.
Bhutan has more than 750 recorded species of birds, of which 14 are globally endangered. The country’s diverse flora and fauna make it a prime destination for those interested in bird watching, ethno-botany, photography, and other academic pursuits. Bhutan Travelers offers customized trips to delve deeper and explore these fields professionally. With our expert guides and specialized packages, you will be getting the best out of Bhutan.
The Royal Manas Birding
This 500 km stretch tour will take you through districts of east to western Bhutan exploring all bird rich areas. Besides, we have an extension to the Royal Manas, which is a Chituwan of Bhutan – the sanctuary for avifauna. We see many tropical and sub-tropical birds while in Manas and tracing your journey from southern belt to the highlands. During 21-day trip, we come across many bird species – some rare, critically threatened and some common flocks and also see some animals. The trip is also being highlighted by visits to some of the top sights and a memorable hike to famous Tiger’s Nest in Paro.
Day 1 - Arrive Guwahati – Samdrup Jongkhar, 110 km
Today you will take a flight to Guwahati. Our representative will receive you at the Guwahati airport. From the airport, you will drive to Samdrup Jongkhar through beautiful tea gardens, crystal-clear rivers interspersed with quaint villages, and vibrant small townships. Samdrup Jongkhar is a district in the southeastern part of Bhutan bordering the Indian state of Assam. It is known for its rich biodiversity and is a popular destination for bird watching. Tonight, is at leisure, you can rest and recharge in your hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 2 - Bird watching in Samdrup Jongkhar
Today you will explore the different tropical forests in Samdrup Jongkhar which is home to a wide variety of bird species, including several that are endemic to the Eastern Himalayas. Some common birds found are Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Puff-throated Babbler, Oriental White-eye, Great Tit, Jungle Myna, and Rosy Starling. Furthermore, you can hope to observe four different species of Hornbills, classified as vulnerable by ICUN Red List – Rufous-necked, Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied.
You will catch glimpses of the impressive Blyth’s Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Blue-eared Barbet, Black-hooded Oriole, Black-backed Forktail, Thick-billed Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat, Common Iora, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Pin-striped Tit Babbler and Little Spiderhunter. Overnight at a hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 3 - Samdrup Jongkhar - Trashigang, 180 km
After breakfast, you will begin your journey to Trashigang, the major commercial hub of the eastern Bhutan. This is going to be stunning journey passing through varied tropical to broadleaved forests, villages, and varied vegetation zones. Look for Rufous-necked Hornbill, Lesser Cuckoo, Red-rumped Swallow, Pied Harrier, Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Long-tailed Broadbill and Scaly-breasted Munia. Our next stop will be Morong- an amazing spot for the Beautiful Nuthatch, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia, Mountain Tailorbird, White-browed Shrike Babbler, White-throated Fantail, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Long-tailed Sibia and Straited Yuhina. Continue driving, on the way you will stop at Khaling to see the National Institute for the Disabled (School for the blind). Few kilometers further is Sherubtse, the only premier college in the country. The impressive clock tower and green surrounding give this college the feel of a Himalayan hill station. From here, drive downhill till Trashigang passing through the villages of Rongthong and Pam. Overnight at a hotel in Trashigang.
Day 4 - Trashigang – Yongkola, 125 km
Get ready for an exhilarating drive through Sheri Chhu valley where the road climbs in 10 hairpins bend in a total stretch of 10 km, also known as the Yadi Loops. You will make a stop in Kori La pass at 2450 and look for Hill Partridge, Asian Barred Owlet, Gre-sided Laughingthrush, Scarlet Finch, White-collard Blackbird, Fire-capped Tit and Rufous-winged Fulvetta. Next descend from the pass to Mongar where you will make a stop and wander around the small township. Then continue driving to Lingmethang where if lucky you might spot the rare Tawny Fish Owl, Steppe Eagle, the localized Crested Bunting, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Black-throated Prinia and Common Stonechat. Continue to Yongkola and check into your accommodation. Overnight at a farmhouse in Yongkola.
