Nepal: Birding on the flanks of the Himalayas February-March 2022

Flanked by the tallest mountains on Earth, the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal might be synonymous with pagodas, Buddhist stupas and snow-capped peaks, but no other countries can boast such an incredible altitudinal range and the result is a bird list of well over 800 species. Almost 10% of the world’s total in a country the size of England and Wales!

 

Focusing on three of the finest wildlife areas, our holiday begins in the hill forests of the beautiful Kathmandu Valley. We then descend to the lowland jungles of Chitwan National Park, with its fantastic diversity of colourful tropical birds and a fine array of mammals before concluding with a four-night stay beside the splendid Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal’s richest wetland. This adds a wealth of new birds to complete a wonderful tour – one on which we should see around 300 species.

 

We begin by exploring the slopes of Phulchowki Mountain which at 2,782m is a mere ‘hill’ by Nepalese standards and if we have a clear day, we should have our first views of the mighty Himalaya. Red-billed Blue Magpie, Black-faced Warbler, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Himalayan Bluetail, Black-throated Bushtit and Fire-tailed Sunbird are among many delights that await, and we might also come across specialities such as Kalij Pheasant and the enigmatic Himalayan Cutia.

 

Next, we descend to the lowlands to explore the jungles of Chitwan which is undoubtedly one of the world’s great national parks. With a mix of lowland grassland and forest, the birds we hope to find include Great Hornbill, Collared Falconet, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Red-headed Trogon and Blue-bearded Bee-eater. We also look for Gharial, the peculiar fish-eating crocodile, along with a fine array of mammals, including the rare Indian One-horned Rhinoceros.

 

A four-night stay at a comfortable and permanent tent facility beside the splendid Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve completes our tour. The thatched tents are walk-in safari-style, each with their own ensuite facilities and the grounds are a haven for wildlife: Black Bittern, Bronze-winged Jacana, Scaly Thrush and Siberian Rubythroat being just four on the long list of outstanding ‘garden birds’.

 

We will explore the local area from a convenient raised bank beside the Koshi River and take a look at the nearby grasslands. Swamp Francolin, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Courser, Small Pratincole, Brown Fish Owl, Streak-throated Woodpecker and Smoky Warbler are among many target species, with chances for the endangered Ganges River Dolphin in the river and Asian Elephant and Bengal Fox nearby.

 

If you haven’t visited Asia before, our tour offers a very special wildlife experience to start you off and for those who have already travelled to this bird-rich continent, Nepal is sure to reward you with a wide range of new species and wonderful memories.

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