The Western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand or Uttaranchal has one of richest and diverse bird habitats in Asia. Of the 1,248 species of birds reported from India, over 621 have been reported from Uttarakhand largely due to the altitude varying from 400 feet to over 22000 feet leading to very different forest type in a relatively small region.
Speaking of the extreme diversity high altitude meadows and the temperate forest of the higher Himalayas harbour Lammergeyer, Himalayan Monal and Cheer Pheasants, lower down in the broad-leafed forested valleys hold Great Hornbills, Pallas’s Fish Eagles and Forktails. Numerous streams and rivers flowing out of the Himalayas drain into the swamps of the vast Gangetic plains protecting some of the most endangered avifauna like Hodgson’s Bushchat, Swamp francolin & Sarus Crane.
The avifauna of Corbett area is best showcased in Kumeria, Dhikala region, Bajun in Mangoli Valley. Of the total 69 species of diurnal raptors reported from the Indian subcontinent, 51 are found in Corbett and of the 26 species of woodpeckers 15 are reported from Corbett. Among the interesting species is Ibisbill a bird of cold streams and shingle beds of the Himalayas. Brown dippers and Wallcreeper are frequently seen in winter. Thirteen Near Threatened species are also found in this IBA.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary situated about 30 km from Almora, White-throated Tit, Koklass Pheasant, Scaly Thrush and Cheer Pheasant are home in this moist temperate forest.
While trekking in the floral heaven of Valley of Flowers and the recently opened tourism zone of Nandadevi National Park birders will be pleasantly surprised to find Black-throated Tit, Grey-hooded Warbler, Black- faced Flycatcher-warbler. Koklass Pheasant, Snowcock are often sighted and it’s a bonus to find the globally threatened Cheer Pheasant.
A species that needs special attention is the Hodgson’s Bushchat found in Corbett. Also known as the White-throated Bushchat or Hodgson’s Stonechat. It has a much localized breeding range in the mountains of Mongolia where it is difficult to study. Its winter range is the northern Gangetic plains and the duars of northern Indian and the Terai of Nepal. From the comparatively little information available it is probably the scarcest species in its genus. It is found in heavy grassland, reeds and tamarisks along river beds and cane fields.
The Western Himalayan Region plays host to all 8 Species of Vultures recorded in India. In the past 15 years India has lost nearly 95% of its Vultures, a truly catastrophic event. This decline is considered the fastest decline that any animal has witnessed in Mankind’s history. This region however seems to be stabilising with higher reporting of sightings each year.
In the present conservation scenario that is essentially "large mammal" centric, little information is available on the actual conservation status of this rich bird area. You may choose to be based at any of our bases and will find numerous specialities.
Following is what you can do
A tailor-made bird holiday. Approximately INR 1500 to 3000 per person per day for two to four guests. Give us your wish list and days you have and we’ll design a holiday of a lifetime.
For Palaearctic and altitudinal migrants December to February. Summer visitors are here in the warmer months of April to July. Resident species mostly breed in monsoons.