Day 5&6 - Bird watching in Yongkola
You will have two full days of birding Phrumsengla National Paro, also known as Thrumshingla National Park. The park is in the east covering an area of 1600 sq. kilometers known for its rich biodiversity and hot spot for birding. You will be bird watching in few of the finest birding locations in the world – Yongkola, Namling, Tshamang and Lingmethang. Look for Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Long-billed Thrush, Yellow-throated and Golden-breasted Fulvettas, Long-billed and Rufous-throated Wren Babblers, Black Bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Black-headed Shrike-babbler, White-gorgeted, Pygmy Blue Flycatchers and White-breasted Parrotbill. The next day you will explore the broad-leafed forests of Lingmethang where you might spot the colorful Red-faced Liocichla, Maroon Oriole, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Rufous-bellied Niltava and Grey-Bellied Tesia. One of the highlights shall be the night excursion to see the Bhutan Giant Flying Squirrel, the localized Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Brown Wood Owl and if lucky Mountain Scops Owl. Overnight at a farmhouse in Yongolka.
Day 7 - Yongkola-Bumthang, 140 km
After breakfasting this morning, you will begin your journey to central Bhutan- Bumthang. En route stop in Sengor valley targeting for special birds such as the Satyr Tragopan, Solitary Snipe, Fire-tailed Myzornis ann Fire-tailed Sunbird. From Sengor ascend to Thrumshing La pass at an altitude of 3780 meters. Here you may spot the rare Fulvous Parrotbill, Eurasian Woodcock, Fufous-breasted Bush Robin and Black-throated and Chestnut Thrushes. From the pass you will descend through dense forest of conifer, which is home to Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasants, Brown Bullfinch, Little Bunting, Spotted Nutcracker, Whistlers Warbler and Grey-crested. You will pass the picturesque village of Ura and finally arrive Bumthang. Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.
Day 8 - Bumthang
In the morning, you will begin your journey to Tharpaling Monastery at 3800m for birding. The area is known for a variety of bird species such as the Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Snow Pigeon, Altai Accentor, Red-bellied Chough, Rosefinches (Himalayan White-browed and Beautiful), Laughingthrushes (Black-faced, Spotted), Redstarts (White-throated, Durian), Himalayan Bluetail, Goldcrest and Bullfinches (Brown, and Red-headed). You will also explore patches of bamboo thicket and if lucky you might spot the Great Parrotbill, Rufous-breasted Accentor and Redstarts (Hodgson’s and Blue-fronted). In the evening, you will look for the elusive Himalayan Wood Owl. Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.
Day 9 - Bumthang-Trongsa, 90 km
After breakfast, you will drive to Trongsa through Yotong La Pass at 3450m where you will stop to spot few high-altitude birds namely White-winged Grosbeak, Great Parrotbill, Red-headed Bullfinch, Hume’s Bush Warbler, Whiskered Yuhina, Red Crossbill, Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch and Hoary-throated Barwing. Continue driving to Trongsa. Visit the Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture and one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan. Later visit the Watch Tower or Ta Dzong, the National Museum. After this, you can browse through the shops in Trongsa town. Overnight at a hotel in Trongsa.
Day 10 - Trongsa-Tingtibi, 90 km
Today you will journey along the serene forest road towards Tingtibi. As we drive, we will keep an eye out for Blue Whistling Thrushes and Spotted Forktail at the picturesque mossy waterfalls that dot the route. The entire stretch of the journey is breathtaking as we search for an array of rare and unique bird species in the mixed broad-leafed forests that range from an altitude of 2000m to 700m. On the drive you will also spot the endangered Golden Langur sitting in groups along the roadside forests. In the morning excursion lookout for Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Collared Owlet, Great Barbet, Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, Green-backed Tit, White-throated Laughingthrush, Spot-winged Starling, Ashy Bulbul, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, White-tailed Nuthatch, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Sapphire and Ferruginous Flycatchers, Large Niltava, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Blue Rock Thrush, Chestnut-headed Tesia, and Tibetan Siskin. As we reach the warmer sub-tropical region of Tingtibi, we will search for Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Common Cuckoo, Crested Kingfisher, the elusive Daurian Redstart, the vibrant Emerald Dove, and the Rufous-necked Laughingthrush. Overnight at a hotel in Tingtibi.
Day 11 - Birding in Tingtibi
We will explore the temperate forest of Tingtibi, looking for bamboo specialists’ species such as White-hooded Babbler, Pale-billed Parrotbill, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Warbler, and Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler. This part of the trail is home to two restricted-range birds of the Endemic Bird Area-Broad-billed Warbler and White-naped Yuhina. Additionally, we will search for ICUN Red List vulnerable Great Hornbill, Grey-crowned Prinia, Warbler (Yellow-vented and Broad-billed), Mountain Tailorbird, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Red-headed Trogon, Sultan Tit, Minivets (Scarlet and Long-tailed), Long-tailed Sibia, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Crested Serpent Eagle, Bar-winged Flycatchershrike, Ashy Woodswallow, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Common Iora, Black-naped Monarch, Black-hooded Oriole, and Common Green Magpie. Overnight at a hotel in Tingtibi.
Day 12 - Tingtibi – Panbang, 86 km
Today you will drive to Panbang, home to White-browed Piculet, Rufous-faced Warbler, Pale-headed Woodpecker, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill, White-hooded Babbler, Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon and White-rumped Munia, Smoky Warbler. Drive along the Mangde Chhu River where you will look for the critically endandered and the rarest bird in Bhutan – White-bellied Heron with only an estimated of 60 individuals left in the wild. The Royal Manas National Park is also located in Panbang. The park is renowned as the top birding spots in Bhutan. The area gets maximum rainfall in the country. This makes the area a thriving sub-tropical ecosystem. Apart from large number of bird species, it is a haven for other wildlife such as langur, tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and samber. Continue driving to Panbang through forests of mixed broad-leaved forests and thick undergrowth with numerous birds such as barbets, hornbills, bulbuls, doves, woodpecker, and cuckoos. Overnight at Eco camp in Panbang.
Day 13 - Royal Manas National Park
Today is a full day exploration of the Royal Manas National Park. Some of the common birds spotted are Crested Serpent Eagle, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Lineated Barbet, Eurasian Wryneck, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Greater (Flameback) Goldenback, Red-breasted Parakeet, Plaintive Cuckoo, Lesses Racket-tailed Drongo, Great Myna, Red-headed Trogon and Yellow Wagtail. The rare bird species are Grey Peacock Pheasant, Collared Treepie, Hooded Pitta, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Green Cochoa and Silver-breasted Broadbill. Overnight at Eco camp in Panbang.
Day 14 - Panbang – Gelephu, 140 km
Today you will drive to Gelephu through the forests of mixed mixed broad-leaved forests and thick undergrowth. Make a stop at Tama La Pass at 1660m where you will see new birds such as Oriental Honey Buzzard, Shikra, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Swift, Golden-throated Barbet, Greater Yellownape, Long-tailed Minivet, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Grey-sided Bush Warbler and White-tailed Robin. From the pass, continue driving to Gelephu. Gelephu is the southernmost district of Bhutan ordering with Bhutan.It is well known for spotting few species of owls so you will have a night excursion to spot Brown Hawk Owl, Spotted Owlet and if lucky the Oriental Bay Owl. Overnight at a hotel in Gelephu.
Day 15 - Gelephu – Tsirang, 100 km
Early morning, you will have a small birding session in Gelephu before driving to Tsirang. Head over to the Gelephu sewage pond to target species such as Black Baza, Black Stork, Sand Lark, Great Thick-knee and Common Sandpiper. Head back to hotel for breakfast and then begin driving to Tsirang. Make occasional stops along the way for Indian Peaowl, Jungle Babbler, Oriental Magpie Robin, Brown Shrike, Ashy Woodswallow, House Crow, Cuckoo, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Indian Roller, Coppersmith Barbet, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush and Common Hill Myna. Overnight at a hotel in Tsirang.
Day 16 - Tsirang – Punakha, 120 km
Traveling through the fragrant pine and lush broad-leafed forests early in the morning, we will be on the look out for some of the most elusive species, such as the Great Hornbill, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Barbets (Blue-eared, Golden-throated, Great, & Blue-throated), Sunbirds (Black-throated, Crimson, Purple), Orange-bellied Leafbird, Woodpeckers (Grey-capped Pygmy, Fulvous-breasted, Rufous, Bay), Nuthatches (Chestnut-bellied, Velvet-fronted (rarity), White-tailed Nuthatch, Eagles (Crested Serpent, Mountain Hawk and Black) and Minivets (Scarlet, Grey-chinned, and Long-tailed).
Day 17 - Punakha
In the early morning hours, we set out on the road to Gasa province to observe some interesting bird species, such as the monotypic Spotted Elachura, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Maroon Oriole, Mountain Bulbul, White-bellied Erpornis, Black-chinned Yuhina, Black-throated Sunbird, Spotted and Black-backed Forktails, Hodgson’s and Rusty-flanked Treecreepers, White-tailed Nuthatch and Plain-backed, Long-tailed and Scaly Thrushes. Later that afternoon, we will explore the Pho-Chhu river in search of bird species listed critically endangered – White-bellied Heron, Greater Spotted Eagle, River Lapwing and Pallas’s Fish Eagle, as well as migratory waterfowls, such as Common Pochard and Ferruginous Duck. Other notable species in this habitat are the Brown Dipper, Crested and Common Kingfishers, Osprey and White-browed Wagtail. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 18 - Punakha – Paro, 124 km
In the morning, you will visit the Punakha Dzong, the former capital of Bhutan, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. After the visit, you will spend some time birding along the Puna Tsang Chhu River looking for water birds such as Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, White-browed Wagtail and River Lapwing. Continue your scenic drive with to Paro with a stop at Lampelri Botanical Park and search for Speckled Wood Pigeon, Darjeeling Woodpeckers, Ashy-throated and Buff Barred Warblers, Grey-winged Babbler and White-browed Shortwing. Just few kilometers away is Dochu La Pass at 3100 meters, where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, you will drive downhill till Thimphu and continue further to Paro. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 19 - Excursion to Chele La Pass
Morning you will go for an excursion to Chele La Pass. Chele La pass is the highest motorable point at 3990 meters. On the way stop by the Pa Chhu River to spot Black-tailed Crake, Wallcreeper and Mandarin Duck to name a few. Continue driving to the pass. At the pass you will walk along the ridges each higher than the last. On clear weather you can see stunning views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake on your right and Mount Kanchenjunga in Sikkim, the world’s third highest mountain, on your distant left. Here you might be able to photograph Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Cuckoo, Wood Snipe, Red-headed Bullfinch, White-browed Bush Robin and Red-throated Thrush. Venture further up to the last ridge, Kungkarpo at 4200 meters. This spot is used as a sky burial. You can take well-deserved rest and enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the ridge you can descend towards the left to enjoy the scenic views of Paro and Haa valley. Hike back and drive to your hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 20 - Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. On the journey look for Large-bellied Crow, Red-billed Chough, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Yuhina and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Lunch will be served at Cafeteria restaurant located up on the mountain. From the cafeteria, you will hike for another 30 minutes till the monastery. You will see flocks of Snow Pigeon, Altai Accentor, Little Forktail, White-capped and Plumbeous Water Redstarts. After having explored the monastery, you will have back to valley floor. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 21 - Depart Paro
Morning you will drive to Paro for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell. We hope you had a wonderful birding trip with us.
SOUTH EAST - CENTRAL -WESTERN BHUTAN
Lateral Bhutan Birding
3 - 23 March
21D / 20N
Experience 21 days birding trip led by our experienced guide. Taking a trans Bhutan trip starting south east Samdrup Jongkhar to central and eventually finishing in the western part of Bhutan, you will traverse elevations from 150m up to 3890m exploring varied habitats and avifauna. You may also see some mammals such as endemic golden langur, himalayan giant squirrel, yellow-throated marten, and himalayan goral.
CRANE FESTIVAL WEST - CENTRAL - EAST BHUTAN
Black-Necked Crane Festival
6 - 23 Nov
18D / 17N
This fall birding tour is the perfect opportunity to experience the Black-necked Crane festival in the Phobjikha Valley. This wetland is the largest and most favoured wintering habitat of the Black-necked Cranes that migrate from Tibetan plateaus to escape harsh winters. With glimpse of these cranes, we begin our birding journey to central Bhutan and then to the east – the birding hot-spot of Bhutan. In our 500km stretch we see many bird species – some rare, critically threatened and some common flocks. Besides we also see some animals and amazing sights of Bhutan. Don’t miss out this extraordinary experience!
WEST - SOUTH CENTRAL - EAST BHUTAN
The Great Hornbill Tour
5 - 20 May
16D / 15N
Embark on an incredible 16-day bird-watching tour to Bhutan. Traverse nine districts and explore the most diverse, rich, and least explored forests ranging in elevation from 150m up to 3890m. Starting off from west, to the sub-tropical and tropical forests of south we come across two species of hornbills – the great and rufous-necked hornbill along with many other species. We then scour to eastern Bhutan where each day will be filled with exciting discoveries, from spectacular views of vegetation, to encountering rare and many sough-after species.